Libya: Authorities confiscate truckload of books

Authorities in the eastern town of Marj seized a truckload of “un-Islamic” books imported from Egypt on their way to Benghazi, reported The Express Tribune on 23 January 2017. Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Authority security officials and religious leaders called the books part of a “cultural invasion”, saying that the books promoted eroticism, secularism, Christianity, […]

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 […]

Peru: Exhibition cut short due to controversial LGBT artworks

The fifth edition of contemporary art exhibition ‘Outside’ was cut short by venue organisers French Alliance of Arequipa due to three works by Peruvian artist Jesús Álvarez that made reference to the city of Arequipa’s plurality and diversity by pointing to its “queer nature”, reported Sin Fronteras on 27 December 2016. According to exhibition curator […]

USA: Censorship continues in public spaces and schools

Throughout 2016 and into the beginning of 2017, the US has seen multiple cases of censorship and attempted censorship of art in public spaces and schools. Murals on public walls or in university halls, books in school curricula and productions of plays and musicals have all been targeted by a variety of groups because of […]

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 […]

India: Art exhibition vandalised, artist attacked

On 8 December 2016, right-wing activists from two different groups stormed the fourth annual Jaipur Art Summit, damaged paintings, attacked and injured a painter, and stole a painting in protest of it featuring semi-nude women, reported India Today on 8 December 2016. “It happened so fast. Painting is your heart, it is your baby. It […]

Egypt: Writer’s prison sentence suspended pending final verdict

Egypt’s highest court suspended the two-year prison sentence against writer Ahmed Naji who was imprisoned for “violating public decency” by publishing “sexually explicit” writings featured in his novel that also appeared as excerpts in a literary magazine, reported Reuters on 18 December 2016. The court temporarily suspended the writer’s sentence and was set to be […]

Singapore: Two performances cut from festival due to ‘excessive nudity’

Two performances – Ming Poon’s ‘Undressing Room’ and Thea Fitz-James’ ‘Naked Ldies’ – were cut from the 2017 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival after the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) assessed they exceeded the R18 age rating, according to the festival’s statement released on 5 December 2016. Festival organisers added that while the artists were willing […]

Iran: Art gallery owning couple held in detention since July without charge

In late July 2016, Islamic Revolutionary Guards detained art gallery owners Afarin Niasari and her Iranian-American husband Karan Vafadari at the Tehran airport, where they were arrested and taken to Iran’s infamous Evin Prison, reported International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on 2 December 2016. The couple have been held without charge or access […]

Egypt: Writer remains imprisoned after court rejects third appeal

On 26 November 2016, a Cairo misdemeanour court ruled against novelist Ahmed Naji’s third appeal over his two-year prison sentence for “violating public decency” by publishing “sexually explicit” passages in his novel ‘The Use of Life’, which were also published in a literary magazine in 2014, reported Ahram Online. The author was sentenced to 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: Musician sentenced to five years in prison and 74 lashes

On 5 November 2016, Iranian singer Amir Tataloo (real name: Amirhossein Maghsoodloo) was sentenced to five years in prison and 74 lashes after being found guilty of “spreading Western immorality”, reported Al Bawaba on 6 November 2016. The singer’s original sentence was for ten years and 74 lashes, but the time term was reduced in […]

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’ […]

Uruguay: Police asks gallery to remove nude painting of politician couple

Julio de Sosa’s ‘Genesis’ painting portraying former Uruguayan presidential couple José Mujica and Lucía Topolansky as Adam and Eve, was taken off the walls from an exhibition at the Diana Saravia Art Gallery in downtown Montevideo on the command of police, reported El País de Uruguay on 20 October 2016.  According to gallery owner Diana […]

Kazakhstan: Pop group banned in some towns on national tour

The following article on the troubles Kazakhstan’s Korean Pop group, Ninety One, has suffered on its national tour was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 23 October 2016, who have kindly allowed Freemuse to re-publish it here: Flashy Boy Band Roils Some As It Tours Kazakhstan It’s not easy being a boy band in […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tanzania: Two artists arrested for allegedly insulting president in latest song

Tanzanian musician Mwana Cotide (real name: Fulgency Mapunda) and music producer Mussa Sekabwe were arrested for allegedly producing, singing and distributing a song called ‘Dikteta Uchwara’ (Petty Dictator) that contained “seditious and offensive” content against Tanzanian President John Magufuli, reported the Swahili Times on 29 September 2016. The two artists were charged at the Kisutu […]

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 […]

Egypt: Author’s sentence upheld over “sexually explicit” novel

On 27 August 2016 a Cairo misdemeanor court rejected author Ahmed Naji’s request to suspend his two-year sentence on charges that he “violated public decency” by publishing “sexually explicit” passages in his novel ‘The Use of Life’, reported Ahram Online on 27 August 2016. The author was sentenced to prison in February 2016 in a […]

