Tunisia and Egypt: Music censorship after the Spring

‘The Cultural Spring’ in Tunisia and Egypt: Musicians are pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. By Victor Salama   While some Arab countries saw political changes in 2011 – president Ben Ali was ousted from power after ruling Tunisia for 24 years, Hosni Mubarak was deposed after ruling Egypt for 30 years – many cultural […]

Pakistan: Ban of social media has great impact on musicians

As Pakistan continues to restrict access to social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, activist band Laal discusses the silencing effect that these bans have on artists, and speaks to the future of free expression. By Anushe Noor Faheem, with additional reporting by Annie Zaman Laal, Pakistan’s most vocal social-justice oriented band, has built […]

Morocco: Imprisoned rapper El Haqed on two-day hunger strike

On 13-15 August 2014, the Moroccan rapper and member of the 20 February protest movement did a 48-hour hunger protest against “humiliating treatment” in prison, reported Huffington Post. Relatives said that El Haqed (also spelled: Lhaqed. Real name: Mouad Belghouat) undergoes considerable psychological pressure from the staff of the prison. On 1 July 2014, El […]

Iraq: Kurdish singer receives death threats over music video

Kurdish singer Helly Luv, 25, allegedly received death threats from ISIS Islamist militants since release of her first music video in February 2014. Helly Luv’s music video combines traditional Middle Eastern pop imagery with materials of the Kurdish nationalist and revolutionary movement. The music video was viewed over three million times in its first five months. […]

USA: High school marching band’s playlist censored

A high school marching band in central Pennsylvania, USA, can’t perform hit songs by Bruno Mars and Fall Out Boy because of their suggestive lyrics. A Lancaster County school board this week stood behind an administrative decision to remove two Top 40 hits from its high school marching band’s upcoming repertoire because of suggestive lyrics. […]

Tibet/China: Artists have to tread an incredibly fine line

Braving high risks and heavy censorship in China, Tibetan musicians sing their love for Tibet. by Dechen Pemba   Gebey, a Tibetan singer who had been detained at the end of May 2014 following a live performance in Ngaba Prefecture, eastern Tibet, has been released from detention. Gebey (sometimes spelled Gaybay or Gepey) has chosen […]

Morocco: Open letter to Moroccan minister about El Haqed

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’ – was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because of his popularity and lyrics that condemn corruption and police brutality. Arrested on […]

Czech Republic: Exhibition highlights music censorship

Music and politics are in the focus of a new exhibition produced by the National Museum in Praha. A large part of the exhibition deals with repression against music and use of music for policial ends in the socialist Czech Republic before the democratic elections, but the exhibition is even going back to the revolutions […]

Brazil: The music Brazil doesn’t want you to be listening to

Leading up to the World Cup in Brazil, with sounds of gunfire in the background, forbidden funk rappers continued to talk about what the government wants to hide: extreme violence, social segregation and racism in the favelas. By Debora Baldelli Girls dance at a baile funk party in the Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de […]

Morocco: Take action against El Haqed’s unfair prison sentence

Take action to help create public pressure for the immidiate release of the Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’: El Haqed was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because […]

Morocco: Rapper sentenced to four months in prison

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed – has been sentenced to four months in prison. He is furthermore to pay a fine of 1,350 euros to the two police officers he was accused of attacking. An accusation of selling tickets in the black market was removed. The verdict […]

Senegal: Rapper Fou Malade acquitted in court

The procecutor had asked for six months imprisonment to the rapper Fou Malade but eventually, the judge didn’t listed to him and gave him his freedom. Fou Malade – whose real name is Almamy Malal Talla – was detained after having delivered a speech where he said some controversial remarks about the Senegalese Minister of Interior […]

South Korea: TV network bans pop song for using Japanese

Crayon Pop, the popular South Korean idol group, was banned from broadcasting its latest track on one of South Korea’s biggest networks. The reason? It contains the Japanese word ‘pika’. Source:  www.kotaku.com

YouTube: Threats to block indie labels who don’t sign up to new music service

Independent artists could disappear from YouTube “in a matter of days” after the Google video service confirmed it was dropping content from independent labels that have not signed up for its upcoming subscription music service.  The company’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, confirmed that YouTube will block videos from labels that do not […]

Saudi Arabia: Edicts on music wade into controversy

A fatwa by a Saudi scholar banning participation in prayers led by an imam who held the view that music was not forbidden in Islam has waded into controversy. Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani last week said that music was tolerated in Islam and that people could listen to songs. However, his view was promptly resisted […]

Singapore: Censorship of pop star A-mei condemned by fans

The Singaporean government’s censorship last week of a song by Taiwanese pop diva A-mei (阿妹) at a music festival has sparked heated condemnation from Taiwanese internet-users.  The government reportedly said that lyrics addressing same-sex relationships were unsuitable for the event’s audience. Source: www.taipeitimes.com

Senegal: Rapper faces six months in prison for criticising authorities

On 19 June 2014, at a ceremony in the suburbs of Dakar on the mobilisation against drugs, Fou Malade, one of the rappers from the Y’en a marre movement (‘Enough’s enough’), said aloud to the Senegalese Minister of Interior and to the Director General of Police what everyone thinks quietly. His remarks led him straight […]

Iran: Three arrested for music video of men and women singing and dancing

Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country’s World Cup football team, the official IRNA news agency reported on 23 June 2014. The music video was produced by the London-based Ajam Band and features scenes from outside and […]

Turkey abuse laws to punish artists challenging authorities

Law suits, arrests, threats and banning orders, these are all dangers that artists in Turkey who touch on sensitive issues face today. This is pointed out by the UPR submission that Freemuse, Siyah Bant and the Initiative for Freedom of Expression has forwarded to the UN. The Turkish Anti Terror Law (TMK) continues to be […]

USA: Opera transmission cancelled over antisemitism concerns

A live transmission of ENO and the Metropolitan Opera’s production of the opera ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ has been cancelled over concerns about its ‘appropriateness at this time of rising antisemitism’. Freemuse joins the international joint statement: Nat’l and International Organizations Warn That Cancelling ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Screenings Endangers Creative Freedom, Undermines Institution’s Credibility NEW […]

