Apparently, setting a new record as the most streamed song of all time does not prevent a song from censorship as Malaysia just showed. The predominantly Islamic country announced Thursday that it has has pulled the Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber track, ‘Despacito‘ off state-run television and radio stations. It claims that it was being inundated with complaints that the song’s lyrics were too sexually suggestive, in contravention of the modest teachings of Islam, News Week reported.
“Despacito,” which translates “Slowly,” contains lyrics alluding to two lovers getting intimate. “Let me surpass your danger zones / Until I provoke your screams,” sings Fonsi.
“‘Despacito’ will not be aired by the government-owned broadcast stations because we received public complaints. The lyrics are not suitable to be heard, said the Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister, Salleh Said Keruak on Thursday. However, the song, which has reached No.1 in more than 30 countries around the world can still be played on privately-owned stations in Malaysia, but Salleh said that they hope that these stations will also ban the song.
The opposition political party Parti Amanah Negara, which promotes Islamic politics in Malaysia, has previously called on the government to ban “Despacito” from the airwaves. Atriza Umar, the chairperson of the party’s women’s wing, described the song as “p--n” and worried it could have a negative influence on Malaysian youth.
“I regret that these problematic songs are not censored by the ministries,” she said, according to AFP. “I urge the authorities to ban this song and other songs that contain sexy and violent lyrics which are not suitable in accordance with Islam and our eastern culture.”
The news of Malaysia boycotting “Despacito” comes just one day after record label Universal Music announced it has become the most-streamed song of all time. (It is still available to download or stream in Malaysia.) The Spanish pop song has been streamed 4.6 billion times across all platforms, Universal announced Wednesday. It overtakes Bieber’s 2015 hit “Sorry,” which was played 4.38 billion times, and Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” streamed 4.07 billion times since its release earlier in 2017.
This article first appeared in News Week.