USA raises the question about artistic freedom of expression in UN

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“The United States would like to discuss the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, ‎particularly focusing on artistic expression and creativity,” said the American Ambassador Keith Harper in a statement at the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. He continued:

“Artistic expression and creativity as a form of freedom of expression is fundamental to the development of vibrant cultures and the functioning of democratic societies. Artistic expression has given us some of the great social commentary on humanity and the human condition.”

We are a richer human race for having the genius of Shakespeare, Shostakovich, Rumi, Octavio Paz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Frida Kahlo, Chinua Achebe, and Nadine Gordimer – just to name a few. Today, contemporary artists like Ai Weiwei and Salif Keita are inspiring and challenging us.

The right to freedom of expression, including artistic and creative expression, is enshrined under article 19 of the ICCPR. States Parties to the ICESCR recognize the right, under Article 15, to benefit from the protection of interests resulting from one’s artistic production. Artistic expression is critical to the human spirit.

At HRC-23, we welcomed the report by the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, which addressed the right to freedom of expression and creativity.

Artistic expressions and creations have come under particular attack because they convey specific messages and articulate symbolic values in a powerful way. A satirist provoking laughter and derision is as powerful as a writer urging change.

It is little wonder that dictators seek to silence art.

Freedom of opinion and expression is enshrined in the UDHR and the ICCPR, and the United States defends this right vigorously wherever it is threatened. Likewise, the United States takes seriously any threats to the right to freedom of expression, including artistic and creative expression, and we look forward to engaging on this issue further.”

The statement of American ambassador Keith Harper about artistic expression and creativity as a form of freedom of expression, seems to be directed to the nation his country considers an “enemy”: Russia, as well as all the promotion to bring a punk duo  of anti-Putin lousy performers to the spotlight.

Pussy Rioters would be arrested in any civilized place if they do what they habitually do in Putin’s face.

Wikipedia entry for Pussy Riot reads:
“They stage unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet. Their lyrical themes include feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator, and links between Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Unauthorized, provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, huh? That surely is a democratic way to express opposition to “dictator” Putin. I suppose that if Pussy Riot did unauthorized guerrilla performances in unusual public places like an airport, they would meet worse fate States side.

A bunch of mal-eleve’s that managed to get the New YorkTimes to give them a forum for venting their angst for President Vladimir Putin.

The Pussy Riot may be a legitimate protest. Still the amount of publicity it receives in the press is exaggerated [now we understand why]. Is it just gloating about Russia’s and Putin’s problems? One wonders….

Now it is Putin’s fault that the games are safe from the terrorists who made it known to everyone that it is their plan to disrupt the Olympic games by killing the athletes and visitors? Initially there were multiple complains that the games are not secured enough. Now, they are too secured??? I guess for some people who only want to see Russia in the negative light, there is no way to please them. Also, remember what the president of the IOC said during the opening ceremony. Don’t play politics on the backs of the athletes who came here to compete. It is their time to be in the spotlight.

A few voices here aired skepticism regarding the authenticity of the violence apparently directed against these women by a video. But the video attributed to the AP and posted on YouTube doesn’t look staged to this skeptic.

Again,  the Times didn’t do some fact-checking on this incident and reported back to us so we can know whether President Putin is indeed sending out thugs to beat up angry women with an attitude?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uEmwtJWldQ

 

If there is a ban, live with it. There are bans on what people can do in and around the White House or the Capitol building. If you want to make a political speech about LGBT issues, do it where such expressions are welcome and tolerated.

If you need to protest, if your argument is valid and strong, you would not need to piggy back on the Olympics or any other venue. And please, if you want to be taken seriously, do not produce an obvious video lie. Horsewhips? Really? How gullible does the media think we are?

It is amusing that Pussy Riot received so much attention in the past. At present time who remembers them?  Their magazine is totally ignored.

