United Kingdom: Deadly attack at pop concert in Manchester

At least 22 concertgoers have been reported killed and 59 more injured, among them children and teenagers, when a lone male detonated an explosive device after US singer Ariana Grande’s music concert ended at Manchester Arena in England, reported BBC on 23 May 2017. Freemuse is deeply saddened by the attack in Manchester and offers […]

Egypt: Musician takes Music Syndicate head to court

Nearly a year after his arrest on charges of “devil worshipping” and “promoting music that contradicts Egyptian religious beliefs and cultural norms”, Egyptian heavy metal musician and concert promoter Nader Sadek is suing Head of the Music Syndicate Hani Shaker for libel and defamation. The initial hearing is scheduled to take place at the Abdeen Misdemeanour Court […]

Venezuela: Singer received death threat from parliamentarian

Venezuelan singer Oscarcito (real name: Oscar Eduardo Hernández Villegas) received a death threat over social media by Member of Parliament Juan Díaz who told the singer to wear a bulletproof vest at his concerts because he would “roll” [Latin American expression denoting “to die”] in one of them, reported El Nacional on 24 April 2017. […]

Iran: Musician and filmmaker returned to prison

On 7 April 2017, the Center for Human Rights in Iran reported that music producers Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian returned to Evin Prison in Tehran on 4 April after their request for an extension of their seven-day temporary leave was denied by the judiciary. “The only change in the new year was that we walked […]

INSIGHT 2016 publication: Targeting the arts

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

Tunisia: British DJ sentenced to jail for playing dance version of Muslim prayer

A Tunisian court sentenced British DJ Dax J to a year in jail for “public indecency” and “offending public morality” after playing a dance remix of the Muslim call to prayer on 31 March 2017 at the ORBIT Festival in the north eastern coastal town of Nabeul, reported BBC on 7 April 2017. The Bristish-born, […]

Tanzania: Two rappers and a producer abducted from studio by unknown people

Tanzanian rappers Roma Mkatoliki (real name Ibrahim Mussa) and Moni, as well as producer Bello bin Laden, went missing on 5 April 2017 after unidentified people raided Tongwe Records in the Masaki area of Dar es Salaam and abducted the three artists, along with another person who was in the studio at the time. Member […]

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 […]

Spain: Rapper appeals three-and-a-half-year prison sentence over lyrics

Spanish rapper Valtonyc (real name Miquel Arenas Beltrán) and his lawyer confirmed they presented an appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court to repeal his three-year-and-six-month prison sentence on various charges related to his lyrics, reported Europa Press on 9 March 2017. The Spanish National Court, a High State Court directly under the Supreme Court that […]

Ukraine: Russian Eurovision contestant banned over performance in Crimea

Ukraine’s security service has banned Russian singer Julia Samoilova from entering the country for the next three years due to her giving a performance in Crimea in 2015, thus not allowing her to compete in European song contest Eurovison taking place in capital Kiev in May 2017, reported BBC on 22 March 2017. Geneva-based Eurovision […]

Tanzania: Rapper released after being detained over song

Tanzanian popular rapper Ney wa Mitego (real name Emmanuel Elibariki) was released on 27 March 2017 without charges from police custody after he was held for nearly two days for his new song, ‘WAPO (They are There)’, which allegedly ridiculed the government. Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Harrison Mwakyembe said Tanzanian President John […]

Mexico: Narcocorrido musician killed for singing to the wrong cartel

On 3 March 2017, Rolando Arellano Sánchez, a member of the narcocorrido band Contacto, was shot and killed by cartel members who were waiting for him outside the house of another member of the band in Tijuana city, reported Univision on 5 March 2017. Sánchez, the 22-year-old guitarist and back-up vocalist of the band, was […]

India: Two female singers threatened by radicals and clerics

As many as 46 clerics and Islamic organisations in the north-eastern state of Assam issued a fatwa banning teen female singer Nahid Afrin from singing at a musical show on 25 March. The fatwa comes just days after reports revealed that another female singer, Suhana Syed, has been receiving threats from radical Islamists for singing […]