Iran: Concerts in the crosshairs

Religious conservatives in Iran have been tightening control over the nation’s cultural and moral values ever since the 2013 election of liberal President Hassan Rouhani and the 2015 nuclear deal, amidst fears that the country will lose its values to Western influences. Art, especially music and live concerts, has become one such target for religious […]

Iran: Musician arrested on charges of “spreading depravity”

Authorities arrested Iranian singer Amir Tataloo (real name: Amirhossein Maghsoodloo) on 23 August 2016 on charges of “spreading depravity among the youth” brought up in an 8 August 2016 judicial order, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 25 August 2016. “Sadly, this latest imprisonment of Amir Tataloo is not an isolated case. Iranian governmental and […]

Malaysia: Artist detained over allegedly “insulting Islam” in music video

Police detained Malaysian artist Namewee upon his return from being abroad on 21 August 2016 at the Kuala Lampur airport and are investigating him after groups filed reports that his latest music video “insulted Islam”, reported The Star Online on 22 August 2016. “Malaysian authorities must release Namewee and drop all charges against him,” said Freemuse […]

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 […]

Australia: Artist censors own mural

Street artist Lushsux, known for his controversial public art, censored his own mural on the side of a Melbourne business showing a nearly nude Hillary Clinton in a U.S.-flag swimsuit with $100 bills stuffed into it by covering her up in a niqab after the local council deemed it offensive, reported ABC News on 2 […]

Australia: Distributors force art magazine to censor cover

The August 2016 issue of Australian arts magazine featuring a painting of a pregnant, nude woman by well-known, New York-based artist Lisa Yuskavage has been censored at newsstands after distributors forced editors to either package the issue in an opaque sleeve or cover up the nipples of the subject, reported Australia’s ABC on 9 August […]

Tanzania: Rapper banned from music industry indefinitely

The Tanzanian National Arts Council (Basata) banned popular rapper Nay wa Mitego (real name Emmanuel Elibariki) from participating in the music industry indefinitely due to “immoral content” in his latest song ‘Pale Kati Patamu’, reported Tanzanian news outlet The Citizen on 28 July 2016. “We have barred him from performing in Tanzania indefinitely,” Basata executive […]

USA: Anti-Donald Trump song censored

US presidential nominee Donald Trump and the secret service demanded changes be made to two songs by rapper YG on his latest album released in June 2016 for anti-Trump lyrics, reported entertainment news outlet Vulture on 16 June 2016. The two censored songs – ‘FDT’ (an abbreviation for Fuck Donald Trump) and ‘Blacks and Browns’ […]

Denmark/USA: Artists censored in public spaces

Art in public spaces raises several issues around acceptable content/subject matter, including nudity, race, politics or obscenity, who is funding the work, whether it’s government, business or private individuals, and what the processes are behind who decides what goes up or comes down and why. Three recent incidents of art in public spaces in Denmark and […]

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 […]

China: Government arts association expels “vulgar” artist

Chinese artist and calligrapher Sun Ping has been expelled from the China Artists Association (CAA) due a performance piece deemed “vulgar” that features women painting calligraphy using brushes held inside their vaginas, reported The Independent on 16 June 2016. The CAA said in a statement: In recent years, Sun Ping used the name of performance […]

Saint Kitts and Nevis: US rapper arrested, fined for profane lyrics

Local police in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis arrested US rapper 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) on 25 June 2016 for using “indecent language” onstage during one of his songs. The rapper later pleaded guilty to the offence, paid a fine of USD $1,100 and was released, reported Rolling Stone […]

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 […]

Russia: Music video censored for having same-sex kiss

A video by the British electronic band Years and Years for its single ‘Desire’ has been censored in Russia by blurring out a scene wherein the lead singer kisses another man, reported British magazine Digital Spy on 11 June 2016. Russia has been making headlines over its laws on homosexuality, including a law proposed in […]

Senegal: Singer arrested and detained for indecency

Singer Déesse Major was arrested and released after three days of detention on indecency and assault on morality charges brought on by complaints of the artist wearing provocative clothes, reported French global radio RFI on 22 June 2016. Troubles for the singer began in October 2014 when Adama Mboup, president of the Senegalese Committee for […]

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 […]

Singapore: State regulators call for same-sex kiss removal in musical

A brief peck between two male actors in the musical Les Miserables staged at Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre was cut from the production after the state’s Media Development Authority (MDA) said it violated the show’s ratings and received public complaints, reported Channel News Asia on 11 June 2016. Authorities said in a statement that the kiss […]

Tanzania: Artist banned from performing due to “immoral” video

Snura Mushi’s latest popular hit ‘Chura’ has not only led Tanzanian authorities to ban the video and its distribution on 4 May 2016, just days after the video hit the internet, but they have also banned the artist from performing until the video is edited, Tanzanian newspaper Daily News reported on 5 May 2016. The […]

Malaysia: Three books banned for “harming morals”

Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) banned three books at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair, for “harming morals” under section 7 of the 1984 Printing Presses and Publication Act, news outlet Malay Mail Online reported on 6 May 2016. One of the books was published by Amran Fans, a popular Facebook aggregator page, who […]

Nigeria: Broadcast authority blacklists yet another one of rapper’s songs

Nigerian hip hop star Olamide has had a fourth song, ‘Don’t Stop’, placed on the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) blacklist in less than a year, reported The Net on 16 March 2016. In a statement, NBC said it banned the song from the country’s airwaves due to its “obscenity, being indecent, [and having] vulgar languages, […]

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. By Yiğit Günay […]

Lebanon: Authorities ban song on grounds of offending God

The censorship bureau of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife’s song ‘Kyrie Eleison’ because it “contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, ‘have mercy on us and leave us alone’”, reported CNN Arabic on 12 April 2016. The authorities further stated that if Bashar Mar-Khalife wants […]

Jordan: Rock concert banned for “contradicting” religious beliefs

The Jordanian Ministry of Interior has confirmed that it banned Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila from performing their concert set to take place on 29 April 2016 at the Roman Theatre in the country’s capital of Amman, reported CNN Arabic on 27 April 2016. The popular band, whose music has been called the “soundtrack to […]

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 […]

Ireland: Risqué painting removed after parent and staff complaints

A satirical painting by Joe McNicholas entitled ‘An Irish Political Allegory’ was removed from the ‘Spring Notes’ exhibition at the Cork School of Music after complaints over some of its imagery, reported Irish Independent on 9 April 2016. The painting includes images of seven Fianna Fáil (Republican Party) heads of government, known as Taoisigh, in […]

Niger: Cameroonian singer denied entry visa to hold concert

Nigerian authorities denied Cameroonian singer Franko an entry visa to Niger on moral grounds that his current hit, ‘Coller la petite’, “violates the customs of the country”, reported music industry news portal Music in Africa on 15 February 2016. The singer was scheduled to hold a concert in Niamey on 13 February 2016. Franko’s viral […]

Tunisia: Singer banned from working due to suggestive video

The Tunisian Musicians Syndicate has banned singer Hana al Zughlami aka Tunisian Naglaa from working in the country under accusations she promoted vice and immorality in her latest video and single ‘La Ykhebbesh Wala Ydebbish’, reported news site Al Bawaba on 31 March 2016. The syndicate has also stated that legal action would be taken […]

Facebook: Artist banned for nude pencil drawing of Donald Trump

Australian artist Illma Gore might permanently be banned from Facebook for posting her pencil drawing of nude US presidential hopeful Donald Trump in mid-February 2016, she told arts website Hyperallergic in a story published on 11 March 2016. Though Gore posted her drawing to a private group on 10 February 2016, Facebook contacted the artist […]

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 […]

Singapore: Two sex toys removed from exhibition

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in Singapore removed two sex toys from artist Loo Zihan’s art installation entitled ‘Queer Objects: An Archive for the Future’, reported The Straits Times on 16 February 2016. The artist said that originally four items were going to be removed from his 81-object installation, but in the end only two […]

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 […]

Egypt: Several books banned at international book fair

According to Egyptian news portal Youm7, several books were banned from the 2016 Cairo International Book Fair held in late January/early February 2016 for presenting controversial themes and ideas on topics such as homosexuality and female status. Moroccan author Mohamed Shokri’s ‘For the Sake of Only Bread’ was the first book to be banned at […]

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 […]

Singapore: Madonna banned from performing sensitive song

The Media Development Authority (MDA), Singapore’s governmental media regulatory board, banned Madonna from performing her song ‘Holy Water’ in her 28 February 2016 show at the country’s National Stadium, reported The Straits Times on 7 January 2016. The MDA rated the concert R18, meaning only those 18 years of age or older can attend, for […]

Kenya: LGBT music video banned

The Kenyan Film and Classification Board banned Art Attack’s video for its remix of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ gay rights song ‘Same Love’ on the grounds that “it does not adhere to the morals of the country”, Kenyan newspaper The Star reported on 23 February 2016. Board chairman Ezekiel Mutua also said that the video […]

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 […]

Egypt: Author imprisoned for ‘violating public modesty’

On 20 February 2016, the Egyptian author Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison by a Cairo appeals court for having published in a magazine a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said “violated public modesty”.  Naji (also spelled: Naje) was initially acquitted, but after the case garnered widespread media coverage, […]

India: Play banned for topless scene

The National School of Drama (NSD) has banned Polish play ‘Sonaka’ throughout India due to a nudity scene wherein a woman appeared topless, reported Odisha TV on 13 February 2016. The play, put on by Polish-based troupe Alexander Jiereko and part of the NSD’s national theatre festival, was enacted in the eastern state of Odisha […]