Pakistan: Singer killed by four gunmen

» Dawn / AFP – 19 June 2014: Pashto singer Gulnaz shot dead in Peshawar Pashto singer Gulnaz alias Muskan was killed in the Gulburg area of Peshawar Cantt. Police said unidentified gunmen entered the house of Gulnaz also known as Muskan and shot her dead. » Samaa – 19 June 2014: Pashto singer Gulnaz […]

Morocco: Rapper in trial that seems to never end

Within just one week, the Moroccan rapper El Haqed has appeared twice at the trial court of Ain Sebaa, Casablanca. After which the trial was postpone once again, this time until Tuesday 17 June 2014. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca Accused of illegal ticket sales, of being influenced by alcohol in public and of […]

Iran: Female musicians banned from stage in Isfahan

Female musicians are not allowed to go onstage and give live performances in Isfahan. Mohammad Qotbi, the head of the Isfahan Culture and Guidance administration and also a member of the clergy, compared music bands to the national football team, saying that just as there are substitutes for players on the football team, music groups […]

Turkey: Imam given go ahead to make rock‘n’roll

A Turkish imam, Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, has been allowed to rock on after the country’s powerful religious authorities gave him the green light to continue playing in his band after a nine-month investigation. Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, a Muslim religious leader from a tiny hamlet on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, was investigated by the Diyanet, the state […]

Azerbaijan: Music by Armenian composer banned in Baku

Organisers of the forthcoming European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, which is held in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, have asked the Belarusian team to refrain from playing music by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, head coach of the Belarusian team Irina Laperskaya told a press conference in Minsk. The Azerbaijani authorities have long banned Armenian nationals and ethnic Armenian […]

Morocco: El Haqed’s hearing postponed

On 5 June 2014, Mouad Belghouate, the Moroccan rapper known as El Haqed or Lhaqed, passed by the trial court of Ain Sebaa in Casablanca, Morocco, for the third time since his arrest on 18 May 2014. Freemuse attended the hearing. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca At the entrance of the building, plain clothes […]

China/Tibet: Popular Tibetan singer arrested after packed concert

Chinese authorities in Khyungchu County have arrested the popular Tibetan singer Gepey following a packed concert participated by several other singers from various parts of Tibet on May 24, reported Phayul.com. Gepey was arrested by Barkham County Public Security Bureau after a concert that was attended by thousands of fans and music enthusiasts. A group […]

Russia: Law bans swearing in arts

Russia’s predident Vladimir Putin has signed a new censorship bill into law, which means that artists and filmmakers in the country soon may find themselves in trouble for using profanity in “literature and arts, mass media products, at concerts, theatrical performances, entertaining events, as well as in films.” The law is expected to take effect […]

Tanzania: Censorship of music and films underway

The Tanzania Film Censorship Board of the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports has said it will start censoring music and film works before they are released to the public. » See on  allafrica.com

Morocco: Interview with attorney of arrested rapper El Haqed

The detained Moroccan rapper El Haqed will stand trial again on 29 May 2014. Freemuse talked with El Haqed’s attorney, Mohemed Messoudi, who provides new information about the case.  By Daniel Brown   Could you describe the circumstances of El Haqed’s arrest? “Haqed was arrested on Sunday 18 May at around 2pm along with his […]

Freemuse condemns arrest of Morocco’s ‘musical reporter’

Freemuse condemns the arbitrary arrest of artist and human rights activist Mouad Belghouat, alias El Haqed (The Indignant) also known as L7a9ed on Sunday 18 May 2014 – for the third time in three years. “Morocco should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” says Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. El Haqed has earlier been […]

Iran: An indie rock band can play once but not twice

In-depth article by Sune Engel Rasmussen, a journalist based in Tehran, about censorship and the arts in Iran. Excerpts: “For Iranians, negotiating the barriers of censorship is in itself an art form. Film directors, in particular, have long been masters of bending the rules, using metaphors and symbolism to subtly inject criticisms against the system […]

United Arab Emirates: Lady Gaga concert censored to respect culture

A planned Lady Gaga concert in Dubai in September will be censored to respect cultural traditions, Reuters reported. The article was published in Ahram in Egypt, United Arab Emirates Daily Gulf News, and more. » See on  english.ahram.org.eg

Nigeria: Arrested anti-president singer freed, says ‘No regret’

Popular Kano political musician, Dauda Kahutu Rarara who was arrested over a song he composed on the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Kano State has been released from detention. Dauda Kahutu Rarara had allegedly been arrested and interviewed by the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) in Kano for his music labelled ‘Mai […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed arrested again

The Moroccan rapper El Haqed – also known as ‘L7a9ed’ – has been arrested again by Moroccan authorities, reported BelmKaddem. Belmkaddem – 19 May 2014: Moroccan Rapper El Haqed – L7a9ed – Arrested again by Moroccan Authorities By repetitively arresting and beating an artist who doesn’t sugar-coat Morocco’s dark side, and uses rap as a […]

North Korea: Singer who was claimed executed is apparently alive

In August 2013, the North Korean singer Hyon Song-Wol was reported by South Korea’s largest daily newspaper The Chosun Ilbo to have been executed by firing squad. On 16 May 2014, she appeared on North Korean state television, apparently alive and well, as she delivered a speech at a national art workers rally in Pyongyang. […]

Azerbaijan: Foreign music banned in Nakhijevan

The Nakhijevan TV and Radio Broadcasting Committee has banned broadcasting of all foreign music on Nakhijevan radio channels, the Azerbaijani news portal Haqqin.az reported. “The ban includes genres such as rock and rap, regardless if they have been produced within Azerbaijan and are sung in the Azerbaijani language. It includes Turkish songs as well,” writes […]

Turkey: Protests against proposed arts council

Turkish artists and arts organisations fear that a new draft bill prepared by the Erdoğan government will serve as a tool for the government to crack down on free expression of artistic work, creativity and cultural themes The bill is seen as a tool to give the government the absolute power to shape the arts […]

