Authorities Claim Songs Glorify Drug Culture, Incite Violence
Lawmakers in Mexico are contemplating the enactment of laws which would make writing or performing songs or films that glorify criminals or criminal activity illegal. Along with the continued nationwide crackdown on the drug cartels initiated by Mexican President Felipe Calderon which mobilized thousands of soldiers and federal police, legislators in the Mexican Congress have now concluded that the culture of the drug world must also be curtailed, if not eradicated. A negative cultural expression, the narcocorridos – as the drug ballads are called – present a graphic depiction in words, of drug trafficking and its use, gang violence and related criminal scenarios. The songs glorify the “drug life,” and portray the often illicitly wealthy drug lords as heroes. The drug-related criminal culture has been entrenched in the daily lives of the people, for more than 30 years; “Society sees drug ballads as nice, pleasant, inconsequential and harmless, but they’re not,” explained Mexican National Action Party legislator Oscar Martin Arce, to the Associated Press.
“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,” Mr Martin continued. His party is aiming to halt the spread of the negative media which reinforces aspects of society that are contributing to its own decay and harm, intending not to infringe on free expression, but to stop exposure that incites others to commit crimes. Author Elijah Wald wrote a book about the cultural phenomenon, Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas, and also has a website dedicated to the same topic. He contends that law enforcement’s best efforts will not suppress the drug music or its culture. He also alluded to the fact that politics is often an element in the situation. Numerous studies in the U.S. confirm the fact that exposure to violent media of all types creates a tendency in those exposed, to react to stressful situations in a violent manner, and also effect relationships.
The anti-drug ballad legislation is before the Mexican lawmakers who will put the proposal to a vote soon. Infractions of the law could mean a prison sentence of up to three years.