Italy: Nude statues covered up for Iranian president

Classic nude statues were covered up in Rome’s Capitoline museum when Iranian president Hassan Rouhani walked through its halls during his Italy visit, reported The Guardian on 27 January 2016. Rouhani and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi held a press conference in the museum and it is supposed the statues were covered up so as […]

Denmark: Ban reversed on nude photo exhibit

If you can exploit women’s bodies in advertising in the public space, then why can’t an artist exhibit nude photos in the same space? This is the question photographer Mathilde Grafström asked when her exhibition was banned in December 2015 in Copenhagen; but police have now reconsidered the case, reported Danish newspaper Politiken on 20 […]

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 […]

Muzzled in Zimbabwe: One artist’s struggle to exhibit

Zimbabwean artist Owen Maseko first hit the headlines in March 2010 when he was arrested for exhibiting paintings and installations that depicted an episode of the country’s history that the government would rather not discuss. From 1983 to 1987 the army unleashed an orgy of violence on the people of Matabeleland and parts of the […]

Venezuela: When censorship is social

Interview with the Venezuelan artist Daniel Arzola about the oppressiveness of social norms. By Laura Vidal   Gender fluidity, the oppressiveness of social norms, and the dignity of the LGBT community are at the centre of Daniel Arzola’s art and visual campaigns, most notably the project ‘No soy tu chiste’ (‘I’m not a joke’), which […]

Egypt: Union president suspends six singers from performing

Hani Shaker, controversial president of the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate, issued a decision to suspend six singers from being able to work as artists based on their behaviours during performances, reported Al Arabya News. Shaker stated that their behaviour was not in line with public morals as they wore “body revealing clothes” and acted “racy” and […]

USA: News outlets censor Modigliani nude

The $170.4 million sale of Modigliani’s ‘Reclining Nude’ made news in November 2015 not only for its price tag at auction, but also because some outlets in the USA chose to blur out or cover up parts of the naked female body depicted in the painting. Bloomberg news and CNBC, for example chose to blur […]

France: Court rules Palme d’Or winner too offensive

Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, ‘La Vie d’Adèle’ (‘Blue is the Warmest Color’), lost its French operating permission on 9 December 2015 when a Paris court ruled that the film contains “realistic sex scenes likely to offend the sensibilities of a young audience.” The lesbian love story which many […]

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 […]

Poland: Culture minister wants to ban Nobel winner’s play

Poland’s new culture minister, Piotr Gliński, wants to ban a production by one of the country’s leading theatre companies of a play by the Nobel prize-winning author Elfriede Jelinek, claiming public money must not be used to subsidise “pornography”. The move by Gliński, who is also deputy prime minister in the new conservative Law & […]

Singapore: Petition launched to ban singer from performing

Over 20,000 “concerned citizens, parents and individuals” in Singapore have signed a petition to stop Adam Lambert from performing at the Countdown 2016 New Year’s Eve concert due to his “promotion of LGBT rights,” reported The Independent. The group petitioned both the government and concert organisers, MediaCorp, and said, “a simple online search would reveal that he […]

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’ […]

South Korea: TV bans sexy music video

Korean television has banned K-pop star Jay Park’s latest music video due to its sexual imagery, The Korea Times reported. The video for Park’s lead single, ‘You Know,’ from his new album features Park dancing with fellow K-pop star HyunA. South Korean monitors gave the video a 19+ parental advisory rating. Though K-pop has been […]

Macedonia: Artists falling prey to censorship

Critics claim there is a growing trend in Macedonia that artists who explore controversial issues calling into question the state or church are being censored and are practising self-censorship, Balkan Insight reported. A recent case in 2014 involved an artist, Irena Paskali, who created a billboard asking why so many Macedonians accepted being double-billed for […]

USA: Michigan school bans novel from book fair

An elementary school in Michigan has banned the 12th novel in the ‘Captain Underpants’ series of books from its book fair due to a main character being gay, news station WXYZ reported. Dr Barry Martin, superintendent of Monroe Public Schools, explained that the publishing company, Scholastic, notified the school that one of their titles may […]

Russia: Exhibition in St. Petersburg censored and closed

A Belgian and a German artist have had an exhibition of their graphic novel shuttered in St. Petersburg’s Nabokov Museum, according to The Moscow Times. The artists, Dominique Goblet and Kai Pfeiffer, were displaying their work as part of an international comic, graphic novel and illustration festival called Boomfest, which has been held annually in […]

USA/Europe: Less incidents of arts censorship over indecency

On 28 September 2015, Apollo Magazine published an article by Philippa Malas which seeks to analyse the current situation for freedom of artistic expression in Europe and the United States. The article runs through examples of how issues of freedom of expression and art are currently playing out in various countries. In May 2015, the […]

