UN report: Impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the enjoyment of cultural rights

In her second report to the Human Rights Council, Karima Bennoune – the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights – considers how the rise of fundamentalism and extremism, in diverse forms, represent major threats to human rights worldwide. Fundamentalism and extremism represent a growing challenge that must be faced with urgency, […]

Freemuse report on the effects of terror on arts and culture

Terrorism has affected and damaged cultural industries and artistic freedom on several continents over the past 20 years. However, few studies have described the short- as well as long-term effects of this terror on arts and culture. Freemuse has submitted a 12-page report, “Challenges and effects of terror on arts and culture” to United Nations Office of […]

Police, drug law and non-state actors pose threat to artistic freedom in Tunisia

COPENHAGEN, 20 OCTOBER 2016 | In Tunisia, the country’s 2014 constitution guarantees the right to artistic freedom. Despite such guarantees, artistic freedom is not fully upheld and protected. Artists, often rappers, are exposed to threats, assaults, prosecution and imprisonment by Tunisian authorities, terrorist groups and other non-state actors, according to a new stakeholder submission to the […]

Moroccan artists persecuted, imprisoned when crossing red lines: UPR report

Morocco should replace unclear and vague provisions in the Penal Code and decriminalize the so-called “red line” offenses, according to a new joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process by Freemuse and Racines – two civil society organizations defending artistic freedom in Morocco and globally. COPENHAGEN/CASABLANCA, 17 OCTOBER 2016 | Morocco often […]

UN Special Rapporteur releases report on intentional destruction of cultural heritage

In her latest report, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune states that the intentional destruction of cultural heritage is a human rights issue and calls for national and international mechanisms to prevent such destruction, hold those accountable who have caused the destruction and support and protect those who defend cultural […]

Turkey: Recent reports paint grim picture for artistic freedom

Over the last two years, Turkey has remained in the top five of worst countries that violate artistic freedom according to Freemuse’s annual statistics. Though Turkey agreed to hundreds of recommendations in 2015 made by the United Nations Human Rights Councils, it is difficult to see where and how authorities have changed the landscape of the […]

Arterial Network publishes reflections on creative expression in Africa

On 24 August 2016, Arterial Network, a civil-society network based in Africa, released its compilation of essays, stories and reflections on the state of freedom of creative expression in the continent entitled ‘How Free is FREE?’. The publication comprises writings by 25 authors across 14 countries in the continent, including Senegalese author Boubacar Boris Diop, […]

Art Under Threat: Attacks on artistic freedom in 2015

Freemuse Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015 Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in 2015 in over 70 countries. In total, Freemuse registered 469 cases of censorship and attacks on artists and violations of […]

Artistic freedom in Zimbabwe: Joint stakeholder report submitted to the UN

Zimbabwe should abolish its Censorship Act and any prior-censorship bodies or systems, according to a joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR) by Freemuse and Nhimbe – two civil society organisations defending artistic freedom in Zimbabwe and globally. COPENHAGEN/BULAWAYO, 31 MARCH 2016 | Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution guarantees the right to freedom […]

Turkey: EU and UN address Turkey’s troublesome arts freedom record

Significant shortcomings in the promotion of democracy and human rights feature highly in the European Commission’s 2015 Progress Report on Turkey, which points to ‘significant backsliding’ on protection of freedom of expression in the last two years after several years of progress. By Sara Whyatt   The report refers to a worrying number of writers […]

UNESCO report: Visas and logistics vex artists

A UNESCO analytic report on the status of the artist, published in September 2015, focuses on four key areas that are affecting artists’ social and economic situations today: digital technologies and the Internet, artist mobility, social protections, and freedom of artistic expression. As the world continues to change with its advances in technology and the […]

Turkey: Opposing views perceived as insult

New report on publishing in Turkey reveals hard line state policy Turkey is going through a time in history whereby the concept of ‘criticism’ has lost its substance,” according to a new report from Turkish Publishers Association. The report sums up that “any opinion opposing the views and positions of the politically powerful and not […]

Freemuse and PEN submit joint report about Lebanon to UN

On 23 March 2015, Freemuse, Pen International and Pen Lebanon submitted a Universal Periodic Review about Lebanon to the United Nations – for consideration at the 23rd session of the UN working group in October 2015. “Lebanon rather than supporting its creative industries and artists is making several hindrances to artistic freedom and creativity through […]

Norwegian PEN publishes report about freedom of expression in Turkey

The Norwegian PEN has published a special report titled ‘Turkey: Free Expression Under a Shadow’. In the 60-page report, data and information related to violations of freedom of expression, the effects of the judicial system and the law on freedom of expression, self-censorship, the pressure on press, hate speech and freedom of religion and conscience […]