Pakistan: Police ban music at weddings in village

Police in the village of Mattani, a suburb of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province capital Peshawar in northern Pakistan, have banned all music from wedding ceremonies, reported Pakistan’s Express Tribune on 13 March 2017. A local villager told the newspaper that police are not only stopping events, raiding homes that host such banned events, and arresting […]

Nigeria: Singer arrested, out on bail for releasing uncensored song

Singer Sadiq Zazzabi (real name: Sadiq Usman Saleh) was released on bail on 6 March 2017 after having been detained since 1 March 2017 for allegedly releasing a song before receiving approval from the Kano State Censorship Board in the country’s north, reported Nigerian newspaper Premium Times on 6 March 2017. The newspaper reported on […]

Israel: Gazan singer on conditional release by Hamas authorities

On 25 January 2017, Hamas authorities in Gaza released singer-comedian Adel al-Mashwakhi on bail after having been arrested and in prison since 11 January 2017 for a video he posted on his Facebook page, reported Minneapolis Star Tribune on 26 January 2017. Al-Mashwakhi said his release was conditional upon him no longer making “politically flavoured” […]

Saudi Arabia: Music video and government initiatives split society

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

Pakistan: Singer interrupts show to rescue woman from harassment

Pakistani singer and actor Atif Aslam briefly stopped his concert in Karachi on 14 January 2017 to rescue a female audience member who was being harassed by having security staff pull her up on stage and finding her a safer place to enjoy the show, reported Hindustan Times on 16 January 2017. Aslaf issued a […]

Tanzania: Artists’ trial postponed for a fifth time

The case against Tanzanian musician Mwana Cotide and music producer Mussa Sikabwe has once again been postponed until 9 March 2017. This is the fifth time their trial date has been pushed. The two artists were initially set to face trial on 12 October 2016 on charges of producing, singing and distributing a song called […]

Qatar: Playing with the censors

The state of Qatar is young and old at the same time, immersed in both modernity and tradition. Governed by strict Islamic principles under the supreme power of the emir, Qatar is a place where freedom of speech is very limited, and where artistic expression risks being banned or censored due to its religious content […]

Argentina: City mayor suspends all electronic music festivals

Mar del Plata mayor, Carlos Arroyo, issued a decree on 10 January 2017 suspending all electronic festivals in response to drug-related deaths in various Argentinian cities. The measure also reportedly aims at preventing drug consumption and reducing the number of clandestine raves, reported El Marplatense on 10 January 2017. The measure was announced despite the […]

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 […]

Azerbaijan: Rapper’s family detained over music video

Azerbaijani authorities detained rapper Jamal Ali’s mother, uncle and two cousins for four days after Ali released an online music video critical of the government, reported Eurasianet on 9 January 2017. The video for song ‘Heykal Baba’ (Monument Grandpa) was released on 31 December 2016 and was dedicated to two young activists who are serving […]

Iran: Band banned from festival due to women singing solo

Kurdish band Dayrak Khatoon was banned from performing at the International Festival of Tribal Music in Kermanshah, in western Iran, due to the band including women who also sing solo, reported Kurdistan Human Rights Network on 22 January 2017. The organisation reported that a critical article was published in Marsad News accusing the band of […]

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 […]

USA: Artists arrested, banned, receive death threats related to Trump actions

Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli and US singer Jennifer Holliday both backed out from performing at the US presidential inauguration of Donald Trump just days before the event revealing they received death threats if they went ahead with their performances, reported Daily Mail on 15 January 2017. “They were saying I should kill myself or […]

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 […]

Afghanistan: Zohra receives Freemuse Award: “This can inspire young women”

A packed concert hall in Geneva witnessed concert master Marjan Fidaee receive the 2017 Freemuse Award on behalf of Zohra, the Afghan Women’s Orchestra, on 25 January 2017. In her acceptance speech Marjan Fidaee said, “The award was not only for the Zohra orchestra but for all Afghanistan.” Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder of the Afghanistan […]