Egypt: Resolution against revealing clothing and “vulgar” lyrics

Egypt’s Musicians’ Union bans artists from wearing “indecent” clothing and using “vulgar” vocabulary on stage and television in a resolution passed at the end of August 2015. Hani Shaker, the newly elected head of the union, aims to continue to promote Egyptian art, but not at the expense of the country’s morals and customs, thus […]

Egypt: One year imprisonment for music video

The Agouza Misdemeanour Court sentenced Sunday the dancer Salma Al-Foly, the director Wael El-Sedik and an assistant to one year in prison for a low-cost production homemade video which they posted on El-Sedik’s private YouTube channel on 18 May 2015. The video has since been viewed over 1.5 million times. Singer and dancer Salma Al-Foly […]

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. […]

USA: Anti-censorship theatre even censored

A benefit event for the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) scheduled for 14 June 2015 at The Sheen Center in New York City, was abruptly called off after the theatre hosting the show deemed some of the content offensive. The event has since been rescheduled. The show was cancelled by Sheen Management, which sought to […]

USA: Fox News station censors Picasso masterpiece

A Picasso painting which broke the record for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction was censored on Fox News. The 1955 painting titled ‘The Women of Algiers (Version O)’ sold for $179 million at Christie’s in New York. Fox5NY which covers New York City took the decision to blur out the nipples on […]

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 […]

India: ‘Un-Freedom’ movie banned by censorship board

Florida-based director Raj Amit Kumar’s debut film ‘Un-Freedom’, starring Adil Hussain and Victor Banerjee in key roles espousing homosexuality, has been banned in India. The filmmaker said such move by Central Board of Film Certification is like taking away the “basic human rights”. He has reportedly decided to approach the court and to file a […]

Egypt: Premiere performance deemed ‘inappropriate’ and cancelled

Freemuse received the following press release from Sondos Shabayek on 17 March 2015: State theatres belong to the people, not the State Hanager Theatre has blocked the premiere performance of ‘500s’ on 15 and 16 March 2015. The manager of the Hanager Theatre, Dr Amany Youssef, prevented the premiere performance of the play, ‘500s’, which […]

Malaysia: ‘Fifty Shades’ books banned

The Home Ministry in Malaysia has banned the popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” erotica trilogy, citing reasons of morality, after previously prohibiting the screening of the movie adaptation locally. The order under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 dated 24 February 2015 banned the printing, publication and even ownership of the romance novels by […]

Six countries ban ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ film

Countries that often object to sexual content – Malaysia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and India – have banned ‘Fifty Shades’ from cinema theatres. Authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus have also banned the film. In Malaysia, the head of the film censorship board called it “more pornography than a movie”, according to Hollywood trade publication Variety. The […]

Turkey: Broadcasters fined for airing music video scenes of sexuality

The Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has fined two music tv channels for airing music videos with scenes of sexuality, reported Hurriyet Daily News. RTÜK fined Genç TV for broadcasting the music video of Elliphant’s song ‘One More’, which features a scene of two women kissing. RTÜK also fined Power TV for […]

Japan: Artist imprisoned over ‘obscene’ kayak design

When Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi began to make plaster casts of her genitalia and show them in exhibitions, she accepted some people might be upset. But she could not have imagined she would end up in prison. Megumi Igarashi has spent 10 days in a Tokyo women’s prison. Her crime, the police say, was sending […]

United Kingdom: Theatre piece containing nudity censored

Actress Elizabeth Sogorb is being forced to wear a flesh-coloured catsuit in her performance of La Nina Barro at the fringe because venue The Newsroom has objected to the nakedness which is an integral part of the show. The performance involves Sogorb starting the piece covered in clay, which is washed off over the course […]

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. […]

USA: School committee rejects parent request to ban book for sexual content

A Waukesha School District committee in USA voted unanimously to reject a parent’s motion to ban the book ‘Looking for Alaska’ from schools after a parent challenged it too racy for Waukesha South High School’s reading list. Source: www.jsonline.com   “The board voted to ban “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s highly decorated but […]

Japan: ‘Vagina artist’ released after one week in prison

42-year-old sculptor and illustrator Megumi Igarashi has been released after spending a week in jail for distributing digital data that made it possible to recreate her genitals with a 3D printer, a possible violation of the Japanese law banning the distribution of “obscene” material, the Kyodo news agency reported Saturday. Megumi Igarashi who works under the alias […]

United Kingdom: Painting removed from exhibition over pubic hair

Leena McCall’s painting of a tattooed, pipe-smoking woman with her trousers lowered to reveal pubic hair was removed from the 153rd annual Society of Women Artists exhibit in London by the Mall Galleries. It went viral. The painting was deemed to be “too pornographic and disgusting”, the artist said. The Society of Women Artists told […]

Egypt: Index on Censorship interview about censored theatre play

‘Shout Art Loud’ – a ‘living report’ from the freedom of expression charity Index on Censorship about art and sexual violence in Egypt – describes how the play ‘The Bussy Monologues’ was censored after its first performance in 2010. The directors of the play had a visit from the “morality police”, the tourism police, State […]