USA: NCAC raises curtain on theatre censorship in public schools

National Coalition Against Censorship in the U.S. has published a toolkit for organising against theatre censorship in public schools: ‘The show must go on’ “Censorship of the theatre has existed since its emergence as an art form. From Oedipus Rex to Cabaret, some of the most artistically rich theatre has been disturbing, subversive, transformative, and often a target of […]

Freemuse to UN: Belarus should explain censorship

In a Universal Periodic Review submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Freemuse argues that Belarus is failing to abide by its international commitments to fully protect the fundamental artistic freedoms of its citizens. “Belarus should take active steps publicly to document and explain its censorship policy – not least its communications with media […]

US fails to protect the human right to read, says report

In a submission to the United Nations, Freemuse and NCAC document violations of freedom of information and expression in public schools, jails, and prisons in the USA. In a new report to the United Nations assessing the United States’ compliance with its human rights obligations, Freemuse and USA-based NCAC, the National Coalition Against Censorship, argue […]

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 […]

Azerbaijan: Report about artistic freedom of expression

A new 33-page report by Art for Democracy details cases of violations of the right to artistic freedom of expression over the past three years in Azerbaijan. According to the report, the Azerbaijani authorities have used a range of tactics to silence critical artistic expression, including harassment, intimidation, threats, interference, legal pressure, arrest, imprisonment, and […]

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 […]

Freemuse to United Nations: Iran discriminates women artists

Iran should eliminate discrimination against women artists and abolish censorship of artistic expressions, stated Freemuse in its submission to the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of Iran in March 2014. For decades the Islamic Republic of Iran has put severe restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression. Although the country in 2010 during […]

Freemuse and AFTE: Egypt should abolish prior censorship

Egypt should abolish prior censorship and allow artists to organise freely. These are two of the recommendations made by Freemuse and AFTE to the Egyptian government in a joint Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submitted to the United Nations. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council in the United Nations […]

UN study on the impact of advertising and marketing on cultural rights

The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, is launching a new study on the impact of advertising and marketing practices on cultural rights. The study takes a close-up look at the effect of advertising and marketing practices on cultural diversity and human rights. According to a press release from the […]

ARTerial Network Report: Monitoring freedom of creative expression in Africa

Report: “Artwatch Africa – monitoring freedom of cultural expression” ARTerial Network, in line with its mandate of defending artists’ rights, established ArtWatch Africa — a project aimed at monitoring the challenges and constraints on freedom of creative expression in African countries. Following a mapping exercise covering 70 percent of Africa, Arterial Network released its first […]

UN report on artistic freedom launched at EU Parliament

Members of the European Parliament will join a lunchtime presentation of the UN Report ‘The Right to Freedom of Artistic Expression and Creativity’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on 2 October 2013. The report will be presented by its author, Mme Farida Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, who was […]

Index on Censorship: Self-censorship stifling UK artistic expression

Widespread self-censorship and fear of causing offence is suppressing creativity and ideas in the United Kingdom, according to a conference report published by Index on Censorship, ‘Taking the Offensive’. There are multiple pressures on artistic freedom of expression and censorship has become a major issue for the arts sector in this country, the report reveals. […]

Download and distribute the conference report

Written by Robin Denselow, a British writer, journalist and broadcaster who reports for The Guardian, BBC tv and radio, this report is a catching, touching and enlightening publication about the current state of freedom of expression among artists around the world. It reflects on the numerous accounts and incidents of censorship, persecution and imprisonment of artists, […]

Index on Censorship: Examining theatre, freedom of expression and public order

‘Beyond Belief: Examining theatre, freedom of expression and public order’ is a report by Index on Censorship published in July 2011: Beyond Belief » Beyond Belief

Singapore: “Censorship isn’t working – regulate instead”

The core message in a 33-page paper by Arts Engage entitled ‘2010 Arts Community Position Paper on Censorship and Regulation’ is: “Censorship isn’t working. Regulate instead”. Arts Engage is a group of 180 people from the local arts community in Singapore who have been hard at work formulating this position paper on censorship ever since […]

Lebanon: Comprehensive assessment of censorship in Lebanon

Executive Summary This study aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of censorship in Lebanon which will hopefully allow the many local artistic and cultural actors the opportunity to lobby for the most appropriate legislative amendments to the current censorship regulations which are currently not conducive to their work. Thus accordingly, the study provides an extended […]



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