Latest INSIGHT articles

Documenting incidents of censorship has never been enough. From the very beginning Freemuse has attempted to put censorship of music and arts into a larger context.

Our series  INSIGHT  provides you with articles and features that dig a little deeper. The series is edited by Marie Korpe, co-founder and former executive director of Freemuse.

Photo by Banning Eyre

» Banning Eyre and Mark LeVine – 10 July 2017:
Censorship in Nigeria: Musical free expression in the shadow of Fela

Banning Eyre and Mark LeVine recently spent, between them, a month in Nigeria. LeVine as part of his ongoing research on music and history there, and Eyre, with LeVine’s assistance, to gather material for Hip Deep in Nigeria, a set of five radio programs for the Peabody Award-winning American public radio series Afropop Worldwide. Their research gives new insights into the current state of censorship and suppression of free expression in Africa’s most populous nation.

Students protesting the dismissal of their professors with presidential decrees in Ankara University.

» Yiğit Günay – 11 May 2017:
Turkey: A prolonged tragedy for theatre

The level of suppression against art in Turkey can only be grasped by going deep into details and history. Sacking of 4,464 public servants including 330 academics sounds alarming, but knowing it also meant the practical closing down of the most important theatre institution of the country is shocking. The arson of a theatre and a cultural centre is scary, but knowing its symbolic significance reminding of the mass murder of intellectuals and artists in 1993 is infuriating.

Red carpet, Ajyal Youth Film Festival, Doha, Qatar. Photo by Bilal Randeree.

» Hanna Cinthia a.k.a. Hanouneh – 28 February 2017:
Qatar: Playing with the censors

The state of Qatar is young and old at the same time, immersed in both modernity and tradition. Governed by strict Islamic principles under the supreme power of the emir, Qatar is a place where freedom of speech is very limited, and where artistic expression risks being banned or censored due to its religious content or moral nature. In 2016, it ranked the richest country in the entire world – and spends vast sums of money on establishing itself as a cultural spearhead in the region. This is a story from the perspective of an independent artist invited to play at a festival in Doha, facing the conflict between progressive ambition and repressive ideals.



» Roman Pawlowski – 2 December 2016:
Poland: Creative freedom undermined in cultural revolution

Every government has the right to conduct its own cultural policy and to determine its own priorities and strategies. But what has been happening in Polish culture since the nationalist-Catholic rightwing ‘Law and Justice’ Party (PiS) took power in the autumn of 2015 has not been a normal democratic correction. It has instead been a wholesale undermining of the foundations that Polish cultural and social life were built upon after 1989: the values of openness, tolerance and creative freedom.



» Barley Norton – 27 September 2016:
Vietnam: Popular music and censorship

The Vietnamese state operates a thorough system of music censorship, and the few songwriters who dare to directly challenge the authority of the Vietnamese Communist Party or its policies face serious consequences. Focusing on popular musicians, this article charts the history of music censorship in Vietnam from the mid twentieth century through to the current digital era.



» Eleni Polymenopoulou – 14 September 2016:
Greece: Artistic freedom at stake

Censorship incidents and controversies over artworks have multiplied over the last few years in Greece, particularly since the crisis hit the country in 2008. At the same time, legal controversies over blasphemous and obscene publications continue while hate crimes are on the rise, as exemplified by the murder of young rapper Fyssas in 2014.



» Yiğit Günay – 14 September 2016:
Turkey: The coup still continues for the art scene

The state of emergency following the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 resulted in increased pressure against artists. The already-ongoing attack against freedom of art has accelerated after the coup attempt. Artists are trying to keep their heads up under the pressure, while the government is planting the seeds for a total transformation of the cultural scene.



» Ankush Arora – 30 May 2016:
India: Censors under fire

Nearly halfway into the term of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the world’s largest democracy is witnessing an increasingly polarised debate over freedom of expression; and what many critics and civil society members say is an atmosphere of intolerance in the country.



» Yiğit Günay – 18 May 2016:
Turkey: “Music that sexually turns on people is a sin”

Artists are facing severe difficulties under Erdoğan’s rule. On 15 February 2016, The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, issued a fatwa – a religious ban – on ‘sexual’ music. The latest victim of this arbitrary repression is an imam who runs a rockband and opposes the Directorate’s fatwa from a religious perspective.

» See more

We have added a number of articles from our “back catalogue” to the series. Here you will find background articles developed and produced since 2014 in collaboration with Global Voices, and also the articles which were produced in connection with the world conference ‘All that is banned is desired’.

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