Prisoners complain songs are being ‘ruined’ by DJs at a national jail radio station who edit out swear words


Inmates are complaining about a prison radio station which censors ‘violent’ song lyrics, including hits like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

National Prison Radio (NPR) calls itself the world’s first national radio station for prisoners and broadcasts tunes, poetry readings and talk shows to the UK’s 85,000 prisoners 24-hours a day.

Shows inmates can listen to include a Breakfast slot called Porridge, which plays pop tunes and features a quiz. There is also The Rock Show, in which prisoners can request their favourite songs to be aired.

But now inmates are accusing the prison system of treating them like children after songs like Bohemian Rhapsody were censored for containing the lines: Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead.

One inmate at HMP Chelmsford, in Essex, wrote to prisoners’ magazine Inside Time and said: National Prison Radio chop out swear words and violent lyrics from the songs we hear – what is the point of that?

“We are grown adults, not fluffy little munchkins that have to be protected by the prison nanny,” said Craig Bird.

“For God’s sake, National Prison Radio even cut a line from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody ‘Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he’s dead’.

“Why? We all know the lyrics anyway – it had been played millions of times by the BBC.

“It is time the prison system stopped this mollycoddling and treated us like adults.”

Last year, the radio station received 10,000 requests from prisoners and their loved ones.

And in a recent poll of their favourite artists, rapper Tupac Shakur was the most popular and his songs were the most requested.

The star, who was gunned down in 1996, beat other artists such as Metallica, Slipknot, Rihanna, Eminem and Bob Marley, who all appeared in the top 10.

Tupac’s songs include ones titled I Don’t Give a F**k, Never Call U B***h Again and Out on Bail.

If the rapper’s song Thug 4 Life was played in prison, it would have 35 words edited out.

Bosses at National Prison Radio said its audience was unique as it included many people who had committed very serious crimes.

Andrew Wilkie, the director of radio and operations, said music was great at keeping morale high in prison, but added: “Music is a difficult area for broadcasters.

“All broadcasters will routinely play ‘radio edits’ of tracks which are suitable for their particular audience.

“When selecting and producing content, members of the NPR team ask themselves ‘what would a victim of crime feel if they heard that particular piece of content was played on NPR?’.

“In this context, the reason for editing that particular song (Bohemian Rhapsody) should be very clear.”

News Source TelegraphNews

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