Egypt: Lawsuit filed against TV series for allegedly offending president

Lawyer Samir Sabry filed a lawsuit to Egypt’s general prosecutor against TV series ‘La Tofte’ El Shams’ (Don’t Let the Sun Set) for allegedly offending the country’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, reported Egyptian Streets on 11 June 2017. The lawyer referred to an episode that briefly featured a piece of graffiti written on a wall […]

Lebanon: TV station takes religious film off air after online protest

On 14 April 2017, Lebanese TV station MTV stopped the broadcast of a film about the life of Jesus, which was set to air Easter weekend, due to online protests and insults from viewers, reported Alquds on 18 April 2017. The film, entitled ‘Jesus’, was intended to tell the story of Jesus in multiple parts; […]

Kenya: Censorship board continues to expand its moral policing

The Kenya Film Certification Board (KFCB) and its CEO, Ezekiel Mutua, continue to limit artists and their work. Most recently, the body banned six US-produced cartoon programmes after Mutua described them as “normalising, glamorising or even glorifying homosexual behaviour”, reported Nairobi News on 22 June 2017. In a 15 June 2017 statement, KFCB said they […]

Iran: Musician and filmmaker brothers released from prison, await appeal

Freemuse has learned that Iranian brothers and artists, musician Mehdi Rajabian and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, were temporarily released on bail from Tehran’s Evin Prison on 22 June 2017. On 23 June 2017, Mehdi Rajabian made the following post on his Instagram page: Our incarceration has almost been suspended at this stage after bail payment and […]

Three Arab actresses receive death threats from ISIS over TV series

Three Arab actresses – Mona Shaddad, Aseel Omran and Fatima Nasser – have received death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because of their roles in the TV series ‘Gharabeeb Soud’ (Black Crows), which criticizes the terror group, reported Al Arabiya and Alwatan Voice on 30 May 2017. Kuwaiti actress Mona […]

Israel: Director and actresses receive death threats over feminist film

Palestinian film director and activist Maysaloun Hamoud has received a fatwa against her, as well as multiple death threats, which the actresses in her film ‘Bar Bahar’ (In Between) also received, due to it featuring taboo topics, such as drug and alcohol abuse and homosexuality, reported Telquel on 9 March 2017. Hamoud confirmed that she […]

India: Film cleared for release by appellate board

On 24 April 2017, India’s Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) overturned a decision by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and cleared film ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ for release in the country’s cinemas on 21 July 2017, reported The Guardian on 26 April 2017. “There cannot be any embargo on a film being women […]

China: Banned Hong Kong film scrubbed from award coverage

Chinese media blocked live coverage of the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards on 9 April 2017 every time mention was made of Hong Kong crime film ‘Trivisa’, which was banned from screens in mainland China upon its release in 2016, reported South China Morning Post on 10 April 2017. Chinese media had also erased the […]

Lithuania: Cinemas refuse to screen Russian film over propaganda

Cinemas in Lithuania have refused to screen Russian superhero movie ‘Guardians’ over the content of the film, which depicted “the excessive power of the Russian army”, its “aggressive military doctrine” and “heavy weaponry”, reported Gazeta on 20 February 2017. The film, a close twin to the Hollywood Avengers and Justice League superhero movies, tells the […]

Israel: Ultra-orthodox city censors female cartoon character from film posters

Posters and a billboard for animated film ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ have been scrubbed of their lone female character, Smurfette, in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, leaving three male cartoon smurfs on the advertisements, reported Jewish Telegraph Agency on 27 March 2016. The movie’s distribution company, Forum Film, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 29 […]

Uganda: Dutch film banned for ‘glorifying homosexuality’

Uganda’s Media Council banned the screening of 2010 Dutch film ‘De Eetclub’ (The Dinner Club) because it “depicts and glorifies homosexuality” and includes scenes of nudity, drinking, smoking and the use of “lurid language”, the Dutch Embassy in Uganda revealed in a Facebook post on 15 May 2017. The film was scheduled to be screened […]

Cambodia: Actress banned from filming due to revealing photos

On 25 April 2017, Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ disciplinary council banned actress Denny Kwan from working in the entertainment industry for a year due to the artist posting pictures of herself in sexy clothing, reported The Phnom Penh Post on 27 April 2017. ”I know it’s my right to [dress how I […]

Canada: Film shoot moved after being denied permission over indigenous character

The Hollywood production of Liam Neeson-starring film ‘Hard Powder’ has moved into the province of British Columbia after their application with Parks Canada for permission to film in the province of Alberta was denied due to concerns over an indigenous gang leader character, reported CBC News on 15 March 2017 “They objected to the fact […]

Iran: Filmmaker released from prison

Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was released from Evin Prison on 19 April 2017 after serving nearly five months of a one-year sentence, reported Amnesty International on 27 April 2017. Karimi, who is from a Kurdish background, was originally charged in October 2015 with a six-year prison sentence and 223 lashes on charges of “insulting the […]

Lebanon: Two movies banned from film festival

Two movies – ‘Beit Al-Baher’ (The Beach House) and ‘Mawlana’ (The Preacher) – were not granted screening permissions during the Beirut Cinema Days film festival held in Beirut, Lebanon, from 15 to 24 March 2017, reported Stepfeed on 24 March 2017. During the ninth edition of the festival the Lebanese censorship board enforced strict regulations […]

In prison for a year in Iran; artists call for musician’s and filmmaker’s release

COPENHAGEN / NEW YORK, 1 June 2017 | Two Iranian artists will have been in prison for a full year on 5 June, sentenced for their peaceful artistic expressions. Today, artists and supporters of artistic freedom from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East called for their release in a public letter sent […]

INSIGHT 2016 publication: Targeting the arts

» Read on issuu.com Targeting the arts INSIGHT articles about controversies and conflicts over art in 2016 Documenting incidents of censorship will never be enough. From the very beginning, Freemuse has attempted to describe censorship of music and arts in a larger context. In 2015 we introduced INSIGHT – a series of articles providing readers with […]

Venezuela: Catholic universities ban transgender film, filmmakers say

The production crew of film ‘Tamara’ in a public statement reported that Catholic University Andrés Bello (UCAB) and Catholic University Santa Rosa (UCSAR) refused to screen their film as they considered it a piece of “transsexual propaganda”, reported Venezuelan newspaper 2001 on 6 March 2017.   The film is inspired by the life of Tamara […]