Every society has its malcontents. But they can’t be allowed to disrupt the rights of millions to enjoy the games. Olympics are all about sports. It is fair to athletes who prepare hard to perform their best and enjoy a moment of glory and satisfaction that hard work has paid off. Pussy Riot has no right to disturb the games, nullify all the hard work and rob them of chance to show their skills and athleticism.

The games are for two weeks in 4 years. There will be 206 weeks for politics.

If you have only singled out Sochi, then you protest in vain. Did you watch the Beijing Olympics? The government cleared the city of homeless migrant workers, who worked for their daily rice bowl slaving 24/7. Did you watch the Salt Lake City Games? The local chairman at the time primed his pockets to lead a future presidential campaign, with “binders full of women.”

No Olympics in the last decades, given the cost to bid and then build the arenas, is a fair business deal. Much of it is based on baksheesh and creates graft, like in most nations of the world. And yet, I can’t help but support the athletes. So I watch.

You have a right to an opinion, to criticized and explain your agenda. But you  staged the Cossack Whipping Scene as part of the music video you were making, which came out immediately with whip-clips intercut. It was very, very unconvincing, and all you really demonstrated was the enormous gullibility of the Western media.

Interesting. I just watched it, and the Cossacks paid no attention to the cameras, which seems odd.

Enough with the rambling rants of wannabe revolutionaries and Baby Boomers hungry to show their counterculture credentials, lousy performers who can’t sing  disrespecting an Orthodox Church, and others intent on despoiling the games with in your face servings of their political views on an unwilling Russian public. The Olympic Games are the opportunity for the world’s athletes to strut their stuff in an atmosphere of sportsmanship; it should not be used as a political platform. So you don’t like President Vladimir Putin but he is trying to showcase Russia like any head of state hosting the games. Not many people outside of Germany liked Hitler but athletes showed up at Munich in 1936 and debunked the myth of Teutonic racial superiority by successfully competing at the games. This is how you bring foster pride for your country.

The pair flew into Berlin Monday after visiting New York to promote their “new prison rights foundation”, where they played a gig with Madonna(!). Appearing at a short press conference in Berlin, they said they have received “several offers” for “film projects” that were never confirmed.  The duo couldn’t contain their happiness for the supposedly offers of a Hollywood movie that never materialized.  Tolonnikova  stated that the movie would be something like “Star Wars.”  Brainy huh?

They also announced they had no plans to run for president themselves(!), but said they might seek elected office in Moscow, where they live. The two said they would consider working with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s wealthiest man, released a few days before they were after serving most of his 10-year sentence for theft and fraud. From lousy performers with Hollywood dreams to politicians…

The duo said their collective Pussy Riot is not a band, that they don’t know how to sing, but they can scream which is what is needed to deliver their message to Putin and his supporters. In a red carpet?

These bogus activists need to be taken to the Guantanamo prison and introduced to the many prisoners who are kept in solitude, without a trial date, and forced to wear masks so they can’t see what’s around them.

These pseudo intellectuals took part in an event to read a list of academic quotes to make believe they can save the world from President Putin. They have deceived many people into thinking Pussy Riot is “changing the people,” and want to run for office in Moscow.

Any person, who, at being 8 months pregnant, performs a multiple partner full intercourse orgy in public needs to see a psychiatrist immediately before she rejoins society. Needless to say your “artistic expression”, the Vaginal Liberation of Food.  The only thing Pussy Riot is exposing is themselves advertising a delusional agenda that “sideshow” Western musicians and actors to glom onto the spotlight

Prof Mark Levine at UC Irvine, hit the nail on the head in his essay about Pussy Riot.  “There are hundreds of artists who perform under threat to their freedom and lives, who also deserve our solidarity.” Levine correctly points out “Western artists can and should support their Russian comrades. But the support received by Pussy Riot is sadly an aberration.”


 

» Mission of the United States in Geneva, Switzerland – 13 March 2015:
Freedom of Expression, Including Artistic Expression, is a Right Enshrined in ICCPR
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America at the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council as delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper.