Russia: Film festival shut down

A human rights documentary film festival was shut down by government authorities in Russia on 5 May 2014 over what organizers say is censorship of controversial content. The May 32nd Film Festival had to cancel its opening event after Saint Petersburg officials claimed unlikely sounding local code violations. Fire inspectors shut down the venue hosting […]

Freemuse meets Pussy Riot: Punk is a great inspiration

There was a good deal of humour and a talk about the meaning of punk culture when original Pussy Riot members Masha and Nadya (Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova) met Freemuse Director Ole Reitov in front of an audience at a jam-packed Kulturhuset in Oslo, Norway, on 13 May 2014. Asked whether music has to […]

Russia: Pussy Riot members appeal sentence in Supreme Court

The sentence of controversial Pussy Riot punk band members has been appealed again. The band member Yekaterina Samutsevich has filed with Russia’s Supreme Court a supervisory appeal against the verdict. In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced Samutsevich and two other Pussy Riot members – Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova – to […]

Egypt should abolish censorship of the arts

AFTE and Freemuse publish an extensive study on censorship of artistic expression in Egypt. The 84-page report ‘Censors of Creativity’ reveals that the Egyptian government needs to reform the current legislative and institutional apparatus of censorship. “Several conservative restrictions imposed on artistic creativity contravene human rights standards and basic liberties,” says Ahmed Ezzat, the Egyptian […]

Uzbekistan: Singer speaks out on oppression in atmosphere of dissent

On 1 May 2014, tweeting in both Uzbek and Russian, singer Ozoda Saidzoda appeared to lay the blame for her career setback squarely at the door of the country’s prime minister, Shavkat Mirziyaev Ozoda later elaborated on her tweets in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, claiming she has been a victim of persecution […]

Belarus: Minsk authorities banned Amaroka band concert

Officials have refused to issue a touring certificate for a concert of Amaroka. The musicians were explained that their art could be treated as war or extremism propaganda and pose a threat to national security. Head of the Department of Culture of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Vitalina Rudzikava, has officially prohibited a concert by […]

Zimbabwe: South African band deported

The South African pop group Freshly Ground was immediately sent packing soon after it touched down at the Harare International Airport on 4 May 2014, but reasons for the deportation remained sketchy with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke saying he was equally puzzled by the development. According to News Day, informed sources […]

Nigeria: Popular musician arrested for song against president

A popular musician in Kano, Ahmed Audi Zarewa, has been reportedly arrested by the State Security Service, SSS, for recording a song to protest against President Goodluck Jonathan. The song was said to have been recorded by Ahmed to protest President Jonathan and his entourage’s singing and dancing rally the very morning that more than […]

Russia: Musicians speak of censorship, persecution and viciousness

Violations of freedom of expression in Russia hit the frontpages of newspapers and websites all over the world in 2013 when two members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot were imprisoned. Many other music groups and artists in Russia face censorship and persecution – but their cases are never heard of outside of Russia. […]

Syria: Surviving civil war with heavy metal

Armed with a cellphone and borrowed camera, the young Syrian Monzer Darwish seeks refuge in producing a ‘rockumentary’ about Heavy Metal music in Syria. His documentary film called ‘Syrian Metal Is War’ is currently being edited in Lebanon. A trailer was published on youtube.com in January 2014: Syrian Metal Is War – Documentary Promo Published […]

Belarus: Outspoken musicians endangered

In May 2014, the Icehockey World Championships will begin in Belarus, and the government of Alyaksandr Lukashenka will do its best to ensure that fans and tourists experience Belarus as a “normal” European country. Lavon Volski is a musicians who wants to “rock” that facade of normality. With his new album he has decided to […]

France: Open letter addresses censorship in the arts sector

An open letter, ‘Against censorship, action!’, signed by 20 organisations and published by the French organisation Observatoire de Liberté de Dréation on 24 March 2014, has focussed attention on the ongoing challenges of censorship in French arts and culture. The letter denounces what it calls a “legal arsenal” used by ultra-conservative groups to prosecute, sanction […]

Iran: Signals of growing musical freedom of expression

With women singing on stage and a playlist of Western pop songs sung in English during performances of ‘The Last Days of March’ in Tehran, Iranian musicians are breaking new ground, reported Scott Peterson for Christian Science Monitor. Musicians and actors say that Iran’s culture space has opened up noticeably under the centrist President Hassan […]

USA: Open letter against censorship of hip-hop artists in Portland

In an open lettert to Portland’s music community, Casey Jarman, managing editor of The Believer, former music editor of Willamette Weeks and co-founder of Party Damage Records, speaks out against what he calls “a systematic attempt to silence local hip-hop artists.” Source:  www.wweek.com » See also: Hip-Hop Stopped The tension between Portland rap artists and police […]

Egypt: Secularists and conservatives battle over music videos

In an in-depth article, Index of Censorship’s Shahira Amin describes the current battle between secularists and conservatives for the soul of the “new Egypt” where “suggestive” and “explicit” music videos are being blamed for causing a surge in incidents of sexual harassment and violence against women in the country and 20 music videos have been […]

Turkey: Report about freedom of expression violations

In the aftermath of a brutal government crackdown on dissent during the Gezi Park protests, PEN has prepared a report highlighting some of the issues raised by the nationwide protest movement ‘The Gezi Park Protests: the impact on freedom of expression in Turkey’ is a joint report published by English PEN and PEN International. In […]

Egypt: Revolutionary singer stopped from performing

The Egyptian singer Mohamed Mohsen known for his anti-government songs said Saturday that authorities stopped him from performing at an arts festival attended by the country’s interim president and military chief for “security concerns”. Mohsen told The Associated Press he thought officials might “specifically targeted” him over his revolutionary songs or because he participated in […]

“Don’t Like It? Destroy It…” Two chronicles on censored art

The magazine The Dangerlands has published two chronicles about “How we’re still going through the Dark Ages when it comes to art”. “Controversy will always be good for art, because art is meant to evoke emotion. As long as there is a debate and a clutch on freedom to deliver images like the two above […]