Jordan: Film allegedly banned after special screening

Director Mahmoud Assad in a statement said that Jordan’s Media Commission has banned his latest film ‘Blessed Benefit’ because it “contains several scenes that undermine the state’s authority”, reported news site AgiArab on 21 February 2017. Massad refuted the allegations by saying that security agencies granted him permission to shoot the film in 2014 and […]

Bangladesh: Government bans film, no reason given

The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) banned film ‘Doob: No Bed of Roses’ on 16 February 2017, just a day after it had approved the film with a “no objection certificate”, reported Variety on 17 February 2017. In their letter to the film’s production company, the BFDC said it cancelled the certificate because of a […]

Iran: Ten films banned from international film festival

The new culture and Islamic guidance minister for Iran, Reza Salehi Amiri, announced on 19 January 2017 that ten films have been banned from entering the 35th annual Tehran Fajr International Film Festival set to take place 21-28 April 2017, reported the Center for Human Rights in Iran on 26 January 2017. Amiri said the […]

Kuwait/Lebanon/UAE: Countries ban Egyptian film over religious concerns

Egyptian film ‘Mawlana’ (Preacher) has been banned in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon over backlash from religious clerics amid fears it could “incite sectarian strife”, reported Arab Times Online, An-Nahar and Al Bawaba in February 2017. Lebanese censors objected to 12 minutes of the film, saying it “could incite sectarian strife and provoke […]

Lebanon: Religious believer blacked out of film

Lebanese-French filmmaker Philippe Aractingi expected his latest film ‘Ismaii’ (Listen) to be censored due to some sex scenes in the film, however only one scene in the film was censored by covering a Druze cleric with a black mark, reported French news outlet Courrier International on 8 February 2017. Though the film received approval from […]

Spain: Censorship under Franco still looms over the arts

While Dr. Jordi Cornella, currently a lecturer in Hispanic studies at the University of Glasgow, began his research on censorship in translated works under Francisco Franco’s dictatorial regime in Spain (1939-1975), his findings took an unexpected turn. “It was a total surprise,” Cornella told Freemuse, explaining his discovery that literary works that had been censored […]

Saudi Arabia: Music video and government initiatives split society

A music video entitled ‘Hwages’, which loosely translates to “concerns”, featuring a trio of veiled female artists with colourful clothing underneath, playing together and singing about the oppression women face in Saudi Arabia has not only gone viral, but has also divided the country, reported The Independent on 5 January 2017. The women, while they […]

Philippines: Film festival bans filmmakers, revokes award

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee decided to ban director Alvin Yapan and two producers of film ‘Oro’ for one year due to controversy over a scene where a dog was allegedly killed, reported Philippine news portal Interaksyon on 6 January 2017. The committee’s decision came after it already revoked the Fernando Poe […]

Turkey: Two mayors ban Kurdish director’s film

Two Turkish mayors have imposed bans on Kurdish director Mahsun Kırmızıgül’s latest film  ‘Vezir Parmağı’ because they say it “undermines national and spiritual values” and the is considered to be a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “sympathiser”, reported Hurriyet Daily News on 2 February 2017. Anamur district mayor Mehmet Ture said he wouldn’t let a film […]

India/Pakistan: Films continue to fall victim to threats and censorship

India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to certify film ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, which revolves around the stories of four women, reported Hindustan Times on 23 February 2017. The CBFC stated the reason for the denial was that: “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious [sic] sexual […]

Censorship continues on online platforms

Online media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, continue to come under fire for taking down content, including artistic works, seemingly arbitrarily or unevenly, for violations of their standards. In some cases, such platforms go as far as blocking people’s accounts for the content they post. Facebook in particular was at the centre of […]

Ukraine: Banning of films continues

By Oksana Chelysheva In the period from 2014 to 2017 over 500 films produced in Russia have been banned from being broadcast and distributed in Ukraine. The list published by Ukraine’s National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting comprises not only films produced in Russia during the conflict which erupted in spring 2014, but also […]

Venezuela: Judge issues nationwide ban on film about boxer

A Caracas Children and Teenagers Protection Court judge, Salvador Mata García, issued a nationwide ban on film ‘El Inca’, based on the life of boxer Edwin “El Inca” Valero, as a preliminary measure in response to a complaint by the boxer’s family, reported El País on 25 December 2016. The ban includes the movie’s screening, […]

China: Ministry of Culture allegedly blacklists 55 artists

China has allegedly blacklisted 55 artists, mostly musicians, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have participated in pro-democracy movements or expressed political views that China deems objectionable, reported Quartz on 11 January 2017. Hints of the blacklist came a week earlier, on 6 January, when works by some pop artists […]

Iran: Two artists arrested, released on bail

Security forces arrested poet and actor Raouf Delfi and actor Sayed Hasan Mousavi (also known as Sayed Blood) in Abadan, in western Iran, on 13 December 2016. At the time of arrest the location of their detention was unknown, as well as their charges, reported PEN International on 22 December 2016. The organization reported on […]

Cuba: Festival bans film portraying Castro’s ill treatment of homosexuals

The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) decided to ban the film ‘Santa y Andrés’, which had been pre-selected for display at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, also known as the Havana Film Festival, that took place 8-18 December 2016. The film was deemed contrary to Revolutionary values and […]

Russia: Artistic freedom threatened by nationalist and orthodox groups

While Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed in a meeting with film directors and artists in early December 2016 to protect artistic freedom, he also said artists carry a responsibility not to offend religious believers, saying “there is a very narrow divide between dangerous shock value and freedom of creativity”, reported The New York Times on […]

UAE: Film festival cancels screening of Egyptian animated short

‘The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller’, a short animated movie by Egyptian filmmaker Ahmed Roshdy, was cancelled on 11 December 2016, just 24 hours before its screening as part of the “Muhr Short“ competition at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), reported Mada Masr on 13 December 2016. DIFF posted a statement on its official […]