 

Violations on artistic freedom of expression in 2013 – By Arts Freedom

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Freemuse monitored and documented violations on artistic freedom of expression on artsfreedom.org in 2013. The compilation presents a glimpse of repression of artistic freedom worldwide in 2013 and includes cases from 48 countries across the fields of dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts and literature (journalists not included) as they were documented on artsfreedom.org

The statistics present an overview of the situation for artists worldwide who were:

– Killed
– Imprisoned
– Detained
– Prosecuted
– Abducted
– Attacked
– Threatened/persecuted
– Censored

A total number of 199 cases of attacks on artists and violations of their rights have been registered. The cases include 19 artists being killed, 27 newly imprisoned, 9 imprisoned in previous years but still serving time, 8 abducted, 3 attacked, 13 threatened or persecuted, 28 prosecuted, 19 detained, as well as 73 cases of censorship.

» Artsfreedom Newsletter no. 2: Reflections over the statistics
http://www.artsfreedom.org/?p=6992

The statistics are based on reports published on artsfreedom.org in 2013 and include incidents taking place during 2013. They are not a complete survey and do not give full picture of the situation globally; they only represent the tip of the iceberg. Many artistic freedom violations are never made publicly known – whether they include the thousands of artists – not least musicians – who experience daily threats from fundamentalists in Northern Mali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan or are victimised by the internal conflicts of Syria or Sudan.

Neither does the statistics necessarily include all cases presented by PEN international Writers in Prison committee which has produced an extensive case list and statistics concerning violations committed against writers as well as journalists.

arts-stats2013-alph_spreadsheet_500-242x300

The following principles of statistical registration have been used:

If an artist is threatened and attacked while abducted the case is only listed as “abducted” in the statistics. If an artist is detained, prosecuted and then consequently imprisoned for the same incident the violation is only listed as “imprisoned”. E.g. when the Danish poet Yahya Hassan received death threats for his poems collection and later was physically attacked the series of events is only listed as one incident under the “attacked” category.

“Attacked” refers to an artist being physically attacked.

Imprisoned artists are divided in two categories. Artists who were sent to prison in 2013 are listed in the category “newly imprisoned”. Artists who were imprisoned before 2013, but who remained in prison during 2013 are registered in the statistic category “still imprisoned“.

The “censored” category contains various kinds of incidents such as concerts being stopped and fans arrested, films, books and music being censored and banned and works of arts being removed from exhibitions.

Free Muse Global List of Artists Censored, Prosecuted, Jailed, Kidnapped, Tortured, Killed…

“The world’s leading organization advocating freedom of expression for musicians”

2012 FREE MUSE LATEST NEWS

Turkey: Grup Yorum members allegedly tortured in custody
A singer and a violinist with the band Grup Yorum claim they were tortured in police custody after they were detained during an unauthorized demonstration in İstanbul
27 September 2012

Cameroon: Singer Lapiro de Mbanga gets asylum in the US
Lapiro de Mbanga, who was imprisoned in Cameroon for three years for a song criticizing President Biya, has been granted asylum in the USA. 13 September 2012

Music & Islam – what’s the big fuss?
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to attack musicians and music shops, but what is the position oF music in Islam? 04 September 2012

The case of Pussy Riot – behind the scenes
Summing up: A talk with Freemuse’s Campaign Officer about how Freemuse has worked on the case of Pussy Riot since three members of the band were detained in March 2012. 30 August 2012

Russia: Pussy Riot on everyone’s lips
Pussy Riot’s court case in Moscow placed musical freedom of expression high on the agenda of the Western media during July and August 2012. 23 August 2012

Afghanistan: Religious leaders stopped ‘immoral’ eid celebration concert An eid celebration concert by Shafiq Mureed was cancelled after local mullahs had labelled his music ‘immoral’
22 August 2012

Cuba: Banned exiled singers allegedly stricken from censorship list
The BBC reported on 8 August 2012 that several Cuban radio stations confirm they no longer face restrictions on playing music by exiles
22 August 2012