UK: Four artists shortlisted for Freedom of Expression Awards 2014

British theatre producer David Cecil, Lebanese playwright Lucien Bourjeily, Egyptian rapper Mayam Mahmoud and the Turkish writer Arikan are shortlisted for the Index Awards 2014, which during 14 years have honoured some of the most remarkable fighters for free expression from around the world. The award show takes place in London, United Kingdom, on 20 […]

Artists are truth tellers risking their lives for us

Our consideration of the human rights in any country should include the freedom of artists to express their heart, writes Deeyah Khan – a critically acclaimed music producer, composer and an Emmy award-winning documentary film director – in this statement she submitted to the United Nations in March 2014. Video recording of Deeyah Khan’s speech […]

Lebanon: Inconsistent and bizarre censorship practices

March, a Lebanese NGO, have been documenting the obscure and arbitrary censorship practices in Lebanon via their ‘Virtual Museum of Censorship’ since the group was founded in 2011. In March 2014, Global Post published an in-depth coverage of their work and the current censorship practices in the country. “To describe their findings as bizarre would […]

Pakistan: Voiceless singers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cry for security

Black curtains have fallen on Pashto cinema in KP as militants have speeded up their attacks. Musicians are receiving death threats, being kidnapped and forced to leave their homes. Local government hopes a new cultural policy can change the desperate situation for artists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. By Sher Alam Shinwari, reporting for Freemuse from Peshawar […]

South Korea: K-pop music booms but censors still loom

The South Korean music style K-pop has become a success story of music export and glamour, but a long history of censorship and regulation still affects the music markets in South Korea. By Yoo Eun Lee, Global Voices Korean editor and founder of K-pop Decoder     K-pop has dominated the Asian music market for […]

The soundtrack of Syrian resistance

Music has been at the core of the Syrian uprising since its beginning in 2011, and for the same reason musicians have been killed and are being silenced by force. It is part of an attempt to impose political and religious agendas, reports Spanish-Syrian activist Leila Nachawati, who is a professor of Communications at Carlos […]

United Kingdom: Petition calls for music video ban

Shazad Iqbal from Bradford, England, started a petition calling for YouTube to take a music video by Katy Perry down, alleging it ‘promotes blasphemy’. The video features a man wearing an Allah-inscribed necklace being disintegrated. Shazad Iqbal claims that disintegrating the pendant ‘promotes blasphemy’. The petition collected 40,000 signatures from countries including Australia, India and […]

Music Freedom Day 2014 takes place in 18 countries

During 2013, the human rights organisation Freemuse registered 19 musicians killed, 7 abducted, and 18 music creators imprisoned. There are many reasons for organising the annual ‘Music Freedom Day’ 3rd of March, which puts focus on musicians’ rights to freedom of expression. “These are some of the statistics for 2013, which Freemuse publishes today, but […]

Russia: Pussy Riot members detained three times

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who spent nearly two years in prison for protesting against Putin in a church, said they had been detained three times while trying to film a new music video in Sochi just before the Olympic Games were to begin. This is the first music video to be published by the […]

BBC: An Argentinian playlist of freedom

‘An Argentinian playlist of freedom’ was broadcasted on the BBC World Service on 18 February 2014. The music of a generation – growing up in the shadow of violent military rule in 1970s and 1980s Argentina. The slide show is part of the ‘Freedom 2014’ special series on BBC, ‘Freedom World Service’. “Whether it’s freedom […]

Cuba: Rappers persecuted – beaten, ransacked, arrested

Excerpt of blog-post by John Suarez at cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com: “The importance of generating and maintaining attention is critically important for anyone who dissents from the official government line. Rodolfo Ramirez, known by his rapping name as El Primario, member of the hip-hop duo El Primario y Julito, who appears in the above video was so badly […]

Turkey: Musicians of Grup Yorum plan hunger strike

Members of the popular Turkish band Grup Yorum announced that they are planning to stage a hunger strike to protest a government ‘assault on the arts’, according to a press release issued on 14 February 2014. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) “is targeting all artists that oppose it. They are closing theatres, […]

India: Tamil poets explains how music is permitted in Islam

“Islam is not against music,” said Tamil poet Abdul Rahman on 14 February 2014, and that statement was quickly quoted and republished on dozens of Indian news-sites and blogs. Abdul Rahman is the director of the Islamic Literary Organisation, Islamiya Ilakkiya Kazhagam – a pioneer literary organisation in the Indian state Tamil Nadu. “Islam is not […]

Zambia: Censorship row over song that encourages child sexual abuse

Lyrics of a hit song which border on encouraging sex with an under-age was condemned in a press statement by the Children’s News Agency and as a consequence, the song ‘Kanselele’ was banned on several radio stations. Unrelated to the row over Krummy’s hit song ‘Kanselele’, a few weeks later, the musician Clifford Dimba – also […]

New Zealand: American rappers banned from entering the country

Rappers Odd Future from Los Angeles have been banned from entering New Zealand after officials decided they pose a threat to public order. In an official statement, Immigration New Zealand explained that the rappers had been “deemed to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest for several reasons, including incidents at […]

Ethiopia: Book about censorship of arts in the Ethiopian society

‘Maekeb’, which means ‘Sanction’, is a new book by Endalegeta Kebede. It focuses on the censorship challenges experienced by creative members of Ethiopian society. The Reporter in Addis Abeba and the global website AllAfrica.com published a review of the book, written by Neamin Ashenafi, on 8 February 2014. Excerpts: In countries like Ethiopia, where democracy […]

Cuba: Gorki’s trial suspended

On 10 February 2014 the news arrived, first as a rumour, that Gorki’s trial had been suspended. Then at 3:27pm over Facebook, Gorki Águila gave the following status update: “At 2:00pm, I was informed that the oral presentation of the trial scheduled for Tuesday, February 11 was suspended due to health reasons of my lawyer […]

Cuba: Punk rocker Gorki reportedly again faces years in prison

On 30 September 2013, Cuban punk rocker Gorki Luis Aguila Carrasco, lead singer of the band Porno para Ricardo, was arrested. On a citation for summary judgement dated 27 January 2014, Gorki has now been called to attend a summary trial on 11 February 2014. Exiled Cuban bloggers and reporters are all convinced that the […]