Spain: Exhibition organisers censor artworks by former terrorist prisoners

Curators of art exhibition ‘Giltzapekoak: Notas Sobre La Reclusión’ (Giltzapekoak: Notes on Imprisonment) reported that the San Sebastián 2016 Foundation decided to censor various artworks made by prisoners and former prisoners of Basque terrorist group ETA that were to be displayed as part of the San Sebastián 2016 European Culture Capital programme. The foundation claims it […]

Iran: Imprisoned filmmaker granted 72-hour medical leave, back in prison

Freemuse has learned from its sources that filmmaker Hossein Rajabian was granted a 72-hour medical leave earlier in the week to address health problems that have grown worse while in prison. Hossein was taken back to prison after the three days were up. Hossein and his musician brother Mehdi had been on a second hunger […]

Turkey: The Freemuse Files on Censorship of the Arts

For almost 20 years, Freemuse has documented violations on freedom of musical expressions and since 2012 also violations on other art forms in Turkey. ‘Turkey – The Freemuse Files’ is the first in a series of Freemuse compilations. The idea is to provide our readers, network partners and policy makers with an easy, quick overview […]

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 […]

Mexico: Congress proposes restrictions on “narcoseries”

A Senator and a parliamentarian both called for hardening restrictions on the airing schedules of “narcoseries” – television series in which the main topics are drug kingpins and the crimes they’re responsible for, reported El Economista on 31 October 2016. Senator Zoé Robledo and parliamentarian Lía Limón, both presidents of the Radio and TV Commissions […]

Iran: Imprisoned musician granted four-day medical leave

Musician Mehdi Rajabian, after being on hunger strike for 30 days demanding he and his brother receive much needed medical attention, was given a four-day medical furlough on 27 November 2016, according to an Instagram post the musician posted on 28 November 2016. His filmmaker brother Hossein, who also needs medical assistance, remains in prison. […]

Kenya: Film board bans “obscene” music and “offensive” musician names

Kenya’s Film Classification Board (KFCB) and its head, Ezekiel Mutua, announced on 19 November 2016 that they have issued a ban on local musicians using stage names they consider to be “offensive”, as well as the sale of music that contains “obscene” lyrics or glorifies drug abuse and violence. Mutua announced the news on his […]

Iran: Filmmaker begins serving prison sentence

Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi began serving his one-year prison sentence on 23 November 2016 on charges stemming from his 2012 film ‘Neveshtan Rooy-e Shahr’ (‘Writing on the City’) on the history of Iranian graffiti and wall writing and how it has changed due to political and social events, reported AFP. Karimi, who is from a […]

Ukraine: Film agency bans slew of Russian films and one German film

According to the Ukrainian State Film Agency, it has banned at least 26 Russian tv series and films since September 2016 from being aired on television or screened in cinemas across the country in accordance with Article 15-1 of its Law on Cinematography, which prohibits content that “popularizes” or features propaganda of “aggressors”. In addition […]

India: Film censorship board agrees to new film ratings

India’s controversial Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has accepted recommendations by a government-appointed committee headed by veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal to introduce more categories in its film classification system and to allow online certification of films, reported Hindustan Times on 9 November 2016. Benegal’s committee submitted a report that would re-structure the over 60-year-old […]

China: Art film censored by cultural bureau

On 7 November 2016, the Shanghai Cultural Bureau censored a film by artist Sun Xun at the private Minsheng Art Museum without giving a reason, reported The Art Newspaper on 8 November 2016. A sign next to the empty screen that was to show Sun’s 2011 woodcut animation ‘Some Actions which Haven’t Been Defined Yet […]

Ghana: New film law establishes strong National Film Authority oversight group

The Ghanaian government passed its new film act to promote and grow the Ghanaian film industry and establishes a National Film Authority to oversee such development, including the task of developing a code of ethics for the industry, creating a committee to approve and classify films, and managing a new film fund, the Ghanaian government […]

China: New film law to “promote socialist core values”

Chinese lawmakers passed the country’s first extensive film law set to take effect in March 2017, which directs filmmakers to produce films that “serve the people and socialism”, “prioritise social benefits”, and don’t “jeopardise national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity”, reported Chinese news agency Xinhua on 7 November 2016. The Film Industry Promotion Law in […]

Kyrgyzstan: Commission and extensive criteria created for banning films

Kyrgryz Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed a decree on 14 October 2016 establishing a new nine-person commission to undertake the task of screening and banning “audio-visual products” according to a long list of criteria, including scenes showing various forms of violence and sex, reported Kyrgyz media organisation Kloop on 24 October 2016. Muktaly Bektenaliev, the […]

Malaysia: Singaporean film banned due to “cultural sensitivities”

Singaporean film ‘Fundamentally Happy’ has been banned by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) as it “may be sensitive to the feelings of Malaysian Malays and may be interpreted by Malaysian Malays as an attempt to reflect the community’s attitude towards those who abuse the weak to fulfil their desires”, according to the filmmakers’ […]

Argentina: Filmmakers claim government censorship over Falklands film

Screenwriter Ramón Garcés, along with producers of the short film ‘Entre dos mundos’ (Between two worlds), claimed they were victims of governmental censorship after the Malvinas Museum refused to screen their film about the social abandonment and lack of recognition suffered by Argentinian veterans who fought in the Falklands (Malvinas in Spanish) War against the […]

Kenya: Draft law on film and theatre censorship broad and severe

Ezekiel Mutua, Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO, has come under fire ever since he unveiled a draft Films, Stage Plays and Publications Act in September 2016 intended to replace the outdated 1963 Films and Stage Plays Act, due to it extending the board’s responsibilities to regulating all parts of the creative process, instituting severe […]

Belarus: Film banned from festival for “anti-human view of life”

The Belarusian Ministry of Culture’s expert commission on the prevention of pornography, violence, and cruelty has forbidden organizers of the sixth annual Bulbamovie film festival from screening Valeriya Tseliasheuskaya’s short film ‘Belarusian Scrambled Eggs’ due to its “numerous scenes of violence” and that “the relationships between the people in the film suggest a uni-dimensional, anti-human […]

South Korea: Alleged government blacklist of 9,473 artists over politics

South Korean daily newspaper Hankook Ilbo revealed on 11 October 2016 that the South Korean government blacklisted 9,473 artists from receiving state support, including financial support, due to their political activity of either being critical of the current government or backing opposition politicians, reported The Korea Times on 12 October 2016. The 100-page blacklist is […]