Iran: Banned Israeli Persian-language album gains popularity
The music of Rita Jahan-Foruz – an Iranian-born, Israel-based singer – is becoming increasingly popular in both Iran and Israel, as tensions grow between the two countries 21 August 2012

Mali: Rose Skelton reports from Bamako: Can musical Mali play on?
Islamism is on the march and threatening to wipe out the country’s cultural heritage, wrote freelance journalist Rose Skelton in British newspaper The Independent. 21 August 2012

After Pussy Riot, artists must stand for each other, everywhere
Commentary by Mark LeVine inspired by the high profile court case of Pussy Riot: The music industry professionals together need to adopt a universal code of conduct. 17 August 2012

Russia: Pussy Riot found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison
On 17 August a judge announced that the members of Pussy Riot are guilty, and that they “deeply insulted the faith of believers with their disrespectful criminal act” 17 August 2012

Iraq: Black Metal’s anti-religious message meets Islam
28-year-old Anahita is the voice behind the black metal solo project Janaza. She is probably Iraq’s first female black metal singer – and possibly the only one. 13 August 2012

Morocco: Popular musicians silent about imprisoned rapper
In Morocco the rapper El Haked is in prison since May 2012 for his highly political lyrics – but so far very few popular musicians are speaking out about this. 08 August 2012

Russia: Prosecutor seeks three years sentence for members of Pussy Riot. On the seventh day of the legal proceedings, the prosecutor called for a three year prison sentence for the three members of the Pussy Riot punk collective. 07 August 2012

China: Danish singer banned by censorship authorities
The Danish singer and rapper Linkoban performed twice in Beijing in July 2012, despite the fact that she had been banned by the Chinese censorship authorities. 02 August 2012

Morocco: Rapper El Haked’s sentence upheld in Casablanca’s court of appeal. On 27 July 2012, the Casablanca court of appeal upheld the one year prison sentence given to the rapper El Haked in May for a song which is ‘detrimental to public servants’. 01 August 2012

Freemuse: Grounds pass to the United Nations The United Nations has granted a ‘Special consultative status’ to Freemuse. 30 July 2012

Russia: Freemuse calls for free and fair trial for Pussy Riot
Freemuse sends appeals to President Vladimir Putin calling for a fair and free trial for the three band members of Pussy Riot who are to remain in detention until January 2013. 30 July 2012

Kyrgyzstan: Court bans rap song for ‘hate speech’. A court in the city of Osh, where violent ethnic clashes claimed hundreds of lives in 2010, has banned an Uzbek-language rap song for inciting hatred
27 July 2012

Angola: Rapper arrested for drug smuggling: ‘I was framed’
On 11 June 2012, Luaty Beirão, a popular Angolan rapper known by the artist name Ikonoklasta, was alledgedly framed by authorites for drug smuggling. 16 July 2012

China: Increased control on music publishing in Tibet. New measures by Chinese authorities involve significantly increased controls in the Tibetan music publishing, reported Human Rights Watch on 13 July 2012. 14 July 2012

Turkey: Dancing to Kurdish music labelled as propaganda for terrorism
Bedrettin Akyüz, 20, is claimed to have spread propaganda for PKK by dancing the halay [a traditional dance] accompanied by Kurdish songs
13 July 2012.

Iran: Cancellation of several pop concerts. A new wave of concert cancellations started from Tehran and has spread throughout the country, reported Small Media from London. 05 July 2012

Lavon Volski. Video interview with Lavon Volski, blacklisted guitarist and vocalist of the band Krambambula from Belarus. 04 July 2012

Afghanistan: Music is making a comeback. Central Asia Online reports: After decades of civil war and the Taliban’s ban on music, Afghanistan is trying to resuscitate music. 04 July 2012

Kenya: Three musicians accused of propagating hate speech
Three popular musicians in Kenya have been accused of propagating hate speech against the prime minister. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission is investigating. 02 July 2012

Turkey: Ferhat Tunç sentenced to two years in prison. A court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced the Kurdish singer on terrorism related charges due to his invocation during a speech he held in 2011. 27 June 2012

