Thursday, 26 May 2011

BBC censors 'Palestine' & 'Gaza Strip' from rappers lyrics

A few months ago, the Guardian brought our attention to the censorship of the word 'Palestine' from Mic Righteous' freestyle on Radio 1Xtra. See for yourself, at 2:57 what he actually said was
"I can still scream Free Palestine for my pride, still pray for peace..."
Instead, the BBC masked 'Free Palestine' with a sound effect of broken glass:

The BBC claimed 'impartiality' as the reason for their censorship. Well we all know where the BBC stands given its refusal to air a humanitarian appeal for Gaza at the height of the massacre in 2009 but the BBC are at it again - this time with another rapper on the same show! The UK rapper Bigz use of the offensive words 'Gaza Strip' was again censored. At 2:10, what Bigz actually said was:
"Who you know who's as hard as this?
Arsonist, bringing more fire than the Gaza Strip
I'm lightning, like Tyson..."
The video: (has been taken down)

Throughout these two tracks, you hear a lot of expletives being censored (fuck, nigger etc.) but to place 'Palestine' and 'Gaza Strip' in the same category truly beggars belief. Now, Mic Righteous and Lowkey have urged people not to target Charlie Sloth (it was on his show that this censorship occurred). From Mic Righteous:
"Understand it’s a sensitive issue but I beg certain people stop targeting my brudda Charlie Sloth about this fire in the booth censorship incident. Charlie gave me a chance before any other radio DJ. Because he believed in my music and the censorship wasn’t his doing..."
This marks a new low for the UK broadcaster. For years now, journalists and producers working for the BBC have practiced self-censorship fearing the 'phone call from the Israeli embassy', treating the word Palestine as if it was a dirty word. Who knew, this would literally be the case.

UPDATE 1: Jody McIntyre from the Independent writes that the BBC aired the words 'Tel Aviv' as part of the lyrics to another Bigz track on the Charlie Sloth Show:
DJ Charlie Sloth played a Bigz track entitled ‘I Just Want The Paper’. In the song he raps: “Chilling on a beach… Tel Aviv”
You can hear the track for yourself here at 0:51, this just completely puts the BBC's claims of impartiality on the ropes, if censoring Gaza Strip was done in order to maintain impartiality, why was Tel Aviv also not censored? The answer - the BBC is biased towards Israel. Simple.

UPDATE 2: The BBC have taken the video of the Bigz freestyle down and now put on a version with 'Gaza Strip' uncensored. The Mic Righteous censored freestyle is still up though. Although the BBC deserve some credit for retracting their censorship in this case.


Ali Abdul said...

What are their aims for the censorship of the use of the word Palestine? Are they hoping out of sight out of mind? This is ludicrous I didn't know whether to be angry or laugh. The 'beeb' otherwise affectionately known as israel's spokesperson and puppets.

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