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 […]

India: Actor challenges theatre censorship in court

On 20 September 2016, veteran actor and filmmaker Amol Palekar filed a petition to the Bombay High Court to challenge the Maharashtra state’s pre-censorship of plays, the practice of needing censor board approval of scripts before plays can be staged, reported news outlet The Quint on 28 September 2016. Of the 29 states in India, […]

Lebanon: Two films pulled from festival over politics

In its 16th year, the Beirut International Festival announced on 5 October 2016 that three films would no longer be part of the schedule due to Lebanese authorities not granting screening permits; however later in the week one movie, ‘The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood’ directed by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, acquired the required permit and made […]

Nigeria: Actress banned from film industry due to “immoral” performance

The Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) expelled Nigerian actress Rahama Sadau on 2 October 2016 for what it considers “immoral” actions as the actress played a character in a music video where she hugged, cuddled and held hands with the male artist, reported Nigerian media outlet Premium Times on 3 October 2016. In […]

Germany: Prosecutors drop investigation in Turkish president insult case

Due to insufficient evidence, German prosecutors dropped an investigation into German comedian Jan Böhmermann who was accused of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an “obscene” poem he recited on his satirical show on ZDF public television in March 2016, reported BBC on 4 October 2016. In a statement, the prosecutors said their investigation had […]

Kuwait: Emirati street racing film banned without explanation

Government authorities have banned Emirati street racing film ‘Hajwala’ and have given no reason for their decision, according to the film’s producer, reported Gulf News on 28 September 2016. “We are very disappointed, especially because they [authorities] haven’t even explained to us why they have not allowed the film to release,” Dhabi Gulf Film producer […]

India/Pakistan: Films, actors, tv shows banned amidst Kashmir tensions

In a retaliatory exchange, Pakistan banned Indian films, tv shows and channels after India banned Pakistani actors and technicians from working on Indian films, as a response to deadly attacks over Kashmir that began on 19 September 2016. On 30 September 2016, the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) decided at an annual general meeting […]

Morocco: News site publishes blacklist of artists with alleged ties to Israel

On 9 September 2016, Moroccan news site Noon Presse published its own blacklist of seven Moroccan performers and artists who have “normalised” relations with Israel, which means, according to the site, that the artists have chosen “to go against the flow” by “unashamedly visiting Israel or communicating with Israelis”. The blacklist includes three musicians, two […]

Tunisia: Culture Ministry bans Iranian film on Prophet Muhammad

The Tunisian Ministry of Culture banned Iranian film ‘Muhammad: The Messenger of God’, which focuses on the Prophet Muhammad’s childhood and adolescence, due to its “controversial content” and “personification and depiction of prophets”, which officials deem problematic for Tunisian society, reported news network Ansamed on 14 September 2016. “The personification and depiction of prophets causes […]

Brunei: Ministry bans Malaysian film for being “bad influence”

In a 23 August 2016 letter, Brunei’s Ministry of Internal Affairs banned neighbouring Malaysian film ‘Pekak” (Deaf) stating it has no educational content and is a bad influence as it contains scenes of using and selling drugs, promiscuity, violence and women smoking cigarettes, reported news site My Metro on 2 September 2016. “We are aware the […]

Pakistan: Court reverses film ban

On 6 September 2016 the Sindh High Court ruled the Pakistan federal government’s ban on movie ‘Maalik’ illegal and cleared it for screening in the country, reported newspaper Dawn 6 September 2016. The film’s director Asher Azeem celebrated on Twitter, saying: “We waited patiently [and] we did not release the film illegally. We suffered, but […]

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 […]

India: Artists struggle with censors over LGBT and other themes

In recent months filmmakers and playwrights have been challenging Indian certification boards after works focusing on LGBT, political and religious themes have come under fire by censors, especially at a time when nationalist ideas and groups are gaining traction in the public and political spheres. LGBT themes in film India’s Central Board of Film Certification […]

Malaysia: Censors alter ending of Indian gangster flick, cut scenes

Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board (LPF) changed the ending of blockbuster Tamil film ‘Kabali’ to insert a captioned moral message that crime doesn’t pay for Malay audiences rather than the original ending audiences in the rest of the world will see in which the fate of the lead character is left unknown, reported Malay Mail Online […]

China: Actor fired from film for “vague” Taiwan stance

Taiwanese actor Leon Dai, who played the lead character in Chinese romance ‘No Other Love’, was fired from the film for his alleged support of Taiwanese independence, reported Variety on 15 July 2016. In a statement, the film’s director Zhao Wei and investors apologised “for hiring the wrong person” and stated they were not “satisfied” […]

Pakistan: Government bans film at home and abroad

Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce has banned the export of political thriller ‘Maalik’ at the request of the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, which had already banned the film in May 2016 from being shown in Pakistan, meaning the film will also not be allowed to be shown abroad, reported Pakistan Today on 11 […]

China: State agency reportedly bans South Korean stars over diplomatic feud

Officials from China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television have allegedly passed down “verbal orders” to TV stations that approvals for South Korean programmes or those featuring South Korean stars would not be granted for the time being, reported South China Morning Post on 2 August 2016. Further, according to the new […]

USA: Airline shows film with cut lesbian kissing scenes

US-based Delta Airlines has been drawing controversy for showing an edited version of Academy Award-nominated film ‘Carol’ on flights that cuts out kissing scenes between the film’s two female leads, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, reported The Independent on 8 August 2016. Airline spokesperson Liz Savadelis told LGBT magazine AfterEllen on 4 August 2016 that the […]

India: Film censorship continues unabated

Even after losing the high profile, month-long battle with the film producers of ‘Udta Punjab’ wherein India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) called for nearly 100 cuts/edits, the board continues to censor films throughout the country at a fast clip. Though the CBFC has been embroiled in controversy over its decisions and methods, other government […]

Thailand: Four flicks banned from film festival

Thailand Film Destination Festival state organisers pulled four films from their festival, but have not made their reasons officially clear, though observers have noted that the dropped films had raunchy or violent scenes that showed the country in a bad light, reported The Straits Times on 10 July 2016. One of the banned films was […]