Iran: Unusual sight of musical instruments on state tv

On 1 February 2014, musical instruments were shown on Iranian state tv for the first time in three decades. Tv-viewers in Iran found themselves rubbing their eyes in disbelief when a morning programme on state tv broadcast a group of musicians playing traditional Persian instruments, reported The Guardian. For many it was the first time […]

USA: Freemuse Award winner Pete Seeger dies at 94

A flower has gone “His songs are a catalogue of social activism of the 20th century,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov receiving the news of the death of Pete Seeger, who in 2009 received the Freemuse Award. “Pete Seeger’s voice has been one which has constantly been on the side of the oppressed and which […]

Syria: Music banned as Islamic law takes hold in northern province

In a statement, the organisation The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant “banned music and songs in cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in shop windows,” warning that “whoever violates these rules will subject themselves to the necessary Sharia punishment.” “Songs and music are forbidden in Islam, […]

China: ‘Tiananmen singer’ Cui Jian censored

The Chinese musician Cui Jian whose song became the unofficial anthem for demonstrating students during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests declined a major public appearance over censorship concerns. Cui Jian was due to play at China’s Spring Festival Gala, one of the most watched programmes anywhere on the planet which draws a tv audience of […]

USA: Bun B addresses rap lyrics being admissible in court

Bun B was asked to speak to the American tv-channel MSNBC about rap lyrics, freedom of expression and racial and social profiling. With the New Jersey Supreme Court set to consider whether rap lyrics of a criminal defendant should be admissible in a court of law, Bun B was asked about how this issue is […]

Iran: Freemuse and PEN welcomes release of poets on bail

PEN International and Freemuse welcomes the release on bail on 14 January 2013 of poets and lyricists Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Moosavi. They had been held in Evin Prison since 7 December 2013, apparently for their critical writings, no formal charges against them are known. No further action is required at this stage although PEN International […]

UN Special Rapporteur requested to discuss Tibet with Chinese government

Freemuse has requested the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Ms Farida Shaheed, to discuss the imprisonment of nine Tibetan singers with the Chinese government. The artists Lolo, Shawo Tashi, Pema Tinley, Chakdor and Choksal have been given sentences of between one and six years. The crimes for which they have been […]

Iran: Freemuse and PEN protest arrest of poets

PEN International and Freemuse protest the arrest of poets and lyricists Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Moosavi, who have been held in Section 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison since 7 December 2013, apparently for their critical writings. They are feared to be at risk of torture and ill-treatment and there are mounting concerns for their well-being. […]

Iran: President Rohani says that “art without freedom is nonsense”

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said that creativity is developed in the light of freedom and that art without freedom is nonsense. “We have tried to restore trust among the artists by appointing managers who love the Iranian artists’ community… transparency and honesty are our mottos and we are seeking democracy in art,” stated Hassan Rohani. […]

Turkey: ‘Rock‘n’roll Imam’ under investigation

Turkish authorities are investigating whether the imam of a Mediterranean mosque, Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer, can continue his rock band, or whether the genre is incompatible with Islam. “I have heard that the decision will come in two to three weeks,” Tuzer said by telephone from Pinarkoy. Whatever the verdict will be, “I will continue to […]

Zimbabwe: Banned playwright and visual artist isolated

Playwright Cont Mhlanga and artist Owen Maseko have been harassed, arrested and detained for criticising the government – but while they have been made personae non gratae in Zimbabwe’s art circles, they have not stopped doing what they love. The two artists were portrayed by Inter Press Service, reporting from Bulawayo on 27 December 2013. […]

Iran: Two songwriters and poets arrested

On 7 December 2013 the two Iranian lyricists and poets Dr. Mehdi Moosavi and Fateme Ekhtesari were arrested by the Security Department of Iran Revolutionary Guards. It is generally believed that they were arrested maybe because of their lyrics which have been performed by a famous Iranian singer in exile, Shahin Najafi. Many of their […]

Russia: Freedom to imprisoned Pussy Riot members

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were among those prisoners released on a general amnesty on 23 December 2013. Among the criteria for amnesty were those in prison for non-violent offences and mothers of young children. “We didn’t ask for any pardon. I would have sat here until the end of my sentence […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 has been freed

On 19 December 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was acquitted on appeal of singing songs insulting to the police and has been freed, according to his lawyer and his mother. The case against Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) goes back to August 2013, when Weld El 15 and fellow rapper Klay […]

Sweden: Public broadcaster excludes hit rap song from playlists

Because of ‘violent lyrics’ and a ‘stance against the Sweden Democrats and the Moderates’, the song ‘Black Doves and Wilted Lilies’ (‘Svarta duvor och vissna liljor’) by Timbuktu (real name: Jason Diakité) and Sebbe Staxx (real name: Sebastian Stakset) will not be included on the national Swedish radio’s playlists and is thus practically banned from […]

Russia: Freedom promised to the two imprisoned Pussy Riot members

The Russian State Duma has passed an amnesty bill submitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin that seems to promise freedom for the two jailed members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. According to the attorney Irina Khrunova, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina may be freed before New Year, as soon as […]

Iran: Artists launch petition to end suppression of musicians

In a letter addressed to Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati, a group of Iranian musicians, music principals, and supporters have asked him to end the suppression of musicians and music professionals and to ensure that artists are not imprisoned for producing artistic works. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, […]

Iran: Musician and music distributors arrested

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested three men involved in the production, distribution, and promotion of Iranian underground music in October 2913, a source with knowledge of the arrest told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Musician Mehdi Rajabian, his brother, and Yousef Emadi, who managed BargMusic, were arrested on 12 October 2013 in […]

Russia: Pussy Riot appeal referred back to Moscow Court

The Supreme Court has referred an appeal by three members of the Pussy Riot punk group against their prison sentences back to a Moscow court. Moscow City Court rejected an appeal against their sentences on 29 May 2013. The defense team then appealed that ruling at the Supreme Court. The imprisoned Pussy Riot members Maria […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 appeal hearing

