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 […]

Austria/Turkey: Concert cancelled, song banned related to referendum vote

As Turkey gears up for a constitutional referendum on 16 April 2017, steps have been taken at home and abroad to influence voters that have also affected art and artists. In the south eastern province of Şırnak, the local government banned song ‘Bejin Na’ (Say No), the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) official referendum campaign […]

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 […]

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 […]

Turkey: Seven members of Grup Yorum arrested

Turkish police arrested seven members of famous folk band Grup Yorum on 23 November 2016 on charges of assault, resisting and insulting police, and being members of a terrorist group, reported Birgün on 24 November 2016. Grup Yorum’s lawyer Aytaç Ünsal told the Turkish newspaper: Even 3 days after they were initially taken into custody, […]

United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

Eighty-five United Nations (UN) member states voted on 15 November 2016 calling upon Iranian authorities to take real steps in correcting its human rights record. The resolution builds upon last year’s adopted resolution where Iran accepted 130 recommendations made to its human rights record and practices stemming from the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process […]

United Kingdom: University cancels musical due to race row

A theatre at the University of Bristol cancelled all showings of its student production of musical ‘Aida’ due to protests over potential “cultural appropriation” that white students would be cast in the lead roles of ancient Egyptians and slaves, reported The Telegraph on 4 October 2016. The musical, written by Elton John and Tim Rice […]

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 […]

India: Writer detained over attempted murder charges

Dalit writer Durai Guna and activist friend Bhoopathy Karthikeyan were arrested on 10 June 2016 for attempted murder during the Chennai Book Fair, though those close to the writer and human rights activists claim the charges are false and are a continuation of harassment Guna has suffered for works he’s published on Dalit issues, reported […]

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) […]

Azerbaijan: Writer detained at airport

Police detained writer Akram Aylisli for 11 hours at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev Airport, preventing him from traveling to a literary festival in Venice, Italy at which he was scheduled to appear, reported Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty on 30 March 2016. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Interior reported that Aylisli was held in connection with a […]

Bangladesh: Tibetan art exhibit censored under Chinese pressure

The Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, Ma Mingqiang, found the ‘Last Words’ exhibit at the Dhaka Art Summit “offensive” and called for its removal as it featured copies of handwritten letters written by five Tibetans before they self-immolated in protest against the Chinese government, reported ArtNet News on 9 February 2016. Organisers of the summit felt […]

Ethiopia: Crackdown on Oromo musicians

The current unrest in the Oromia region with news reports about a state crackdown on musicians is nothing new in Ethiopia, explains Endalk in this background article. In the last two decades, any Oromo singer who gravitated towards political and social activism have been subjected to intimidation, abductions, and torture. Singers have been killed, and […]

Ethiopia: Three singers arrested, abducted and tortured

Three Oromo protest singers have reportedly been arrested, abducted and tortured in Ethiopia during December 2015: Hawi Tezera, Jireenyaa Shifarraa and Bilisummaa Dinquu. Hawi Tezera, an ethnic Oromo singer, was reportedly beaten, arrested, released and then rearrested in the space of just seven days in December 2015 by Ethiopian government security forces in connection with […]

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, […]

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: Young Kurdish singer imprisoned

Al Jazeera has published a video by a Turkish-Kurdish filmmaker about the Kurdish singer Nûdem Durak. The singer’s future is uncertain, because the Turkish government allegedly has convicted her to 10.5 years imprisonment for “promoting Kurdish propaganda”, according to Al Jazeera. Published on Youtube on 30 April 2015 Maker of the documentary film, Eylem Kaftan, […]

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. […]

Turkey: New optimism for Kurdish culture though pending cases remain unresolved

A new report from the organisation Siyah Bant, ‘Freedom of Expression in the Arts and Censorship in Kurdish Region Diyarbakir, Batman’, monitors violations on artistic freedom and concludes that despite the Turkish government’s proclaimed reform efforts much remains to be seen. In November 2013, exiled kurdish musician Şivan Perwer was invited to return to Turkey […]

Turkey: Persecuted folk band Grup Yorum in centre of attention

The development in Turkey has given the Istanbul-based folk music band Group Yorum new fame and publicity around the world. On 18 June, Group Yorum signed a statement along with many other Turkish musicians who condemn police violence and what they term as “the government’s abuse of power in Turkey”. Rumors are circulating that the […]

Turkey: Ban on books in prison cells: max ten

It is no longer allowed to have more than ten books in a cell in Turkey’s high-security prisons, the so-called ‘Type F prisons’ (F tipi cezaevi). Inmates and detainees who are intellectuals and political prisoners have reacted strongly against the ban on books, and they have launched an indefinite hunger strike against the decision. The […]

United Kingdom: Play about honour killings censored by BBC

The BBC has been accused of an “extraordinary” act of censorship after it cut a line from a controversial playwright’s drama on BBC Radio 4. Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose 2004 play Behzti sparked riots and death threats and was cancelled by a Birmingham theatre over concerns about public safety, was commissioned by Radio 4 to […]

Turkey: Protests after Grup Yorum concert was banned

A concert with the Kurdish folk ensemble Grup Yorum which was planned to be performed at Olympic Sports Hall in Bağcılar, İstanbul, was cancelled in the last minute. Group members and a crowd of 500 protested against the cancellation at Bağcılar Yavuzselim district. Police arrived to disperse the protesters but were met with resistance. “They […]

Turkey: Ferhat Tunç’s prison sentence turned into speaking ban

On 27 June 2012, Dersim Malatya Third High Criminal Court sentenced singer Ferhat Tunç to two years in prison for having promoted İbrahim Kaypakkaya in a speech he held on 1 May 2011. According to new legal rearrangements, the sentence has now been turned into a three year ban on speaking about the same subject. […]

Turkey: Authorities’ persecution of Kurdish artists continues

The first hearing of the court case against four members of Grup Yorum along with nine others who are charged with ‘membership of and propaganda for a terrorist organisation’, DHKP-C, was held at İstanbul No. 15 High Criminal Court. In a defense statement Ayfer Rüzgar said that the accusations simply can be seen as an […]

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 […]

Swedish ‘cake-gate’ about art, racism and freedom of expression

The cake installation ‘Könsstympningstårtan’ – ‘The Circumcision Tart’ – by the artist Makode Aj Linde depicting a naked black woman at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm sparked outrage and brought tempers to a boil in mid-April 2012. In conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Swedish Artists’ National Organisation (Konstnärernas Riksorganisations, KRO) […]

 

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