Pakistan: Controversial Indian film suffers 100 cuts before release

Indian film ‘Udta Punjab’, which already has faced a tough censorship battle in India, was released in parts of Pakistan on 24 June 2016, but only after 100 cuts were made to the film removing “objectionable and anti-Pakistan” content, reported The Indian Express on 21 and 27 June 2016. “We have cut all derogatory and […]

China: Tibetan film director detained, hospitalised

Chinese police at the airport in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, detained Tibetan director Pema Tseden on 25 June 2016 for five days for “disturbing public order” and was hospitalised during that time on 27 June 2016 after he “displayed health problems”, reported The New York Times on 29 June 2016. Staff members and […]

India: Film survives censor board controversy after court ruling

Controversial film ‘Udta Punjab’ (‘Flying Punjab’), which depicts drug use in the northern Indian state of Punjab, will be released on 17 June 2016 with only one cut, ruled the Bombay High Court, after it had been embroiled in a fight over censorship in which the national censorship board called for up to 94 cuts […]

Iran: Film screening banned due to religious pressure

Iran’s Ministry of Culture withdrew the screening permit for director Mani Haghighi’s film ’50 Kilos of Tart Cherries’ in the city of Tabas in central Iran after a local imam during Friday prayers said the film is “destroying revolutionary values”, reported Radio Zamaneh on 30 May 2016. Imam Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Mohajerian criticised the ministry for […]

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. By Ankush Arora    INSIGHT  When Indian film-maker Pankaj Butalia applied for […]

Germany: Court bans two-thirds of satirical poem mocking Turkish president

A Hamburg court on 17 May 2016 banned the re-publication of 18 lines of a 24-line satirical poem written by German comedian Jan Böhmermann criticising Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as they were deemed to be “abusive and libellous”, reported The Telegraph on 17 May 2016. The court said it had to strike a balance […]

INSIGHT 2015 publication: Targeting the arts

» Read on issuu.com Targeting the arts INSIGHT articles about controversies and conflicts over art in 2015 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. In 2015 we introduced INSIGHT – a series of articles providing readers with […]

Oman: Writer and filmmaker released from detention

Renowned Omani writer, filmmaker and intellectual Abdullah Habib has been released from detention on 4 May 2016, reported Pen International. Habib, 52, was summoned to the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in Muscat on 15 April 2016, where he remained in solitary confinement for 20 days without charges against him. It is […]

Pakistan: Action movie banned by Ministry of Information

The action movie ‘Maalik’ has been banned in Pakistan after already having been playing in cinemas for weeks. In social media, the ban has led to a classic ‘freedom of expression’ versus ‘state control’ debate, reported The Express Tribune on 28 April 2016. The chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Mobashir Hasan, […]

Oman: Writer and filmmaker arrested and detained

Author, poet and film-maker Abdullah Habib has been arrested in Oman. It is being assumed that he was arrested due to one of his post on Facebook, but no one really knows for sure. On the evening of 15 April 2016, the Omani Internal Security Service (ISS) summoned Habib to appear for investigation before the […]

Uzbekistan: The naked truth about state censorship

The Uzbekistan government tightens its control over the arts, prohibiting anything that is believed to threaten national values – including 700 films which have been banned, and musicians who have their performing licenses withdrawn. Censorship was a key instrument for controlling the masses during Soviet times. These days Uzbekistan’s ageing President Islam Karimov — who served as […]

India: Censor board bans own member’s movie

The examining committee of India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) denied certification to controversial film ‘Mohalla Assi’ directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, himself a member of the CBFC, after it “evoked extreme reactions” from some members, reported Mumbai Mirror on 8 April 2016. The film, based on a well-known novel, features profanity and blasphemy […]

Nigeria: Filmmakers in court over “unauthorised” movie release

Three filmmakers were summoned to the Kano State Censorship Board’s mobile court on 6 April 2016 in north-western Nigeria for the “unauthorised” release of their latest film ‘Ana Wata Ga Wata’, which was earlier banned by the board, reported newspaper Daily Trust on 6 April 2016. The three filmmakers include the film’s director Ali Gumzak, […]

Germany: Comedian faces potential prosecution for criticising Turkish president

German comedian Jan Böhmermann’s satirical and controversial poem criticising Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not only pushed the boundaries of humour, but has also propelled political debate between the two nations and called into question the values of freedom of expression. The poem, which Böhmermann read on his public broadcaster ZDF television programme ‘Neo […]

Turkey: Actress’ contract cancelled over interview comments

Actress Füsun Demirel was removed from the cast of tv-series ‘The Family Business’ after saying in an interview with newspaper Cumhuriyet on 13 March 2016 that she would like to play a role related to the guerrilla girls, reported newspaper Radikal on 16 March 2016. Demirel’s comments were made when the newspaper asked her what […]

Ukraine: All Russian films released since 2014 banned

The Ukrainian parliament has voted to ban all Russian films made since 1 January 2014 as a means to limit “propaganda used by an occupant-state” and defend “national security in the information sphere”, reported Russia Today on 30 March 2016. Ukraine already had a Law on Cinematography in place adopted in 2015 that banned Russian […]

Pakistan: Punjabi film banned

Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has banned Indian Punjabi film ‘Ambarsariya’ for “strong references” to the country’s research and analysis wing of its intelligence agency, reported The Express Tribune on 1 April 2016. The film’s distributors appeal to have the full board review the film again was granted, but the same decision was […]

Sierra Leone: Two filmmakers detained and fined; film banned

Police detained filmmakers Sheku Ngaojia and Alpha Sibbie on 8 March 2016 on charges that their latest film ‘Tribal War: Mende vs Temne’ provoked fear and incited ethnic conflict, according to Arterial Network. The filmmakers pleaded guilty to the charges on 18 March 2016 and opted to pay a 1,000,000 leone fine (approx. USD $200) […]

Pakistan: Two Bollywood films banned

In the continued practice of Pakistan banning the release of Indian-made films, ‘Ishq Forever’ and ‘Neerja’ are the two latest films that will not be given screen time in the country, according to multiple sources. Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) determined romantic drama ‘Ishq Forever’ to be “objectionable”, reported The Express Tribune on […]