Singapore: Writers boycott National Library Board

The National Library Board in Singapore has allegedly decided to destroy the books ‘And Tango Makes Three’, ‘The White Swan Express’ and ‘Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families’ because of complaints from members of the We Are Against Pink Dot in Singapore Facebook group. This has caused strong reactions from writers, reported The […]

France: Mayor censors mural at ceramics museum

A mural by Jérôme Galvin commissioned for the grand reopening of a ceramics museum in a small French village was censored by the town’s new mayor who deemed Galvin’s images “insanities, vices, pornography” in an official statement. “In the room devoted to grotesque ceramics, I created a five-meter mural,” Galvin told Libération. “I took inspiration […]

France: Art festival cancelled after censorship row

The 13th edition of the Festival International d’Art Singulier in the city of Aubagne in the south of France has been called off by its organisers, and its director has stepped down, after the municipality tried to censor two works slated to be exhibited. The offending works, dubbed “pornographic” by the mayor’s office, are Marie […]

Apple Bookstore bans book for ‘inappropriate cover art’

Tijuana Baby, a novel by author Robert Haukoos from Moonshine Cove Publishing, has been banned from the Apple iBooks store for ‘inappropriate cover art’. Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Abe Books, Book Depository, Valore Books and many other U.S. retailers are offering the book for sale with the original cover. Blackwell in the U.K., and Amazon […]

United Kingdom: Painting banned for showing naked gay couple having sex

A council in Northern Ireland has banned a painting by the artist Ursula Burke because it features a naked gay couple having sex. The piece was supposed to go on show at the FE McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge, Co Down. A council spokesman said the decision was made as the image was considered inappropriate for […]

United Kingdom: Artist’s first gallery exhibition censored

An oil painting of a man lying nude on a bed near a toddler wrapped from the waist down in a towel has caused a furore at Teesside University. “The work is on public display but it has been covered from general view from people passing by as we wish to respect the views of […]

France/USA: End to Apple’s corporate censorship of French book

The digital edition of the book ‘La Femme’ has now been given a place in the Apple Store despite the fact that its cover has a topless woman. Almost a year after the book’s release, Apple first published and then censored the digital edition of the book in its Apple Store, iBooks, because of the […]

Japan: Censors reject the French film ‘My Little Princess’

Japan’s film censorship body, Eirin, has labeled French film My Little Princess as ‘Inapplicable for Classification’. Even though Eirin calls its classification system ‘voluntary’, its refusal to give the film a rating certificate is the equivalent of banning it from a regular theatrical release. According to the Code of the National Association of Theatre Owners […]

Turkey: ‘Nymphomaniac’ movie by Von Trier banned

Turkey has banned the Danish director’s latest film from screening in its theatres, saying the film can be classified as pornography due to its graphic content. Actor Christian Slater is baffled by Turkey’s ban on his new movie “Nymphomaniac,” but insists his own daughter will never see the controversial Lars Von Trier movie. » See on […]

France/USA: French novel falls foul of Apple’s breast inspectors

French publishing house Les Editions des Equateurs is protesting that Apple has declined to to carry its novel ‘La Femme’ online due to an excessively jubular cover. Bénédicte Martin’s book was released on 20 March 2014, but won’t be available via the fruity monolith due to an “inappropriate” image of a topless woman blended with […]

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 […]

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 […]

Turkey: TV watchdog fines Turkey’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ over sexual innuendo

Turkey’s television watchdog, RTÜK, has fined the Turkish version of the Desperate Housewives series over an innuendo associating dessert with sex. One of the main female characters in the serial touched her husband in a recent episode while saying, “We will have dessert after dinner,” which disturbed the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), which moved […]

USA: Paintings removed due to nudity

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California has filed a lawsuit against the county of San Bernardino for allegedly violating the free speech rights of a Rialto artist after pulling two of his paintings from public display “simply because some viewers had complained about the paintings,” according to a statement from the ACLU of Southern California. […]

Germany: Nude artworks censored in Berlin due to religious sensitivity

A recent incident of art censorship in Berlin has sparked a debate about the difference between art and pornography, as well as the importance of artistic freedom versus religious sensitivity. » See on www.huffingtonpost.com » and on globalpost.com Agence France-Presse – 13 November 2013: Nude paintings blocked in German school spark debate An adult education centre […]

Denmark: Hippie book author accuses Facebook of hypocrisy

A debate about online freedom of speech was held in Copenhagen on 14 November 2013, following the decision by Apple to not carry a Danish book about 1970s hippie culture because it contained nudity. Facebook also threatened to ban its author, Peter Øvig Knudsen, after he posted content from the book that depicted nudity on his Facebook […]

