NSW Police attempt to remove OneFour music from steaming

19 July 2022

In 1988 California based hip hop act NWA released a protest song called Fuck the Police. Written as a reaction to police brutality and racial profiling, the song raised the hackles of the FBI, who believed the single incited violence against law enforcement agencies. Although the Bureau made life difficult for the group, they ultimately failed to stymie NWA’s music, partly because the first amendment to the constitution of the United States protects freedom of speech.

Today in Australia, Sydney based hip hop group OneFour, are facing similar pressure from the NSW Police Force. Police claim the group have links to banned bikie gangs, and that some of their lyrics incite violence. Unlike the United States though, freedom of speech here is not explicitly protected by the Australian constitution. Meanwhile, in an unusual step, police are trying to remove certain OneFour songs from streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube.

This week the NSW Police Force confirmed it would attempt to remove certain songs from streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube if they believed the lyrics incited violence. Police don’t actually have the power to force those companies to remove songs, but the fact they believe it’s within their remit to deplatform music they believe poses a danger to the community is quite extraordinary.