China: New guidelines ban multiple topics from tv

Chinese censors issued an eight-page document on 31 December 2015 on the production of tv content, forbidding a wide range of topics, including same-sex relationships, CNN reported on 3 March 2016. Though the document was released at the end of 2015, Chinese media only began reporting on the new guidelines at the end of February […]

Egypt: Screening of Israeli award-winning film cancelled

The Egyptian Culture Ministry cancelled a screening of Eran Kolirin’s film ‘The Band’s Visit’ that was to take place at the Palace of Culture in Beni Suef, 115 kilometres south of Cairo, Misr Journal reported on 23 January 2016. The film was set to be screened on 24 January 2016, but the regional cultural president […]

Indonesia: “Effeminate” men banned from tv

According to a letter issued by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission on 23 February 2016, male actors have been forbidden from behaving and dressing up as women on local tv, Indonesian news portal Jakarta Globe reported on 24 February 2016. The commission stated that the letter was circulated as a reminder of the 2012 Broadcasting Programme […]

Italy: Gay film banned from screening in church-owned cinemas

The Catholic Church has banned Andrew Haigh’s 2011 film ‘Weekend’ from being screened in its cinemas, shutting it out from over 1,100 theatres and limiting Italian audiences who wish to see the film to only be able to do is in 10 independent theatres, Gay Star News reported on 11 March 2016. The Italian Conference […]

China: Hollywood film banned from release

The world’s second-largest theatrical market has denied release of Ryan Reynold’s superhero blockbuster ‘Deadpool’ due to its violence, nudity and graphic language, reported The Hollywood Reporter on 17 January 2016. Hollywood Reporter sources told the news site that China’s censorship authorities, who often work with Hollywood studios to produce “cleaned-up” versions of movies, said it […]

India: Two superhero blockbusters suffer cuts

Latest Ryan Reynolds vehicle ‘Deadpool’ and upcoming Ben Affleck picture ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ face cuts by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for nudity, violence and profanity, reported DNA India and Hindustan Times in February and March 2016.      ‘Deadpool’ suffered seven cuts that got rid of most of the […]

India: Non-state groups ban Bollywood film featuring homosexual relationship

The Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC) and Aligarh city mayor Shakuntala Bharti have banned Bollywood film ‘Aligarh’ because of its homosexuality, which they believe will besmirch the reputation of the north Indian city, reported The Indian Express on 28 February 2016. The MBMC further issued a letter to India’s information and broadcasting minister to have […]

Jordan: How film and tv are banned

This article on the censorship practices in Jordan on film and television by the state-funded Media Commission was originally published by 7iber on 17 February 2016, who have kindly allowed Freemuse to republish it here: Banned: Film and television censorship in Jordan By Reem Al-Masri, design by Hussam D’ana Translated by Rawad Wehbe and Orion Wilcox In the country […]

Iran: Filmmaker loses appeal, receives reduced prison sentence and lashes

An Iranian appeals court sentenced filmmaker Keywan Karimi to one year in prison, 223 lashes and a fine for “shaking hands with women and drinking alcoholic drinks”, Reuters reported on 22 February 2016. In an interview with The Times of India published on 23 February 2016, Karimi said he would serve out the sentence and […]

Iran: Actress attacked at film screening

Fatemeh Motamed-Aria, one of Iran’s most famous actresses, was attacked by religious hardliners at a screening of her movie ‘Yahya Did Not Stay Silent’ on 29 January 2016, according to The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The actress joined the director and cast of the movie in Kashan, a city in the Isfahan […]

Five more countries ban ‘The Danish Girl’

As of 1 February 2016, five more countries have followed suit with Qatar and banned screenings of Tom Hooper’s transgender film ‘The Danish Girl’. Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and United Arab Emirates failed to pass local censor requirements over “moral depravity” and that it “promoted homosexuality and gender transformation”. Sources » Gay Star News – 1 February […]

India: Frustrations in film industry over censorship

“With every single film we have the most insane battles… It is insane. It is restrictive. It is regressive. And very frankly, it is getting worse,” said 33-year-old Bollywood actor Imran Khan about the Indian film censorship board. “Censorship has reached a very scary place in India,” Khan told Indian students at Harvard University in […]

France: Lobby group gets Danish movie banned

In surely one of the most delayed instances of outrage in cinema history, a French administrative appeals court has temporarily banned Lars von Trier’s 2009 horror film ‘Antichrist’ over its sexual and violent content after pressure from the Catholic group Promouvoir, reported The Guardian, RFI, AFP and other news media. The decision was made on […]

Iran: 165 Iranian artists and activists protest charges against two musicians and a filmmaker

165 Iranian musicians, filmmakers, writers and activists have signed and released a statement objecting to the 2013 imprisonment and 2015 sentencing of Mehdi Rajabian, a musician and founder of BargMusic, an alternative music distributor in Iran, along with his filmmaker brother Hossein Rajabian and musician Yousef Emadi. All three have been sentenced to six years […]

Indonesia: Censorship board considers banning Netflix

The Indonesia Film Censorship Board (LSF) held an emergency meeting regarding Netflix’s recent global expansion and may ban the service from the country. “Last Saturday we watched the movies [available on Netflix]… there are some movies that we have forbid from being screened in the cinemas,” Ahmad Yani Basuki, the chairman of the LSF, said […]

Thailand: Ban on LGBT-themed film stands

Thailand’s Administrative Court ruled on 25 December 2015 that the five-year ban on the 2010 LGBT film ‘Insects in the Backyard’ will remain in effect, reported Film Journal International. The primary evidence cited is that the movie has a brief scene of graphic sexual intercourse, violating section 287 of the criminal code that states content […]

Qatar: Ministry of Culture bans transgender film ‘The Danish Girl’

Authorities in Qatar have banned theatres from screening ‘The Danish Girl’ on the afternoon of 11 January 2016 following protests and reactions online about the film’s content, reported Doha News. “We would like to inform you that we have contacted the concerned administration and the screening of the Danish film is now banned from cinemas. […]

Egypt: Film producer sentenced to jail and fined for “indecency”

On 11 January 2016 the Dokki Misdemeanors court in Giza ruled against film producer Rana Al Subki for promoting and releasing “racy” images in one of her recent films, sentencing her to one year in prison and fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about USD 1,275), reported Al Rai Press. Attorney Samir Sabri filed a claim against […]