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 will spend the next four months in prison, unless he wins the appeal filed by his attorney on 9 December 2013. On 5 December, the 25-year-old artist was sentenced for performing songs deemed insulting to police. The Hammamet court ordered him taken straight to his cell. According to Tunisia rap […]

Tunisia: Two musicians denied access to perform at festival

The organising committee of the festival L’Angar, supported by Turning Tables in Tunis, announced that entry on Tunisian territory has been denied two of the festival’s scheduled artists: El Rass from Libanon (real name: Mazen El Sayyed) and Al Sayed Darwish from Syria (real name: Sawah). The unofficial reason was given orally from a representative […]

China/Tibet: Free jailed Tibetan singers, stars tell China

In 2013, China jailed seven Tibetan singers after they wrote and performed songs celebrating Tibet, opposing China’s occupation and calling for freedom. They join three other singers imprisoned in 2012. Peter Gabriel and Radiohead back campaign to free the imprisoned Tibetan singers who have received prison sentences of up to six years Peter Gabriel, Thom […]

Russia: Pussy Riot members’ appeal accepted by Supreme Court

Russia’s Supreme Court has accepted the appeal by two imprisoned members of the punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, and ordered a review of prison terms for the two, saying that the lower court ignored mitigating factors. The ruling on 10 December 2013 came three months before Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina […]

China/Tibet: Campaign to protect free speech in Tibet

To highlight the fast shrinking space for writers and artists to freely and fearlessly express their views and to pressure China to respect Tibetan rights, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, in partnership with Voice of Tibet and Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts is running a ‘Banned Expression’ campaign on social media and on official […]

Artist Alert: November 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 5 December 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Norway: Christian heavy metal band receives death threats

The heavy metal band Antestor have recieved many death threats because of their Christian religion, reported Karoline Paulsen Årrestad for NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation “It’s pretty disgusting,” said bass player Erik Norman Aanonsen. “Many in the black metal community feel they are a counterculture to the authorities, and especially to the church. That is […]

Tunisia: Freemuse condemns imprisonment of rapper Weld El 15

Rapper Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) was sentenced four months imprisonment after he turned himself in to a court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013. Freemuse condemned the verdict. “Tunisia should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. Weld El 15 was sentenced in absentia earlier in […]

Iran: Popular rapper arrested by Morality Police

Iran’s Morality Police have arrested popular rapper Amir Tataloo. Colonel Massoud Zahedian, Chief of the Morality Police, told ISNA that his unit is actively identifying and confronting Iranian underground musicians who produce their work inside Iran and distribute it on television satellite channels abroad. Zahedian added that following the arrest, Amir Tataloo (real name: Amir […]

Belarus: Blacklisted musicians play abroad

Today a number of prominent Belarusian musicians face serious difficulties when they want to perform for the Belarusian public. Playing concerts in neighbouring countries is one of their solutions. Giving concerts in Belarus has become more difficult for many artists. The Belarusian authorities consider them a threat to the regime. In their songs, some bands […]

India: Rap song about corruption asked to be removed from film

‘Eggjactly’, a rap song about corruption composed, written and sung by Jaaved Jaaferi, is banned form televison by the censor board – and might also be banned altogether from the film ‘Jackpot’.  See on www.hindustantimes.com You can listen to the song on youtube.com Jaaved Jaaferi gives an introduction on live tv to his song, ‘Eggjactly’ India […]

Russia: Pussy Riot member’s case against prison dismissed

Investigators have dismissed again a request filed by convicted Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to initiate a case against the administration of the Mordovian colony where she served her sentence for absence of a crime in the officials’ acts, the Investigation Committee reported. On 23 September 2013, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova declared a hunger strike and requested […]

Cambodia: Song writer Yorm Bopha released on bail

Cambodian land rights activist and protest-song writer Yorm Bopha was released on bail on 22 November 2013, pending a re-hearing of her case by the Court of Appeal. Yorm Bopha was arrested on 4 September 2012, and subsequently convicted of “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code on 27 […]

Russia: Pussy Riot’s Alyokhina appealing to Supreme Court

The defense of a Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, who was convicted last year of hooliganism for singing a song against President Vladimir Putin, will file a supervisory appeal against her sentence with the Supreme Court, her lawyer said. The appeal from the feminist punk rocker follows a similar application with the same court by […]

Tunisia: Rapper receives four-month reprieve on sentence

Rappers Men-Ay (real name: Aymen Feki), and Mister Mustapha (real name: Mustapha Fakhfakh) have been prosecuted for their alleged role in clashes with the police, “insulting a public official in the exercise of his duties” and “breaching good morals” – offenses punishable respectively by one year or six months in prison, according to the Tunisian […]

Tunisia: Fugitive rapper to appeal conviction

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15, on the run since receiving a 21-month jail sentence in absentia in August 2013, will appeal the ruling in court in December 2013, his lawyer said. The new trial will take place at the court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013, the lawyer Ghazi Mrabet told AFP, adding that his […]

Artist Alert: October 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 November 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Russia: Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova located

News of jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova finally surfaced after she was incommunicado for 26 days. The husband of the Russian band member said she was being held in a prison hospital in Siberia. According to Verzilov, there is a chance that his wife might spend the remainder of her two-year sentence in the […]

Mauritania: Two rappers detained and interrogated

Security forces detained rapper and singer Leïla Moulay (also spelled: Laila Moulaye) on 13 November 2013, one day after rapper Hamzo Bryn was taken into custody. The detention came in response to their 28 September 2013 online release of a video titled ‘It started from Nouakchott’ by Hamzo’s group Soco Izi, which provoked a wave […]

Russia: Pussy Riot’s Tolokonnikova punished with move to Siberian prison

The husband of the imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said he had received “100 percent reliable” information that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is being moved to a prison in the Krasnoyarsk region, four time zones and 2,000 miles from Moscow. The specific prison is not yet known, said the husband, Petya Verzilov, but early indications suggest […]

