Authorities in the Mexican city of Chihuahua have moved to ban performances of songs that “promote violence against women,” citing high levels of domestic violence.
The city council unanimously approved the measure on July 26, according to Mayor Marco Bonilla, who said fines for non-compliance would range from 674,000 pesos to 1.244 million pesos (around $40,000-$74,000).
“Violence against women has reached levels that we could consider a pandemic,” Bonilla said in a video message posted on Facebook, adding that almost 70% of emergency calls in the city related to domestic violence, in particular against women.
“We can’t allow this, and we also can’t allow this to be normalized,” he said.
The law bans the performance of songs that promote violence against women, as well as their discrimination, marginalization or exclusion, said Bonilla.
It will be enforced at events that require a permit from the council, councilwoman Paty Ulate said in a Facebook post.
Funds collected will be paid to the Instituto Municipal de Mujeres, a local government organization that works for gender equality, as well as a local women’s refuge, she added.
In a separate Facebook post, Ulate said the city’s citizens “have a right to enjoy a life free from violence.” In Chihuahua state there have been 24 femicides, or gender-based killings, from January-June this year, according to statistics from Mexico’s ministry of public security.
It is not clear how the new law will be enforced, and officials did not name any artists in particular that it would target.
However, musical genres such as reggaeton, popularized by artists such as Bad Bunny, could fall foul, after drawing criticism in some quarters for explicit and sexist lyrics.
Narcocorridos and corridos tumbados, types of homegrown Mexican music linked to violence and the drug trade, could also be affected. Popular artists include Peso Pluma and Natanael Cano.
The ban in Chihuahua comes around a month after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized corridos tumbados for promoting violence and drug use during a press conference. However, the president also said he wouldn’t ban the genre.
On the other hand, local authorities in Chihuahua have previously moved to restrict musical performances.
In 2012, the city banned popular Mexican group Los Tigres del Norte after the band played three songs categorized as narcocorridos. The organizers of the event were also fined 20,000 pesos.
Chihuahua city is the capital of Chihuahua state in northern Mexico. The state’s largest city, Ciudad Juárez, sits on the US border and has become synonymous with human trafficking and drug smuggling.