India: Censor board’s ‘truly epic cuts’ to American movie

After months of delay, Quentin Tarantino’s movie ‘The Hateful Eight’ is out in India, “but like the bloody and violent nature of the movie, it has been slashed and chopped by our Censor Board,” wrote Hindustan Times. A list of all the 10 cuts made to the film has found its way online. Here it […]

Egypt: Screenwriter threatened by Muslim Brotherhood

Some Muslim Brotherhood members launched a media attack against serialised TV show ‘The Kingdom of Yusuf Al Maghrabi’ and its screenwriter Youssef Hamdi, including resorting to blackmail, for portraying some of the group’s members in a poor light, reported online news platform Newsbookra. The threats came after members of the group discovered that in an […]

Call on Iranian authorities to drop charges on two musicians and a filmmaker

Human rights organisations Freemuse and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, along with 14 other organisations, protest the 2013 imprisonment and 2015 sentencing of musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, and call on the head of the judiciary and other Iranian authorities to drop the charges against them. Mehdi […]

Bangladesh: Censorship board blocks minority language film

The first Chakma language film in Bangladesh has been censored by the Bangladesh Film Censor Board By Pantha Rahman Reza   ‘Mor Thengari’ (‘My Bicycle’) is the first feature film made entirely in Chakma, an indigenous language spoken by the Chakma ethnic minority in Bangladesh. Directed by Aung Rakhine, the film centers around indigenous people, […]

Egypt: Censorship Authority stirs controversy over attempted film bans

The Egyptian Censorship Authority has reversed its decision to completely reject the production of a comedy film by actor and screenwriter Tamer Abdel Moneim, El Watan News reported on 4 November 2015. The comedy, which is meant to be a sequel to Abdel Moneim’s 2003 film ‘Al-Meshakhasaty’ (The Master of Disguise), is now a go […]

India: Pakistani actors banned in Maharashtra state

The Hindu right-wing party Shiv Sena has now vowed to not allow two Pakistani actors to promote their films in Maharashtra state. This comes just a month after the same group cancelled two concerts by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali. Fawad Khan, who has several Bollywood films set for production, and Mahira Khan, who is making […]

India: Board censors James Bond kissing scenes

The Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has ordered that all kissing scenes in the new James Bond film, ‘Spectre,’ need to be shortened by 50 per cent for its national screenings. Censors have ordered cuts to four kissing scenes between Daniel Craig and the two female leads, Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci.  ‘Spectre’ […]

United Kingdom: Film on Mali music ban leads to new fund

Freedom of expression campaigners Index on Censorship and the producers of the documentary film ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile’ have launched a Music In Exile Fund along with a song playlist and a series of articles about music and censorship. The aim of the Music In Exile Fund is […]

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 […]

Thailand: Banned movie re-cut and on screens

Previously banned, Thai-made horror film ‘Arbat’ is finally on screens as of 16 October 2015 after some of its controversial scenes were cut and the title was changed to ‘Apatti’ to appease a government screening committee decision.   In September 2015, the Ministry of Culture’s Film and Media Screening Committee deemed the movie portrayed monks […]

Malaysia: Tough censorship restrictions issued

On 15 June 2015, the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) tightened its censorship rules for television and now bans any scenes or dialogue that “mock, belittle, criticise the government and the country’s national sensitivities,” as well as any that “tarnish the government’s image.” LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Malaysian Insider that […]

China: New film law to address censorship

A draft of China’s first film law aims to ease and clarify the country’s censorship process, though regulations will continue to exist. The law was debated on 30 October 2015 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, ABC News reported. The country’s film market is heavily regulated and nebulous, leaving filmmakers routinely unclear […]

Iran: Filmmaker sentenced to six-year prison term and 223 lashes

On 13 October 2015, after nearly two years of hearings, the 30-year-old Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes. He was arrested on 14 December 2013 on charges of “insulting the sacred,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “illicit relations.” According to Karimi’s lawyer, Amir Raeesian, most of the charges […]

Sweden: Israeli ambassador demands film banned in schools

The Swedes are currently debating whether the film ‘The dead still have a name’ is anti-Semitic or not, and whether it should be banned, as the Israeli ambassador to Sweden has demanded. ‘The dead still have a name’ is a new film focusing on the ship drama in 2011 when Israeli troops in “international sea” […]

Turkey: Tensions between film festivals and government take toll

The film festival circuit in Turkey has been among the most visible casualties as the increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development Party (AK-Party) fights to stay in power, reported the film magazine Variety. Simmering tensions between artists and the government came to a head at the Antalya film festival in October 2014, as officials sought to […]

Egypt: Censorship board rejects film script for ‘inciting incest’

The script of a movie based on the novel a “House of Flesh” has been rejected by the art censorship authority on grounds that it “incites incest,” although a number of short films with the same plot have previously represented Egypt in several festivals. This was reported by the Cairo Post on 13 October 2015. […]

Pakistan: Increased censorship of Pakistani films

‘Abdullah’ is the latest film flagged by Pakistan’s censor board, which has become more active of late, reported Sheharyar Rizwan for Dawn.com. Until recently, film censorship in Pakistan was mostly limited to Bollywood and Hollywood productions, one reason being there weren’t that many films being produced within Pakistan. But now, with a sudden uptick in […]

Thailand: Movie banned on religious grounds

The Thai government has banned the release of ‘Arbat’ – a locally-made horror movie that was set to be released in October 2015. The Ministry of Culture said that its Film and Media Screening Committee banned the film because it was disrespectful to monks and novices. The film, directed by Kanittha Kwunyoo, tells the story of […]

Lebanon: Documentary film with Sahrawi artists banned

The film ‘Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’ has been banned in Lebanon. All screenings at Beirut Film Fest have been cancelled. ‘Life Is Waiting’ is a new film by director Iara Lee, who asked Sahrawi activists and artists to give answers to questions such as: ‘What will it take for the […]

Pakistan: Court dismisses petition to ban Indian films

A Pakistani court today dismissed a petition seeking a permanent ban on release of Indian films in the country, days after the same court banned the screening of the Bollywood movie ‘Phantom’ on a petition by Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Read more: » Artsfreedom – 25 August 2015: Pakistan: Various Bollywood films […]