Egypt: TV bans ‘romantic’ songs amid unrest

The broadcasting of any “romantic” songs or music videos on Egyptian state television channels has been banned, a state-run newspaper announced on Thursday, adding that only “patriotic” tunes will be allowed to be aired. See on english.alarabiya.net

Belarus: Cultural censorship as state policy | Index

Keeping tight control over every sphere of social life is the general policy of the Belarusian authorities. This is true not only about politics, economy or media; arts and culture face censorship as well. Zmitser Yanenka reports from Belarus. Zmitser Yanenka’s article contains three sections: Music: to “black lists” and back • Interview with Aleh […]

Russia: Pussy Riot member’s new prison location held secret

Convicted Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has not been heard from since she was transferred from one prison to another, her husband Petr Verzilov told international news media on 2 November 2013. Petr Verzilov said his wife was moved from a Mordovia prison to a prison in Chelyabinsk on 24 or 25 October 2013. […]

Nigeria: Increase in number of music videos banned for erotic content

Michael Ugwu, the chief executive officer of Iroking, an online centre for afrobeat and Nigerian music, said there has been a large increase in the number of music videos being banned for broadcast in Nigeria. “Artists have begun releasing videos purely for the internet to get round the censors. I have seen the content of […]

Malaysia: American artist banned for offending religious sensitivities

Malaysian authorities have banned a planned concert by the American pop singer Ke$ha after deciding it would hurt cultural and religious sensitivities. The organiser of the concert, Livescape, told the news agencies that it received a letter from the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia about the ban and that it will be losing US$ 350,000 […]

USA: Religious group opposes Christmas carols ‘ban’ in school district

The superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District in New Jersey, USA, was reported by Charisma News to have “banned any and all religious music in the December concerts the district’s elementary schools normally hold”. According to Charisma News, the superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District made a public statement that “religious music should not be […]

Maldives: Allegedly ‘anti-Islamic’ song banned

Maldives National Bureau of Classification stated that the song ‘God Allah Aur Bhagwan’ from the film ‘Krrish 3’ – a much awaited Bollywood superhero science fiction movie – was banned due to its anti-Islamic nature. See on www.haveeru.com.mv

Tunisia: New union to defend rappers’ freedom of expression

Tunisian rap artists have launched a labour union to defend their interests and promote their art. The ‘National Rap Union’ will be linked to the General Confederation of Tunisian Workers and intends to “raise the level of urgency of files concerning the defence of freedom of expression.” This was reported by Magharebia on 15 October […]

Tanzania: Musician receives death threats for political song

Tanzanian hip-hop artist Nay wa Mitego has been receiving death threats following the release of his new song ‘Salaam Zao’ (‘Greetings’) in August 2013. The rap song’s lyrics are said to have been detested by a powerful section of the population. “They are sending text messages to try silence me. I received the first death […]

Lithuania: Criminal investigation of performers’ use of national anthem

In a performance in 2012, three women sang the national anthem of Lithuania with slightly altered lyrics. A politician complained that this was a “desecration of a state symbol”, and now Lithuania’s criminal police commissioners have allegedly opened an inquiry into the case. Created in 1898, the Lithuanian anthem only names masculine features such as […]

Russia: Imprisoned Pussy Riot member moved to better prison

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the two imprisoned members of Pussy Riot, is moved from the prison camp in Mordovia republic, allegedly one of the toughest women’s prison in Russia, to another prison in Alatyr in the neighboring region of Chuvashia. In two rounds, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been on hunger strike for better conditions in the […]

Tunisia: Rapper Klay BBJ acquitted after three weeks in prison

On 17 October 2013, an appeals court overturned the conviction of rapper Klay BBJ on charges of “insulting the police,” Human Rights Watch reported. A district court had sentenced Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) to six months in prison for performing lyrics it deemed “insulting” at a summer music festival. “It’s great to […]

Norway: Excluded after singing Sami-style joik in church

The Parish Council in Kautokeino rages after trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen ‘joiked’ – a singing technique used by the Sami people from north Norway – during a free concert sponsored by Thon Hotels in Kautokeino church. “I have told Thon Hotels that this was not as agreed. There will be no more concerts like this […]

Cambodia: Call to action for songwriter Yorm Bopha | PEN International

PEN International believes the charges against Yorm Bopha, a lands rights activist and protest song writer, to be politically motivated, designed to prevent her activities on behalf of the Boeng Kak lake community. PEN is calling for her immediate and unconditional release and shows what you can do to help. Arrested on 4 September 2012, […]

NME: Article on political oppression of musicians

“Music feels like a matter of life and death, and sometimes and in some places it really is,” wrote Kevin EG Perry in an article where he introduces NME Magazine’s readers to, among others, the case of National Wake — a punk band from apartheid-era South Africa. The cases of Pussy Riot from Russia, Lapiro […]

Uganda: Censorship, pay offs and deportation | Index on Censorship

“Artists have been censored, paid off or even deported, delivering big blows to artistic freedom of expression in Uganda in the process,” wrote Edward Ronald Sekyewa, Executive Director of Hub for Investigative Media, in an article which was published on Index of Censorship’s website on 4 October 2013. Read the article

Zimbabwe: Reflections of a banned musician – Leonard Zhakata

Listen to Leonard Zhakata – one of Zimbabwe’s biggest pop stars – talk about how he felt when his music was kept off the air. See and listen on www.rnw.nl

Senegal: Awadi speaks about self-censorship

You can criticise presidents but not religious leaders, says Didier Awadi, one of Africa’s leading artists, to Freemuse Didier Awadi, for decades considered one of Africa’s most respected and outspoken artists, has criticized neo-colonialism, corrupt presidents and politicians. But even outspoken artists consider the fine balance between what may be important to address and what […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to six months in prison

Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ has been sentenced to six months in prison for insulting the authorities in his songs, reported several news agencies on 26 September 2013. That is 15 months less than the sentence he was first given in August 2013. Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) lost his appeal case after he […]

USA: Madonna launches platform to fight oppression and intolerance

‘Art For Freedom’, led by the American superstar Madonna, is a new digital initiative, an online ‘public art project’, designed to fuel free speech. ‘Art For Freedom’ encourages the world to express their personal meaning of freedom and revolution in the form of video, music, poetry or photography. ‘Art For Freedom’ will launch on 1 […]

