DBS chairman defends station’s stance on calypso

Yakima (left) and Prosper (right)

Local radio station DBS has decided to air two calypsos which were previously not given any airtime.

While  Sye’s calypso ‘Dr. Finger’ is still not being played, Yakima’s ‘Lookin for their Pocket’, and Peter Prosper’s ‘Ma Domnique Garbage Bin’ has been receiving airplay from Thursday.

These calypsos were banned after a decision by the board of directors to do so.

In fact, Chairman of the Board of Directors Aurelius Jolly said in an interview Thursday that the decision was taken to protect the station from legal action.

“Broadcasting stations have to be responsible for what goes out on them. Disclaimer notices don’t stand out in court and the public need to know that,” he explained.

“What holds is that the radio station is responsible for what goes out. There are some songs that are defamatory and we have to be very careful with those traps that are set for us by calypsonians and politicians alike,” he said.

Jolly said he has spoken to the Dominica Calypso Association and asked them to come clean with their songs and to cease from chastising people.’

“The DCA should clean up the calypsos. There are cases where people are called thieves in public and there is no proof of that,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, there is too much going on in the calypsos. Many of them tried to put traps for DBS and they will continue and that is what we are trying to protect the station against,” he asserted.

Jolly further disclosed that in 2005 a politician made a statement concerning another on DBS and the matter is currently in court.

“$12,000 has already been spent on that case. That means we have to be working to pay for the mistake of others,” he said.

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  1. DA
    January 23, 2010

    Ask DBS who is Dr Finger

  2. Concerned
    January 23, 2010

    I was just wondering whether Dr. Finger will wait after carnival to sue Q95.

  3. January 22, 2010

    @ SASSy: Two thumbs up. Was waiting for somebody to make that very same point.

  4. sassy
    January 22, 2010

    but why is daddy chest song still being played on DBS?????? the one about LIAT…Ummm!

  5. sassy
    January 22, 2010

    Nice one Geoffrey Lafond…..LMAO!

  6. Carnival Lover
    January 22, 2010

    I totally agree with DBS for making sure what they release does not put them in legal troubles. Howevr, similar decisions must be made with announcers while they carry live shows. Too many announcers use the platform to criticize especially at the queen show rather than describe what is going on. Terms like “a wow but not a big wow” at a contestant is disrespectiful.

    All in all, the station needs to clean up its act across the board.

  7. poonkey
    January 22, 2010

    DBS do right, dont play those songs.

    January 22, 2010

    You should publish Sye’s lyrics on website.
    Come on, used to be that the threat of a calypso would keep people in line.

  9. Vybez
    January 22, 2010

    @ Mr. Letang,

    A lawyer did scrutinize the lyrics hence the reason why Dr. Finger has been banned. I am not sure whether you heard Prosper on Q95fm on Wednesday morning explaining that he was contacted by the station for his lyrics. Then he was again contacted and informed that a line or two in the song would have to be editing in order for the song to play -which he agreed to and his song is being aired on DBS since, as well as Yakima’s “Looking for thier Pocket.”

    While I am in support of Sye’s Dr. FInger as a person with legal training I am aware that one can be sued based on innuendo’s and caricatures. This song Dr. Finger while it addresses a very pertinent issue in our society today it can lead to a serious case of defamtory and that DBS CANNOT afford.
    They are already involved in a similiar suit where an individaul called another an unpleasant name during a live broadcast at a political rally.

    I really do not think that the Chairman of the board just want to ban the song for no reason, he also has to think of the legal implications for the station. I also agree with the editing point you made, some of the announcers and news reporters need serious broadcasting training…the host of traffic report needs serious help!

  10. tm
    January 22, 2010

    As far as I’m concerned there seems to be no real reason to ban these calypsos from being aired. No individual in particular has been named publicly in these songs. Hence, there should be no fear of any lawsuit.

    Reality check! Has anyone filed any lawsuit against QFM or Kairi concerning this issue? DBS, the station which ought to be neutral is using this situation as pretext to harbour their political interests. You and I damn well know it!