India: Religious group issues fatwa against composer and director

A Muslim group in India has issued a fatwa against the Indian musician and composer A.R. Rahman and the Iranian film director Majid Majidi. A Sunni-Muslim group in Mumbai called the Raza Academy has issued the fatwa in protest against Majidi’s film ‘Muhammad: Messenger of God’ – Iran’s most expensive ever movie with a $40 […]

Russia: Film director sentenced 20 years in prison

A Russian court has sentenced the acclaimed Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov to 20 years in a maximum-security prison on multiple terrorism charges. The 39-year-old director denied all charges against him, saying they were politically motivated, and told the court on 19 August 2015 that a “trial by occupiers cannot be fair by definition”. Heather […]

Turkey: Festival director steps down after censorship scandal

Azize Tan has stepped down after nine years following protests over censorship at the latest edition in April, which led to the cancellation of the festival’s competitions and closing ceremony. » Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.screendaily.com » Artsfreedom.org – 16 April 2015: Turkey: Film festival censorship controversy and cancellations

Pakistan: Various Bollywood films banned

A number of Hindi films have been prohibited from releasing in Pakistan for diverse reasons over the past few years, according to an article in Hindustan Times. • Most recently, the Lahore High Court on 20 August 2015 temporarily banned the screening of the upcoming Indian film ‘Phantom’ in Pakistan – and directed the federal […]

Iran: 14 films banned since 2007

Films continue to be banned in Iran. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has compiled a list of 14 films banned since 2007 in Iran. Other films may also have faced censorship issues but their makers have chosen to remain quiet, hoping to eventually get a screening permit. “Rouhani’s remarks during his election […]

India: Actor calls for consitutional freedom of expression rights in cinemas

“I feel there should be constitutional right of freedom of expression. Either you give cinema artistes complete freedom of expressing themselves or you don’t have them in the society because in cinema, people can’t be open for attack all the time,” Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee told IANS. According to the acclaimed actor Manoj Bajpayee, the […]

Philippines: Film festival invites Asian filmmakers facing censorship

The Philippines’ leading independent film festival is adding a section showcasing Asian films, offering a venue for filmmakers facing censorship in other parts of Asia, reported New York Times. » Festival site: www.cinemalaya.org » Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.nytimes.com

South Africa: Freedom of expression workshops and awards

Freedom of expression workshops and awards at the Durban International Film Festival 2015, ‘Screen Africa’. Freedom of expression and related issues were a core feature of Arterial Network’s three-fold presence at the 36th edition of the Durban International Film Festival, as part of its Artwatch Africa artist rights programme. A closed three-day workshop aimed at […]

Iran/Lebanon/Ukraine: Artists affected by conflicts

When conflicts unfold between and within countries, artists’ rights to artistic freedom of expression are often violated. Recently, artists have been affected by the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and between Israel and Lebanon as well as Iran. Singer banned in Iran after performance in Israel The Iranian-born British Muslim singer Sami Yusuf, whose […]

India: Film makers threatened to remove song from film

The makers of the film ‘Guddu Rangeela’ have reportedly been threatened by religious groups that if they don’t remove the song ‘Mata Ka Email’ from their film, they risk facing “dire consequences”, including disruptions at the theatres. In Ludhiana, there has been demonstrations demanding a ban to be put on the film, and posters of the film […]

Morocco: Director and actress summoned to court

French-Moroccan director of the new film ‘Much Loved’ (‘Zine Li Fik’), Nabil Ayouch, and Moroccan leading actress Loubna Abidar have been summoned to court in their native country for a hearing on 15 July 2015, Moroccan World News reported. Loubna Abidar plays a prostitute in the film, which follows the daily lives of four street workers in Marrakech. […]

Iran: Call for the release of imprisoned writer and film producer

Writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi was arrested on 1 February 2015 and convicted of national security-related offences by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran and sentenced to eight years in prison. PEN International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release. 52-year-old Iranian writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi is feared to […]

Turkey: Artists under pressure – a year of trials and penalties

Yesterday, Turkey’s voters headed towards the ballot boxes to place their votes in the 7 June general elections. As the election day approached, threats to the media, both veiled and overt, were in the air. This was not entirely unexpected, given that Turkey’s poor record of protection of the right to freedom of expression is well-known. […]

Malaysia: Film banned for glorifying communism

An edited version of a controversial 2013 film ‘The New Village’ will remain banned in Malaysia as it “still appears to glorify communism”, the Malaysian Home Ministry said. Set against the backdrop of 1950s British rule in Malaya, The New Village depicts a love story between a village girl and a young communist guerrilla.It also […]

Cambodia: After two years with censors, controversial film to be released

Cambodian filmmaker Chhay Bora’s controversial drama 3.50 is finally set to be released two years after being submitted to the government’s film censors for review. Produced by Bora and written by Justin Deimen, 3.50 is the fictional story of a US documentary filmmaker who submerges herself into the Phnom Penh human trafficking industry to save a young […]

United Kingdom: Horror film featuring neo-Nazis terrorising Jewish family banned

A British film censorship board has banned a U.S. horror movie that contains scenes of neo-Nazis terrorising a Jewish family. The movie, ‘Hate Crime’, depicts anti-Semitic thugs breaking into the family’s home and mutilating and sexually abusing family members, according to the Chronicle. The British Board of Film Classification ruled that a substantial part of […]

Turkey: Film festival censorship controversy and cancellations

Solidarity and debate about censorship in cinema have arisen within the Turkish film industry, instigated by the culture ministry’s ban of the film ‘Bakur’ / ‘Kuzey’ (The North) at Istanbul International Film Festival. The makers of 23 domestic Turkish films withdrew their movies from this year’s 34th İstanbul International Film Festival on 12 April 2015 […]

Iran: Film about illegal dance company

“A world behind closed doors”, the film ‘Desert Dancer’ tells the true story of Afhsin Ghaffarian (Reece Ritchie), an Iranian dancer who started his own underground dance company with his friends even though dancing was illegal at the time. “Dancing is forbidden. So if you are going to do it, go somewhere safe,” a mother […]

 

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