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Jail the messenger?

22 January 2010


A new proposal by Mexico’s ruling party could result in musicians being sent to prison for performing songs that glorify drug trafficking.

The proposed legislation would mean sentences of up to three years for people performing or producing songs or films that glamorise criminals.

“Society sees drug ballads as nice, pleasant, inconsequential and harmless – but they are the opposite,” Oscar Martin Arce, a National Action party MP, told the Associated Press.

The ballads – known as narcocorridos – often describe drug trafficking and violence and are popular among some norteño bands.

After some killings, gangs pipe narcocorridos and threatening messages into police radio scanners.

Martin said his party’s proposal, presented to congress on Wednesday, was also intended to combat low-budget films praising druglords. It remained unclear when it would be voted on.

“We cannot accept it as normal. We cannot exalt these people because they themselves are distributing these materials among youths to lead them into a lifestyle where the bad guy wins,” Martin said.

He added that the proposal’s intention was not to limit free expression but to stop such performances from inciting crimes, claiming one alleged murderer had told police he became involved in crime because he liked narcocorridos

And playing Country-Western backwards makes your wife faithful and your dog come home.

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