Russia: Detention of Pussy Riot members extended again
On 20 June 2012, a court ruled to keep three detained band members of Pussy Riot in prison until 24 July while the police probe continues. 25 June 2012

Pakistan: Popular singer gunned down in music market. A young popular singer, Ghazala Javed, was shot dead on 18 June 2012 along with her father by two unknown armed men. The motive is still unknown. 19 June 2012

Press release: World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression in Oslo. Artists who have been censored because of their artistic work will enter the stage when the first ever World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression is held in Norway. 18 June 2012

Turkey: Acclaimed pianist charged for blasphemy. Composer and pianist Fazil Say faces trial on 18 October 2012 on charges of insulting religious values, with a possible 18-month prison sentence
13 June 2012

Morocco: Call for solidarity with Mouad Belghouat, known as El Haked
This letter was sent by Freemuse as a call for solidarity from artists performing at the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2012 in Morocco. 09 June 2012

Mali: Music banned from the radio in Timbuktu. Rebels in northern Mali are now aggressively promoting their hard-edged brand of Islamic law, Shariah, which means music has been banned from the radio. 06 June 2012

Pakistan: Death sentences for dancing at a wedding party. Pakistani media is bringing confusing reports from northern Pakistan about a tribal court which allegedly handed down death penalties for dancing at a wedding party. 04 June 2012

Denmark: Support from Roskilde Festival Charity Society for artists at risk. Freemuse received a grant of 66,000 euro from Roskilde Festival Charity Society to sustain and develop networks in West Africa, MENA, Pakistan and Afghanistan. 01 June 2012

Freemuse: The invisible work behind the scenes. It started as another day in the Freemuse office. Then, within hours, we received terrifying pictures of rappers in Angola and Sierra Leone, who had been seriously beaten. 01 June 2012

Press release: Eurovision: A pretty face cannot hide the ugly reality. As Europe is celebrating the annual Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan, several musicians from the country have gone into exile. 24 May 2012

Angola: Rap artists attacked again by Angolan pro-government militias
On 22 May 2012, 15 men armed with pistols, machetes and iron rods attacked a group of 10 young people, among them the two rap artists Casimiro Carbono and Explosivo Mental. 24 May 2012

Turkey: 17-year-old charged for exchanging Kurdish songs on Facebook
Turkish prosecution wanted to imprison 17-year-old Kurdish boy for 40 years after he was accused of eight charges, including the exchange of Kurdish songs on Facebook. 23 May 2012

Algeria: Call for the respect of freedom of artistic expression
“Algerian intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists, artists and writers ring the alarm and request from the Ministry of Culture in Algeria to lift its control over the cultural sector…”
21 May 2012

Azerbaijan: Rock musician flees to Germany over concerns for his safety. Rapper and guitarist Jamal Ali fled his home country on 16 May 2012, he told the British newspaper The Guardian via Skype from Berlin. 21 May 2012

Malaysia / Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer Christian and Muslim groups attempt to ban American superstar Lady Gaga’s shows during her Asia tour, calling her music the ‘work of Satan’. 21 May 2012

Turkey: Students charged for singing Grup Yorum song. Three students are accused of singing an old song and chanting slogans which allegedly are “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”
18 May 2012

Belarus: Longing for change. Due to blacklisting in their homeland, the Belarusian folk-rock band Krambambulya held three exile concerts in Lithuania to celebrate the release of their new album
16 May 2012

Turkey: Another legal action against singer Pınar Aydınlar
A lawsuit was filed against folk singer Pınar Aydınlar (Sağ) and the Group Munzur members Özlem Gerçek and Erkan Duman demanding up to five years imprisonment. 16 May 2012

China: Tibetan singer arrested and taken to unknown location
Fear for the safety of Tibetan singer Lo Lo who was arrested on 19 April 2012 and whose whereabouts and fate since then are unclear
14 May 2012