Australia: Artists hit back against censorship of nude photography

A group of Australian artists are out to show that art cannot be censored by announcing plans to hold a nude-only art exhibition. The move comes after vision-impaired artist Dennis Mealor’s naked photograph of a mature-aged woman, titled Viva Italia, was suddenly withdrawn from the Bundaberg Arts Festival without an explanation in October 2013. The […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Gallery censored nude watercolours

Artist reveals her fury after ‘fearful’ gallery censored her nude watercolours with strips of paper A teacher’s complaint during a school trip to an exhibition at Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens prompted the removal of three watercolours of naked women. Later, the watercolours were put back up, but covered with bits of paper. The artist, Danuta Gray, […]

USA: Paintings removed from public building after nudity complaints

“It’s a government building and people come here to work and to do business, and we don’t feel they should be confronted with images that offend them,” said David Wert with the County of San Bernardino. One painting by artist Armando Aleman and two others by Efren Montiel were part of a display honoring National […]

Myanmar/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 […]

Uzbekistan: Music video blacklisted with “strong suggestion” from security services

Uzbek pop stars sing about the forbidden. Homosexuality, currently banned in Uzbekistan, is finding its way into performances by pop musicians. In 2012, Azlar became famous – and banned – in Uzbekistan for a song about this topic, and now, the musician Asal Choi (“Honey Tea”) is stirring up controversy with a music video where […]

Australia: Police seized allegedly “inappropriate” art, gallery closed

Artistic freedom of expression and the threat of censorship has dominated debate in the art world of Australia after police raided a Melbourne art gallery, seizing part of an installation, on 25 May 2013. “Let not the law be a weapon to close down artist expression,” said Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts Martin Foley, […]

China: American western pulled from screens on its opening day

Following an announcement that the Beijing International Film Festival and cinemas across the country would be screening ‘Django Unchained’ for select audiences, Chinese authorities banned the American movie from release and interrupted the film during its first screening. On 11 April 2013, cinemas across the country had to abruptly cancel the screening of Quentin Tarantino’s […]

United Kingdom: Previously banned Swedish play premiers in English

Banned in the United Kingdom for 50 years when first written, Strindberg’s play ‘Miss Julie’ shocked critics across Europe with its frank portrayal of sexuality and inter-class relationships in 19th century society. Now Canterbury’s Gulbenkian Theatre is to host the world premiere of a 21st century English adaptation of it. The Swedish play ‘Miss Julie’ […]

South African photographer honoured at Index on Censorship awards

South African photographer Zanele Muholi was honoured at Index on Censorship awards for ‘courage and the powerful statements made by her work’. In the last year, four women in South Africa have been murdered because of their sexuality, including Phumeza Nkolonzi, 22, who was shot dead in front of her grandmother and niece, and Sihle […]

Myanmar/Burma: Censorship on art has relaxed, three artists say

“While censorship of print media has ended, restrictions on the visual arts are still officially in place,” said visual artist Maung Khine Mar from Yangon to The Myanmar Times. “Censorship on art has relaxed quite a bit, but they still have a blinkered attitude towards any art that goes beyond Myanmar’s cultural norms, such as […]

France: Art museum censored by Facebook for nude photograph

On 1 March 2013, the Jeu de Paume art museum’s Facebook account was blocked for 24 hours, following a decision by Facebook to remove a photograph the Parisian museum posted on its page and which the social network ruled was a violation of its Rights and Responsibilities guidelines. Facebook warned that next time it happens, […]

Facebook: “Worse than the censorship in the middle of the Dark Ages”

Facebook’s zealous banning of nude images is “worse than the censorship in the middle of the Dark Ages”, according to the Institute of Contemporary Arts’s former chairman Ivan Massow. The British financial services entrepreneur and political activist Ivan Massow has been repeatedly blocked from using his Facebook account after posting nude or semi-nude paintings by […]

Denmark: Apple’s puritanical censorship creates a movement

“An international protest movement is under way that has had enough of Apple’s new-puritamism and negative cultural domination,” wrote journalist Morten Løkkegaard in Politiken on 8 February 2013. After a second Danish author, Michael Næsted Nielsen, was informed by Apple that his new book, ‘Slaven’ (‘The Slave’) is going to be censored from iBookstore because […]

USA: Library covers up controversial artwork

A piece of artwork by Kara Walker which shows a slave performing oral sex was covered after employees of the Newark Library stated they did not like the image. Kara Walker, a renowned African-American artist who examines race, gender, sexuality and violence, created the drawing. Her drawing depicts the horrors of reconstruction, 20th-century Jim Crowism […]

iTunes: Apple troubled by women’s bodies

Salwa Al Neimi’s erotic novel ‘The Proof of the Honey’ was removed from the iTunes store because of its cover which features part of a woman’s naked back and bottom, said the publisher, Europa Editions, in a statement on its Facebook page on 9 November 2012. The book has already been banned in some Arab […]