Russia: Pussy Riot member subject to death threats and isolation

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who has been convicted to two years in prison over a “punk prayer” protest against Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral in August 2012, has been moved into isolation after she announced to be starting a hunger strike. On 23 September 2013, a letter by the 23-year-old imprisoned Pussy-Riot member announcing her starting […]

Greece: Rapper murdered

On the night of 17 September 2013 approximately 25 Golden Dawn neo-nazis murdered the 34-year-old rapper Pavlos Fissas, known as ‘Killah P’, in Keratsini, a working class neighborhood in Piraeus, Athens. » Information can be found in Twitter.com: @antireport, #antireport, #KillahP » This is one of his songs on youtube.com, roughly translated as ‘I won’t […]

Swedish city offers Gaza rapper safe city residency

Video interview with rapper Khaled Harara from Palestine who the Swedish city of Gothenburg has announced will be offered a ‘safe city’ residency for two years. In April 2013, the 26-year-old rapper Khaled Harara came to the Freemuse secretariat in Copenhagen. Having toured Denmark, he was afraid of returning to his home in Gaza. Khaled […]

Turkey: Ferhat Tunç concert interrupted by protesters and power cut

A group of protesters intervened in folk singer Ferhat Tunç’s concert by singing the Turkish national anthem. The concert was organised by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Dikili, Izmir. Following a power cut in the concert area, Ferhat Tunç ended the concert saying he would keep singing freedom songs. Clashes broke out between […]

Cuba: Pianist banned and forced to cancel shows

The 41-year-old Cuban pianist and bandleader Robertico Carcassés has been suspended “indefinitely” from performing in Cuba after he improvised lyrics calling for direct presidential elections, freedom of information and the end of the embargo during a televised concert on 12 September in the Cuban capital, Havana. Many of Cuba’s most popular musicians performed at the concert […]

Syrian pianist: “We need freedom for true art”

Syria Untold spoke to renowned Syrian composer and pianist Malek Jandali about the emergence of new forms of art and music in Syria. Jandali, who composed the song ‘Watani Ana’ (My Homeland) at the start of the revolution, told us what he considers to be his personal contribution to his country: Music for freedom and […]

Cambodia: Golden era of Cambodian music given its second airing

“In 2009, Hobart-born, Phnom Penh-based rock guitarist Julien Poulson, 47, established the Cambodian Space Project. The ‘carousel’ of a band has had up to 22 singers, dancer and musicians, mostly from Cambodia, helping revive some of the music from the era, including that of the murdered artists.” “Pan Ron was the most risque of Cambodian […]

Tunisia: Two rappers convicted to 21 months in prison

Two Tunisian rappers, Weld El 15 and Klay BBJ, have been given 21 month jail terms in absentia for insulting officials, their lawyer said on 4 September 2013, criticising the ruling as a new attack on freedom of expression. This was reported by AFP. The trial took place on 30 August 2013 without the rappers […]

Malaysia: American heavy metal band denied permit to perform

Christian and Islamic groups in Malaysia called for a festival concert with the American heavy metal band Lamb of God scheduled for 28 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur to be banned. As a result, on 4 September, the band was reportedly denied permit to perform in Malaysia. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir […]

Turkey: Imam who is also a musician receives threats

Imam and rock musician Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer gave a concert with a repertoire composed entirely by himself at Kaş Marina on 10 August 2013. After the concert was reported by the press, he began to receive threatening and insulting messages. ‘Imam led the prayer before concert | Rocker Imam Ahmet’. Published on youtube.com on 11 […]

North Korea: 12 musicians executed by firing squad

Unconfirmed reports claim the famous North Korean pop singer Hyun Song-wol was among a number of musicians who were executed by firing squad on 20 August 2013, according to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. On 29 August 2013, South Korea’s largest daily newspaper The Chosun Ilbo reported that Hyun Song-wol had been executed by […]

Iran: Over 200 rock fans arrested at concert

On 16 August 2013 Iranian authorities arrested over 200 fans at a heavy metal concert with the band Dawn of Rage. Police raided the concert without any explanation despite organisers having received a permit from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance sanctioning the event. The concert took place in Shahrak Gharb, an affluent neighborhood […]

Russia: Rolling back free expression | Index on Censorship

As the G20 nations prepare to meet in St Petersburg, Russia in early September 2013, Index on Censorship is exploring the nations’ records on free expression. Their article about Russia, headlined ‘Russia: Rolling back free expression’ and published on 20 August 2013, contains the following paragraph about the artistic freedom of expression in the country: […]

Mexico: Drug ballads banned in Chihuahua

In July 2013 alone, four musical acts have been fined for violating a law prohibiting the performance of songs in the genre – one which often heralds the exploits of drug cartel members. The latest target of such a fine was Alfredo Ríos, better known as ‘El Komander’, who held a show at a baseball […]

Russia: American rock band sparked Russian outrage with flag stunt

The U.S. rock band Bloodhound Gang got kicked off a Russian music festival after having performed a stunt that was seen as the defiling of a Russian flag at a concert in Odessa, Ukraine, on 31 July 2013. Bloodhound Gang’s bass guitarist Jared Hasselhoff grabbed a Russian flag, jammed it inside his underwear and then […]

Vietnam: Musician fined for publishing CD with “depraved contents”

Ngọc Đại, a prominent experimental musician, was fined 30 million dong (app. US$ 1,500) for publishing and distributing his latest album without permission to do so. 1,000 copies of the album were printed, and almost sold out, before authorities reacted. It features lyrics by poets Bui Chat and Nguyen Dinh Chinh who allegedly are banned […]

Burma: Freedom of expression in transition | Index on Censorship

The third section of Index on Censorship’s report, ‘Freedom of expression in transition’, is about artistic freedom of expression and censorship within literature, comedy, visual art, performance art, music, and film in Burma. The report is written by Mike Harris, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, and was published in July 2013. » Shortcut […]

 

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