Vietnam: Musician released early after serving full six-year prison sentence

Authorities in Vietnam have released musician Hoang Nhat Thong (real name: Tran Vu Anh Binh) from prison on 21 May 2017, four months before serving out his full six-year prison sentence, reported Radio Free Asia on 22 May 2017. “I feel elated, but now I am like a fish that has been on the shore […]

Freemuse addresses women’s issues at UNESCO

Women artists are at particular risk in many countries and are discriminated from performing in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. This was highlighted during an international seminar at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Women’s International Day, 8 March 2017. Freemuse Executive Director, Ole Reitov shared a panel with Deeyah Khan, filmmaker, producer and […]

Freemuse delivers recommendations at UN Human Rights Council session

Support artists victimized by terror and develop early cultural warning system Freemuse on Monday 6 March 2017 delivered an oral statement at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council on the negative effects of terror on art and cultural industries. Two of the main messages to the Human rights council were that: The international […]

China: Imprisoned Tibetan singer released after completing sentence

Tibetan singer Achok Phulshung was released from prison on 2 February 2017 after completing his four-and-a-half year prison sentence for singing songs praising the Dalai Lama and about Tibetans killed in 2008 during peaceful protests, reported The Tibet Post International on 3 February 2017. “We welcome the release of Achok Phushung, but note with great […]

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. […]

China: Two Tibetan singers released after serving out four-year prison terms

On 3 October 2016, Tibetan singers Chakdor and Pema Trinley were released from prison after serving out their four-year sentences in a prison in China’s southwestern Sichuan province and have returned to their hometown, reported Radio Free Asia on 6 October 2016. An anonymous source told the news outlet that they were welcomed by their […]

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 […]

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: Court acquits musician of blasphemy charges after four-year ordeal

An Istanbul court acquitted pianist Fazıl Say on 7 September 2016 of blasphemy charges after a four-year legal battle stemming from a 2012 post he re-tweeted consisting of lines written by 11th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam, reported Hurriyet Daily News on 7 September 2016. The pianist went to trial in October 2012 after three […]

Egypt: Satirist troupe released after long detention, restrictions remain

A Cairo court ordered the release of four members of the satirist troupe ‘Street Children’ after it granted their appeal over a tenth renewal of their pre-trial detention that would have extended their already four-month-long imprisonment by 15 more days, though the investigation on various charges related to their online videos will continue, reported Aswat […]

Thailand: Two imprisoned actors released early

Two actors, Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkong, serving a two-and-a-half year prison sentence under the controversial ‘lèse majesté’ law – defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family – have been released early in a royal pardon, reported PEN International on 5 September 2016. Saraiyaem was released 55 days early on 12 August 2016 and Munkong was […]

Malaysia: Artist released on bail; investigation pending

Malaysian artist Namewee was released on bail in Penang on 25 August 2016 after four days in detention over charges that a recent video he starred in, directed and produced allegedly insulted Islam, reported Reuters on 25 August 2016. Penang district police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said they have referred the case to the Penang […]

Nigeria: Performance artists cleared of charges

The Ejigbo Magistrate Court cleared performance artist Jelili Atiku and five other artists on 18 July 2016 of all the criminal charges against them stemming from a public performance piece staged in Lagos in January 2016, reported civil society organisation Arterial Network on 22 July 2016. “We are very pleased to learn that the charges […]

Belarus: Lavon Volski is a free man in an unfree country

Since the beginning of the 1980s, the Belarusian rock musician Lavon Volski has been one of the most influential cultural personalities in his country fighting for freedom of artistic expression. In May 2016, he is being honoured with the Freemuse Award 2016. By Ingo Petz For more than 30 years now, Lavon Volski has been creating rock and […]

Freemuse Award Winner 2016 is Lavon Volski

Lavon Volski, an icon of Belarusian rock music, is the winner of the 2016 Freemuse Award. His songs are anthems of those who dream of a democratic and free Belarus. Thus Volski since many years has been on the regime’s infamous “black list” of artists never played on national radio and banned from performing. The […]

