PNG’s censorship office bans Jayrex songs over partner abuse allegations

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Pacific reggae singer Jayrex from PNG
Pacific reggae singer Jayrex from PNG . . . songs temporarily banned while an investigation is under way. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Phoebe Gwangilo in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s National Censorship Office has cracked down on gender-based violence by temporarily banning all songs by popular New Ireland artist Jason Suisui — popularly known as Jayrex — following complaints of assault and ongoing emotional abuse by his partner of four years and her family.

The Pacific reggae singer was earlier charged with causing grievous bodily harm, emotional distress and mental abuse through numerous phone calls, text messages and in the lyrics of his songs.

Relatives close to the woman told the Post-Courier newspaper that she was in a fragile state and was often suicidal.

A representative who works in the family sexual violence space described the musician’s actions as bullying, intimidation and “gaslighting”.

The representative commended the National Censorship Office for this “bold move”, saying it was hoped the office would start to curb and hold artists, musicians and content creators accountable and responsible for material, songs, videos they produced for the public.

Gaslighting is a type of emotional manipulation that results in the recipient often doubting their perception of reality and sanity — the family members complain that this is what Suisui’s songs have been doing to the woman.

Chief Censor Jim Abani said: “We have taken measures to place a temporary ban on Jason’s songs following complaints we have received from his wife, or partner.”

No immediate response
Questions sent to the country’s radio stations did not get an immediate response.

Calls made to the Kavieng police were not answered.

Censor Abani said that the complainant claimed she had been through a “lot of abuse” with Jason, with some of his song lyrics dedicated to her not helping her heal from depression.

He said as such the “publication” — of songs — produced by Jason had been found to be objectionable publications under Section 2 (1) of the Classifi­cation of Publication Act 1989.

Abani said the Censorship Office did not tolerate gender-based violence in any form, including emotional abuse as was the case with the complainant.

He added that the complainant claimed in her report to the Censorship Office that some of the songs were dedicated and she asked for Jayrex’s songs to be banned to allow her to deal with her trauma and depression.

Part of Vision 2050
“Regulation and protection of gender-discriminatory songs was part of vision 2050 that we are implementing. Putting a temporary ban on Jason’s songs is in line with the implementation of Vision 2050.”

Abani had issued directives to all radio stations and television to cease broadcasting and displaying Jayrex’s songs.

According to the statement from the Censorship Office, enforcement and compliance officers would be conducting inspections to ensure the Chief Censor’s directives were followed.

He said the ban was temporary while an investigation was underway.

A permanent decision would be made once the investigation was completed.

Phoebe Gwangilo is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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