Morocco: One year prison sentence for rapper who criticized police
The sentencing of rapper El Haked on 11 May 2012 to one year in prison for “insulting the police” shows continuing intolerance for those who criticize state institutions. 12 May 2012

Iran: Death sentence against Iranian rapper in Germany. A cleric issued a death sentence against Iranian rapper and rock guitarist Shahin Najafi for having produced a song which is believed to be offensive to Imam Naqi. 10 May 2012

Belarus: Trial of pro-opposition singer-songwriter. Pro-opposition singers Ihar Simbirow and Dzmitryy Bartosik were arrested during an open-air performance near Minsk on 6 May 2012. 08 May 2012

Call for establishing Scandinavian safe havens for persecuted musicians SKAP, Freemuse and the Swedish Arts Council urges the Swedish government to allow the Swedish cities to receive threatened composers and musicians. 23 April 2012

Iran: Singer Arya Aramnejad prosecuted for his songs 28-year-old Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad, who was recently released after his second term in prison, has been informed he has been given a one-year prison sentence. 23 April 2012

Russia: Detention of Pussy Riot members extended to three months
The detention of members of Pussy Riot has been extended until 24 June. The three women have been in custody for over a month
20 April 2012

Morocco: Drop charges against detained rapper. Repressive speech laws enforced despite rights-friendly constitution. Statement and report by Human Rights Watch concerning the imprisoned rapper El Haked. 18 April 2012

Morocco: Rapper El Haked arrested again 24-year-old rapper Mouad Belghouat, the Moroccan rapper known as Lhaked or El Haked, was arrested again because of one of his songs. 13 April 2012

Myanmar/Burma: ‘Will censorship of music end?’ asks BBC reporter in Rangoon BBC News’ Jonah Fisher has interviewed Ye Ngwe Soe, lead-singer of the punk band No U Turn, one of the best-known acts on the Rangoon punk scene. 13 April 2012

Sweden: Concerts with Jamaican reggae singer Sizzla cancelled
In March 2012, Jamaican reggae singer Sizzla was stopped from performing in Sweden, second time around in the same month, because of his infamous homophobic lyrics. 12 April 2012

India: Petitioner seeks ban on song that allegedly incites to violence. A South Indian super-hit song should be banned for its violent lyrics that “incite aggression”, stated a public interest litigation petition filed before Kerala High Court. 11 April 2012

Mali: Islamists have banned music in northern region. In Kidal, heartland of the Islamist Ansar Dine group, music has been replaced by prayer readings on the local radio. The group wants to impose strict sharia law across Mali. 11 April 2012

Belarus: Blacklisted band holds three ‘exile concerts’ in Lithuania
A blacklisted rock band from Belarus was refused permission to perform in Minsk and decided instead to move their concert location to neighbouring Lithuania. 10 April 2012

Mexico: Musician kidnapped and tortured. Julio Cesar Leyva Beltran, a singer with the Mexican band Los Ciclones del Arroyo, was kidnapped and tortured after refusing to perform a song requested by a group of people. 10 April 2012

Turkey: Grup Yorum member still in detention. Musician Seçkin Aydoğan, member of Group Yorum, was not discharged at the first hearing of the lawsuit against him and four others in İstanbul 15th High Criminal Court. 10 April 2012

Somalia: Bomb blast at concert in newly opened national theatre
“The blast happened as musicians were singing and spectators were clapping for them,” told Salah Jimale to The Guardian. Ten people are reported to have been killed. 04 April 2012

Brazil: Ban on songs that encourage violence against women and gays
The Brazilian state Bahia has approved a law banning the use of public funds to pay for events where songs that offend women and gays are played. 02 April 2012

Malaysia: Committee to evaluate whether song should be banned
The song ‘Bawaku Pergi’ is suggested to be banned because it contains lyrics which could encourage young people to run away from home. 02 April 2012

South Korea: Teenagers prohibited from attending American pop concert
American pop singer Lady Gaga’s upcoming Seoul concert has been restricted to over-18s because one of her songs is condidered “inappropriate” for minors. 02 April 2012