Egypt: Novelist acquitted

The Egyptian novelist Ahmed Nagy was acquitted by the Cairo Bulaq Criminal Court of charges of publishing and writing an article with “obscene sexual content” on 2 January 2016. The novelist was referred to court in November 2015 after publishing a chapter of his novel ‘The Use of Life’ in Akhbar Al-Adab, a literary journal affiliated […]

Morocco: Prosecuted rapper cleared of all charges

The Moroccan rapper Al Muntaqim was arrested in August 2015 accused of inciting violence and drug abuse through his song ‘Korsika’. On 9 December 2015 the court cleared him of all charges. In August 2015, the Public Prosecution at the Court of First Instance in Khenifra city in Morocco instructed the judicial police to immediately […]

China: Tibetan musician released from prison

Chinese authorities had sentenced Pema Rigzin to two and a half years in prison, but released him after 11 months. After his release, a crowd welcomed him home. Freemuse welcomes the release of Pema Rigzin (also spelled: Rigdzin). “Many Tibetan singers produce songs about issues of concern to a majority of the population,” said Ole […]

Turkey: Legal breakthrough in favour of prosecuted singer Ferhat Tunç

The European Court of Human Rights has convicted Turkey of violating freedom of speech in the case of singer Ferhat Tunç. A Turkish court had sentenced Ferhat Tunç to three months in prison and ordered him to pay a fine for having made dissident comments during a concert. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) […]

Norway: ‘Safe city’ Harstad receives Sudanese musician Abazar Hamid

Abazar Hamid, the Sudanese peace singer who was forced into exile in 2008, is today announced as “safe city musician” in the Norwegian city Harstad. It has been a long waiting for Hamid and Harstad. Almost two years ago the Norwegian city declared itself “the world’s first safe city for musicians”, but Norwegian immigration policy […]

Freemuse Award Winner 2014: City of Harstad in Norway

The Freemuse Award 2014 is given to The City of Harstad, Norway, which last year declared itself as the world’s first ‘Safe city for musicians’. Harstad is a city of 23,000 citizens, situated 300 kilometres north of the polar circle. Marianne Bremnes, Mayor of Harstad, says: “The city of Harstad is grateful and thankful for […]

Swedish city offers Egyptian musician safe city residence

The 27-year-old Egyptian singer and Freemuse Award winner Ramy Essam will be residing in Malmö, Sweden, for the next two years. This is a direct consequence of the interogation in June 2014 by the National Security Police and the continuous censorship of his music in Egypt. Ramy Essam was hailed as the “singer of the […]

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 […]

Freemuse Award presented to Festival au Désert

Manny Ansar, festival director and co-founder of Mali’s world famous ‘Festival au Désert’, received the Freemuse Award on 3 June 2013 at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The award ceremony took place in connection with a UN session on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity featuring artists and human rights […]

Freemuse Award to be presented in UN building in Geneva

Manny Ansar, festival director and co-founder of Mali’s world famous ‘Festival au Désert’, will receive the Freemuse Award on Monday 3 June 2013 at the Geneva United Nations headquarters in Switzerland. The award ceremony will take place in connection with a UN session on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity featuring artists […]

Sweden: Nordic meeting on shelter cities for persecuted artists

On 18 April 2013, a meeting hosted by the Kulturhuset in Stockholm aims at developing long-term partnerships between the Nordic Arts Councils and the Nordic Institutes in Greenland, Faroe Islands and Åland, in order to collectively address issues related to freedom of expression and supporting artists living in exile in the region.  Several organisations within […]

Freemuse Award to Festival au Désert in Mali

“The Freemuse Award 2013 is given to ‘Festival au Désert’, which in spite of extreme Islamists’ attempts to silence all music in Mali, defends freedom of musical expression and struggles to continue keeping music alive in the region”, says Marie Korpe, Executive Director, Freemuse. From Bamako, Founder and Festival Director Manny Ansar says: “It is […]

First global network in support of artistic freedom of expression

On 27 October 2012, 14 international arts and human rights organisations and networks – representing more than 1,200 national organisations globally – met in Oslo and launched a new network, Artsfex, which is the first international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression as well as with issues […]

 

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