    You know what? I dare someone to make a calpyso about a specific radio station and its biases in terms of airing calypsos. Let’s see if DBS will take the matter personally and file action against that individual in court so they can pay off their legal fees resulting from projected lawsuits. I guess they really need the money, right? LOL.

  11. cello
    January 22, 2010

    First of all Mr Jolly you are being a hypocrite with your comments.

    According to the oxford dictionary the meaning of *calypso is : Indian song with improvised usually topical words, and a syncopated ryhthm* Therefore banning a calpyo because it has a double menaing is nonsense as this is what it is meant to be.

    Mighty DBS for eg. is a seasoned calpysonian of many songs which sometimes is hart to interpret and put any meaning to,, in my opionono yet swiging stars give the words a brilliant beat and the radio station air it anyway even if i cant make out the sense. does that make the workers of DBS idiots to paly a sily song? no. (no song is sily)

    Might sparrow the double minder sings songs of very dishounarable nature ( dina & dina, Melda wOH YOU MAKING WEDDING PLANS; ) (mother in law) sexy vanessa) etc etc yet still DBS plays thses songs) there are many dina’s and dina’s, and Melda’s in Da YET STILL THEY never sue the radio station. come on now mr jolly its the carnival season time to be jolly and let democracy rule dont play the boss and do what you want remember there is a boss above you. air the bloody calypsoes. i love a good calpyso.

  12. d/can in j/a
    January 22, 2010

    @ Seriously, i support playing the calypsos in general but u’re wrong about not being able to sue for defamation unless the person is named.

    According to the law, once a right-thinking citizen is able to identify who is being addressed based on the content of the song, that person can sue. In such a case, all the persons who publish the song become liable which includes of course the radio station.

    What the complainant has to do in court is prove that an ordinary person can listen to the song and identify them. This is because the person already has grounds for a defamation suit because one of the main grounds for defamation is imputation of impropriety in your profession or career.

    A song like ‘Fingers’ is basically a textbook case of defamation right there. Ever heard of innuendo?

    I think u need to brush up on ur C/bean Law.

  13. FSGE
    January 22, 2010

    what is wrong with DBS? its only a calypso… its part of our culture since the years of slavery and people have to make what ever song they like.
    If DBS is being sued why didn’t he say who was the guy suing? it is our right to know this cause its our tax dollars thats paying the $12000 not Mr. Jolly. This is wrong and its time people raise up against this BS. so the next time there’s a good calypso against the gov’t like ‘Puppet Master’ it wont get air time? this has nothing to do with fear of gettin sued- its all politics.

  14. en ba la
    January 21, 2010

    Ok nice one – I grew up knowing calypso being social commentary. What have we come to. Now the only thing left in Dominica that everyone seems to enjoy no matter who you are, is under attack. Put a disclaimer before and after and play the people music. If the people are swearing this is different but come let the people mentioned in the song harsh it out with calypsonian not the radio station. stuppesss!!!

    January 21, 2010

    Mr. Jolly, while I respect your opinion as chairman of the board of directors of DBS radio, I respectfully disagree with parts of your statements. Your effort to insinuate that calypsonians are trying to set traps for DBS is ridiculous, childish and plain nonsense. For years calypso is all about social commentary and events of the day. Suddenly, you became chairman and calypso must change. Do you know a gentleman by the name of Slinger Francisco? Perhaps if I say the mighty Sparrow, it may trigger your memory. Every song he writes has a double meaning and when there is an issue, he will write about it. I have heard the song about Vanessa WIlliams played on DBS. Aren’t you afraid she brings a lawsuit against DBS?

    Dominica needs to move away from this petty things which plague our art forms. Do you know anyone by the legal name Doctor Fingers? I don’t. Who is Doctor Fingers? Can Doctor Fingers sue DBS or anyone? NO!!!! Unless Sye mentions a person by their full legal name, there can be no repercussions. If DBS has paid $12,000 in fines for a calypso, they need to fire the lawyer. You cannot be sued for defamation if your name was not mentioned. Find out the facts first before you humiliate yourself with these nonsensical statements.