Turkey: Attack on Grup Yorum member in prison. Grup Yorum made a written statement announcing that a member of their band, Seçkin Aydoğan, was attacked in the prison where he is being detained
02 April 2012

Indonesia: Dangdut songs banned for ‘corrupting society’. 10 popular Dangdut songs were banned in a province of Indonesia for being ‘pornographic’. 29 March 2012

Kuwait: BBC reports how musicians in Kuwait struggle with censorship
BBC News reports in a three-minutes video from Kuwait how government censors are proving a big barrier to commercial success for some artists. 29 March 2012

Pakistan: Artists camp reflect on aspects of intolerance and terrorism. In Peshawar, Pakistan, on 7-27 May 2012, a two week camp for international artists aims to discuss and understand the phenomenon of terror. 28 March 2012

Angola: Rappers beaten up before manifestation. Six musicians and activists who were in a meeting to prepare for a public protest demonstration were violently attacked by unidentified aggressors on 9 March 2012. 26 March 2012

Lebanon: Protest against increased censorship. In light of a notable increase in censorship in Lebanon, a number of musicians and other artists decided to put on a show in Beirut entitled ‘I am Free’.
26 March 2012

Azerbaijan: Three young musicians and activists detained. A rapper, a guitarist and a blogger were detained after protests in Baku on 17 March 2012 and are held in Sabael District Police Office, allegedly after having been tortured. 22 March 2012

Tunisia: Culture minister defends artistic freedom. “There will be no restrictions on creative freedom,” said Tunisia’s culture minister after he had been under fire for saying he would exclude sexy pop stars from a festival. 22 March 2012

Iraq: Operations targeting ‘Emo’ teenagers hit heavy metal fans
Brutal persecution and killing of ‘Emo’ teenagers has put musicians and fans of heavy metal music under critical danger in Iraq
20 March 2012

Somalia: New stage for music and threatre in Mogadishu
On 19 March 2012, live music sounded in Mogashu, Somalia’s capital, when the country’s national theatre was reopened
20 March 2012

Pakistan: We want to defeat terrorism through music, says culture minister. Interview with Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s culture minister, who wants to reverse the policies of the former MMA government which banned musical concerts. 19 March 2012

Mexico: Popular music group banned in Chihuahua. Authorities in Chihuahua has banned the popular group Los Tigres del Norte from performing in the state capital after the band sang ballads glorifying drug traffickers. 15 March 2012

Zimbabwe: Platform for free artistic expression awarded
When the Book Café in Harare reopened on 8 March 2012, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gave an insightful speech centering on censorship of music and arts. 14 March 2012

Senegal: Musicians at the forefront of protests. In Senegal’s controversial presidential elections, musicians have suffered threats, attacks and arrests, while an increasing number of songs are being shared. 13 March 2012

Turkey: Prisoners punished again for singing Kurdish songs
17 inmates of Kocaeli T Type Prison have received disciplinary charge by the warden of three more months in prison for having been “singing and dancing illegally”. 13 March 2012

Pakistan: Four CD shops destroyed in explosion. Four music CD shops were completely destroyed after an explosion in a market in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province. 12 March 2012

Russia: Punk band arrested after protesting against Putin
Shortly before the presidential elections in Russia, authorities put an end to punk band Pussy Riot’s anti-Putin protest concerts by arresting six members of the band. 07 March 2012

Somalia – Music Freedom Report: Music too powerful to ban
Video from Somalia – part of the series of Music Freedom Reports which was published in March 2012 on the occassion of Music Freedom Day 2012. 07 March 2012

The Liberty For Arts Award 2012 goes to Freemuse Director Marie Korpe
“With this price we express our deepest gratefulness to Mrs Marie Korpe for her philanthropic dedication to the threatened musicians,” wrote Fairplay Foundation. 07 March 2012

Music Freedom Day 2012 marked in 22 countries world-wide. Reports and documentation of Music Freedom Day 2012 which was marked on 3 March 2012 with events, concerts and radio programmes in 22 countries around the world. 06 March 2012