Apple’s iBookstore censorship case: The distinction between porn and art

The distinction between porn and art is often in the eye of the beholder, wrote John Brownlee, cultofmac.com, in his comment on the latest censorship case of Apple’s iBookstore: When Danish author Peter Øvig Knudsen submitted his latest work of non-fiction, ‘Hippie 2’, to the iBookstore, the e-book was rejected based upon the fact that […]

USA: Art work removed from exhibition after complaints about nudity

The photo art work ‘Quotidian’ by Betsy Schneider documents the artist’s daughter growing up in a series of photographs in which the girl is nude. The work was exhibited at and then removed from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA, in response to complaints about nudity. A coalition of artists, critics, […]

Serbia: Row over art exhibition depicting Jesus

Serbia’s prime minister said an art exhibition by the Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin featuring controversial images of Jesus was a ‘provocation’ that contributed to a ban on Belgrade’s gay parade. The Serbian Interior Ministry banned a pride parade in Belgrade for security reasons for the second year running, after ultranationalists had threatened the march, […]

Uganda: Theatre producer face a two-year prison sentence

British theatre producer David Cecil, 34, was granted bail after a couple of days in a prison near the capital Kampala, but his passport was confiscated, and he is due back in court on 18 October. He could face a two-year prison sentence if convicted. David Cecil is charged with “disobedience to lawful orders” from […]

Turkey: Court case against ‘obscene’ books postponed three years

On 5 July 2012 at the Çağlayan Courts of Justice in İstanbul, a judge set aside expert opinion that would have ended the trials against the publishers of the Turkish editions of William Burroughs’ ‘The Soft Machine’ and Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Snuff’. Instead they, and the books’ translators, face three more years of uncertainty after the […]

South Africa: Controversy over painting depicting president’s genitals

South African President Jacob Zuma and his African National Congress sought a court order to have a painting depicting the president’s genitals removed from an art gallery but two men took matters into their own hands by defacing the portrait with gobs of paint. The different reactions to a painting of President Jacob Zuma with […]

Malaysia/Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer

Christian and Muslim groups attempt to ban American superstar Lady Gaga’s shows during her Asia tour, calling her music, persona and style the ‘work of Satan’, while tens of thousands of her fans in Seoul, Jakarta and Manila campaign for the singer’s right to freedom of expression. Over 750 articles about the topic are listed […]

Egypt: Belly dancing equated to prostitution, tv broadcaster arrested

On 17 May 2012, the owner of a satellite tv station, Baleegh Hamdi, was arrested in his appartment by Giza Security Forces on charges of encouraging prostitution and “incitement to immorality” by broadcasting a show on belly dancers. Baleegh Hamdi’s channel, Al Taat, broadcasts videos of belly dancers throughout the day giving performances to live […]

Indonesia: The film ‘Heart of Jakarta’ banned by university officials

A student group at Diponegoro University, Kronik Filmedia, was banned from screening ‘Sanubari Jakarta’ (‘Heart of Jakarta’) on campus. Officials banned the film, which previously passed muster at the Film Censorship Board and screened in movie theaters, for discussing the taboo-topics of ethnicity, religion, race and inter-group issues. “We have tried to persuade the rectorate […]

Kuwait: “Inappropriate” art exhibition closed after three hours

At 7pm on 5 March 2012, the Al M. Gallery in Kuwait City opened a new exhibition of paintings by Shurooq Amin that was scheduled to last until 1 April. The exhibit was closed three hours later by authorities who deemed the artworks “inappropriate”. At about 9pm police, responding to a complaint, arrived and began […]

Singapore: American film not to be released because of censorship

American director Steve McQueen’s film ‘Shame’ about a sex addict in New York, played by Michael Fassbender, will not be shown in Singapore because McQueen does not approve of censors’ demand that certain scenes have to be cut. In particular, a graphic threesome involving Fassbender’s protagonist Brandon Sullivan and two women offended the authorities. Even […]

Sweden: Concerts with Jamaican reggae singer Sizzla cancelled

In March 2012, the 35-year-old Jamaican reggae musician Sizzla Kalonji was stopped from performing in Sweden, second time around in the same month, because of his infamous homophobic lyrics. Sizzla was scheduled to perform in Slakthuset in Stockholm on 28 March 2012, but few hours before the concert, Slakthuset’s management announced that they had cancelled […]

Vault of expression – article about censorship of nude art

In 1966, a Gustav Metzger exhibition was raided in London. The artist was charged with putting on an ‘indecent exhibition’ and fined £100; works by Eduardo Paolozzi were confiscated from London’s Robert Fraser Gallery, and Fraser was charged under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 and fined 20 guineas. In 1969, US customs agents in […]

Singapore Dance Theatre denied permit to perform

The Malaysian government has denied a permit to a Singapore Dance Theatre days before they were slated to perform in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. While no official reason was given, local media has claimed that the denial of the permit was due to the troupe’s “indecent” costumes, including classical tutus that have […]

 

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