  16. Democracy Watching
    January 21, 2010

    I agree with Geoffery Lafond, DBS should employ competent lawyers to scrutinize the lyrics before they are aired. The quality of news on DBS leavesmuch to be desired , in short sadly lacking, no wonder why students don’t listen to the news- does not help in improving the level of English language and experssion in Dominica. DBS needs to take a deep look from within and tell us honestly whether or not they are doing justice to the Dominica public. Can DBS compete regionally?

    Additionally, I would like to know how much does the chairman and members of the board know about current Media Policy?
    I would like to end by asking that if the shoe were on the other foot, and their daughter were the victimof this medical doctor’s actions, wouldn’t they have wanted it exposed?

    While I don’t support tarnishing a persons good name and broadcasting smut, I will not be a hypocrite.
    DBS needs to get its act together begining with the Chairman of the Board os Directors!

  17. January 21, 2010

    Well; this is just the beginning of things to come and the Government would never pass legislation to protect Calypso or any other matter that are not acceptable to them, this haven got anything to do with the board decision or any case that is thru the court .The Dominica Calypso Association and the DOMINICAN people should take a stand … DBS is the people’s station …

  18. Dominican to de bone
    January 21, 2010

    DBS name on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is the real reason why the song was banned. Be real we are used to haveing freedom of speech in our calypso. Workerssssssssssssssssssssssss

  19. Geoffrey Lafond
    January 21, 2010

    I would like to tell the chairman of DBS board that I hold a totally different view to him. His arguments are churlish and somewhat childish. Calypsoes will always be social commentary on aspects of life in Dominica. If chastising results so be it.
    The onus is on DBS to attain the services of a competent lawyer who will study the lyrics of all songs be it calypso before they can be played on air. If the legal expertise deem any song libellous or defamatory then DBS has the right to tell the songwriter or singer what the offending lyrics are.
    The same happens in Trinidad and Barbados.
    The Dominica Festival Commission and Carnival Committee should do the same before any defamatory music or song is played at any of their shows under their auspices.
    By the way , Mr Chairman , please get news editors before news is relayed to the public. In that way you may reduce the chances of law suits.

  20. January 21, 2010

    DBS you do rite ban those songs.You already have to pay for other people sins.Some people think because u have freedom of speech we can jus say wat we want and how we want.Let q95 play them.peace out!

  21. Dominican in support of DBS
    January 21, 2010

    I think the Gentleman gave and honest account of the DBS board decision. He explained down to the wire so pple like A voice shud understand what stations like DBS has to deal with

  22. A Voice
    January 21, 2010

    Who are these guys to come out all of a sudden after so many years and interfere in the country’s culture?

    Man, calypso have always been used to express opinions that people wouldn’t normally do on the streets. All of a sudden these guys sprout up and talking about protection from law suit. Pure rubbish that man.

    Some of these guys go to foreign university and want to return and impose their own mentality on Dominica.

    I think that Parliament should enact legislation to protect the integrity of calypso. Or else, there goes our culture.

  23. all-in-1
    January 21, 2010

    it is one thing to say that we do not see anything wrong or defamatory in a song’s lyrics, however, it is another thing when you are facing litigation at the court. freedom of speech does not mean freedom to make statements without a shred of proof.

  24. B.S
    January 21, 2010

    That good for all u…………. Ron Green held many demonstrations about what was happening at DBS but u all never paid him no mind….. This is just the beginning ………. Take what all u get………… That is the same thing ROn was talking about

  25. January 21, 2010

    …this thing with acess to the media needs to stop. what is the purpose of d.b.s if dominicans can’t use their freedom of speech to speak their minds.stuppes man.

  26. January 21, 2010

    I heard the song and i haven’t seen any thing wrong with it.This is a sad situation in dominica. Slavely will still be there know matter what. If i have the money and means, then i can stop u any way, especially mentally

  27. Da
    January 21, 2010

    What is this man saying, What is calypso, isn’t it current events you whnt to get out in song? I’m confused.

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