Turkey: Şanar Yurdatapan: ‘There is a lot of work to do for all of us’. In 2012, there were no acticities marking Music Freedom Day in Turkey. “This means the work is not over yet,” wrote Sanar Yurdatapan in his chronicle on the day. 03 March 2012

West Papua: Violence and oppression against musicians in forgotten conflict. Video from West Papua – a supplement to Clara Moksha’s Music Freedom Report which was published on 3 March 2012.
02 March 2012

Mexico: Conductor kidnapped by drug cartel. In July 2011, a successful Mexican musician residing in Germany was abducted by gunmen while on holiday in northern Mexico. 01 March 2012

Venezulea: Reggae singer Onechot shot in the head. On 27 February 2012 the reggae singer Onechot (real name: Juan David Chacón) was attacked by a group of criminals who shot him, wounding him in the head. 01 March 2012

Azer Cirttan. Video interview with exiled singer and composer Azer Cirttan from Azerbaijan. 29 February 2012

Iraq: Documentary film about a musician’s struggle to keep music alive. Produced in Iraq in 2011, the 15-minutes documentary ‘Sing your song’ details the obstacles a musician and his band face because of pressure from extremist Islamist groups. 29 February 2012

Jason Carter: Music censorship in North Korea – a personal video reflection. British guitarist Jason Carter has produced a personal video documentary about a trip he made in North Korea in 2007, which reflects on music censorship. 28 February 2012

South Africa in 1989: CD album banned for offending Christians
Because of its title, the album ‘Bigger than Jesus’ by Kalahari Surfers was banned in 1989 for blasphemy and for the offending of Christians. The music was later re-released. 27 February 2012

Freemuse campaign: Release the Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad
Freemuse calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Arya Aramnejad, a famous singer who has been imprisoned since 8 November 2011. 25 February 2012

Kuwait: Music distributor pulls out of Kuwait because of censorship
Music Master, a leading Dubai-based music distributor, has stopped its Kuwait operations because state censorship of albums and artwork makes it impossible to operate. 20 February 2012

Press release: UN expert group: “Cameroon should compensate Lapiro”
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued a legal opinion declaring that the detention of Lapiro de Mbanga was a violation of international law. 16 February 2012

Turkey: Musician of Grup Yorum detained. Seckin Aydogan, a member of the band Grup Yorum, has been in detention for six weeks. Band members pledge to hold solidarity concerts. 14 February 2012

Bahrain: Campaign for woman convicted for listening to ‘revolutionary’ music. Fadhila Mubarak’s 18-month prison sentence for protesting and listening to ‘revolutionary’ music was upheld by the Court of Cassation in Bahrain’s capital Manama. 03 February 2012

Tunisia: The rapper Volcanis arrested on drug charges. On 25 January 2012, security agents handcuffed and arrested the young rapper Volcanis in his home, allegedly “in a matter of law” and not for the content of his rap songs. 30 January 2012

Egypt: Stopped performing “in a kind of limbo”. The Egyptian band Sandouk Eldonia stopped playing their political songs after the revolution broke out. “Mubarak is now gone, but the same is our vision,” they say. 25 January 2012

Pakistan: Punjab Assembly bans concerts in educational institutions
On 24 January 2012 Punjab Assembly passed a resolution that bans holding of ‘objectionable’ musical concerts in educational institutions. 25 January 2012

Somalia: Religious extremists storm music radio station
The militant extremist group Al-Shabaab carried out an illegal takeover of Radio Afgoye, the only radio station in the lower Shabelle region, because it broadcasted music. 21 January 2012

Pakistan: Music returns to some of Pakistan’s tribal areas
In parts of Pakistan’s tribal areas, music is starting to return, reported Free Speech Radio News in a well-produced radio report on 16 January 2012. 18 January 2012

Related post: “Globally, there are hundreds of artists under far greater threat to their freedom and lives who deserve the same attention.”

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