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 […]

YouTube: Video banned for “sexual content” re-appears with disclaimer

American rapper Mykki Blanco’s latest music video ‘Loner’ was taken down from YouTube on 2 December 2016 as it didn’t meet “community guidelines”; hours later the video was put back on the site, but now with a “content warning” and viewers need to sign in to confirm their age, reported Billboard on 2 December 2016. […]

China: Singer’s music scrubbed from online music services due to Hong Kong activism

Music fans in China have reported that several major Chinese music and video streaming platforms, as well as the Chinese iTunes store, have removed, blocked or filtered out the music and online content of pop star Denise Ho, who has been active in the Hong Kong independence and pro-democracy movement since 2014, as well as […]

Malta: Rock band dropped from festival over frontman’s Facebook posts

Maltese rock band Brikkuni have been dropped from the Farsons Beer Festival by the beverage company due to Facebook comments lead singer Mario Vella posted about the prime minister’s wife, reported Malta Today on 27 June 2016. Vella’s post was covered extensively by the prime minister’s party media company which asked if Farsons would react […]

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 […]

Russia: Music portal banned

The Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has banned online music portal Last.fm for offering the song ‘Kill a cop’ (‘Ubey menta’) by the Russian alternative rock band Psychea, according to the Calvert Journal. The chorus of the song reads: “Beat me, trample me, cut me to pieces — I’ve gone completely insane. The situation is getting […]

France: Controversial comedian sentenced for Facebook post

A French court has handed out a two-month suspended prison sentence to prominent comedian and political activist Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. He was found guilty for a Facebook message that suggested sympathy with one of the gunmen in the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. The 49-year-old comedian was convicted for being “an apologist for terrorism” […]

France: Court sets precedent in Facebook vagina artwork censorship battle

A Paris court has announced that it can preside over a French citizen’s legal case against Facebook in a battle against the censorship of a vagina painting, despite the social network’s terms and conditions stating it can only be tried in the US. The case was sparked in 2011 by the deletion of teacher and […]

South Africa: Artist threatened for public space art project

The South African artist Michael Elion has been threatened by users on social media for his giant public space art project ‘Madiba glasses’. The heated debate surrounding his sunglasses installation Perceiving Freedom, his tribute to Nelson Mandela, eliciting violent responses from some of the users online. It all came to a head when he discovered […]

China: Arts and social media increasingly restricted

The director of the annual Beijing Independent Film Festival was jailed and forced to promise not to open the festival. The move comes as social media, arts, and religion are increasingly restricted. China sees and intensified campaign against activity not considered in line with orthodox party thinking under President Xi Jinping. The broadening range of […]

Pakistan: Ban of social media has great impact on musicians

As Pakistan continues to restrict access to social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, activist band Laal discusses the silencing effect that these bans have on artists, and speaks to the future of free expression. By Anushe Noor Faheem, with additional reporting by Annie Zaman Laal, Pakistan’s most vocal social-justice oriented band, has built […]

YouTube: Threats to block indie labels who don’t sign up to new music service

Independent artists could disappear from YouTube “in a matter of days” after the Google video service confirmed it was dropping content from independent labels that have not signed up for its upcoming subscription music service.  The company’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, confirmed that YouTube will block videos from labels that do not […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Cameroon: Banned feature film promoted online

Renowned Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s feature film ‘The President’ is banned in Cameroon. On 7 October 2013 it was announced that it is now available on a leading African video-on-demand platform, Buni TV, the first week free of charge. The story of the film revolves around the disappearance of the film’s fictional president, just a […]

USA: Madonna launches platform to fight oppression and intolerance

‘Art For Freedom’, led by the American superstar Madonna, is a new digital initiative, an online ‘public art project’, designed to fuel free speech. ‘Art For Freedom’ encourages the world to express their personal meaning of freedom and revolution in the form of video, music, poetry or photography. ‘Art For Freedom’ will launch on 1 […]

Photographic project censored on Facebook

The photographic project ‘Los Intocables’ (‘The Untouchables’) by Cuban artist and creative director Erik Ravelo has been censored by Facebook, according to the artist, and he has been receiving threats. Erik Ravelo’s installation project features a variety of issues plaguing children around the world. Published on the site on 22 July 2013, the series of […]

Pakistan: Online music video banned by Telecommunication Authority

“They are helping us by making this video controversial,” Beygairat Brigade’s lead singer Ali Aftab Saeed said to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, after the band’s online music video ‘Dhinak Dhinak’ was banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Beygairat Brigade put out their new song, ‘Dhinak Dhinak’, on Vimeo on 20 April 2013. First Post wrote: “The song, […]

China: Apple censors Tibet book app

The app, ‘Jingdian Shucheng’, which offers access to ten books via the iPhone and iPad, has been removed from the App Store in China. Hao Peiqiang, the Beijing-based developer of the app, said Apple told him it had taken the step to censor it because it “includes content that is illegal in China”. According to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Israeli cartoons removed from Facebook

Four political satire images by the cartoonist Mysh have been removed from Facebook and Mysh’s account was suspended for three days as “punishment”, reported the liberal Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein. One of the censored cartoons was about the Israeli pogromists who assaulted African refugees in Tel Aviv. Others were The Green Sabra (a parody of […]

Ai Weiwei: Chinese censorship of the internet will fail

In April 2012 Ai Weiwei turned his attention to China’s censorship of the internet, in a comment piece penned for The Guardian where concluded that the Chinese government will ultimately fail to control the internet as the web is “uncontrollable”. Ai Weiwei writes: “China may seem quite successful in its controls, but it has only […]



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