USA: Rapper sues city, police over “unlawful” arrest for rap lyrics

Rapper Tiny Doo (real name: Brandon Duncan) filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego and two police officers on 10 January 2017 for what he claims was his unlawful arrest in July 2014 on gang conspiracy charges.    The charges were based on rap lyrics about shootings and gang activity featured on Tiny […]

Zohra – The Afghan Women’s Orchestra – is winner of Freemuse Award 2017

Zohra, the winner of the Freemuse Award 2017, is the first and only all women orchestra in Afghanistan. They are students at the National Institute of Music (ANIM) and the first women in their families, community and country to learn music in over 30 years. “With exceptional courage and dedication these young women are breaking […]

China: Ministry of Culture allegedly blacklists 55 artists

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

Zambia: Hounded singer remains defiant

by Phoenix Gauthier, Freemuse correspondent On 11 August 2016, incumbent Zambian president Edgar Lungu squeezed out a controversial victory in the general elections, taking 50.35% of the votes. In the months that followed, Zambia experienced its worst attacks on press freedom in years. Three of its media outlets were suspended, including Muvi TV, the southern […]

Burundi: Music censorship or artist protection?

Since a political crisis hit Burundi in May 2015, tensions have been high between the powers that be and the opposition; the media and civil society have all been involved in this polarising battle; and it seems that the newest victims of this battle are local musicians who now need to pass a “quality test” […]

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 […]

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

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

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. […]

Turkey: The Freemuse Files on Censorship of the Arts

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

Argentina: German electronic band’s concert re-instated after appeal

Authorities in Buenos Aires denied German electronic band Kraftwerk a permit for their performance scheduled for 23 November 2016 due to their use of synthesizers in their show; an instrument included in a judicial ban enacted earlier in the year on electronic festivals. A few days later, the concert’s promoters appealed the decision and a […]

Iran: Imprisoned musician’s health deteriorating

Imprisoned Iranian musician and music distributor Mehdi Rajabian communicated via social media on 3 December 2016 that his health condition continues to worsen, despite him being granted a four-day furlough for medical treatment. In his Instagram post from 3 December, Mehdi said: They want me to go back to Prison tomorrow, while I haven’t been […]

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, […]

Iran: Imprisoned musician granted four-day medical leave

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

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

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

Norway/Russia: Musician cuts song from concert due to Russian pressure

The Russian Consulate General in Kirkenes, a town in north-eastern Norway near the Russian border, has interfered with a literature festival in the area by voicing its concern over a sold-out concert to be held on 17 November 2016 by Norwegian folk musician Moddi and Russian Arkhangelsk Chamber Orchestra, reported The Barents Observer on 15 […]

Iran: Artists’ medical condition on hunger strike growing worse

Musician Mehdi Rajabian and his brother, filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, began their second hunger strike on 28 October 2016, since being imprisoned on 5 June 2016, demanding they receive a medical furlough for their increasingly severe medical conditions, which are growing more severe as a result of the hunger strike, reported International Campaign for Human Rights […]

Pakistan: Two suspects arrested over musician’s murder

Two men suspected of killing Amjad Sabri, one of Pakistan’s most famous singers, among other high-profile killings, were arrested by police as part of a city-wide crackdown in Karachi that netted dozens of arrests after a spate of sectarian shootings that left five dead in late October, reported Reuters on 7 November 2016. Sindh province […]

Germany: Foreign ministry cancels controversial concert at consulate in Istanbul

Germany’s foreign ministry cancelled a 13 November 2016 Dresden Symphony Orchestra performance of ‘Aghet’, commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, scheduled to take place at the German consulate in Istanbul, reported Deutsche Welle on 25 October 2016. The ministry said in a short message that “the whole consulate in Istanbul is not available […]

Angola: Rappers’ concerts cancelled, one shut down by police

Rappers Ikonoklasta (real name: Luaty Beirão) and MCK planned to hold joint concert ‘Ikopongo’ on 5 November 2016 at a venue in Angolan capital Luanda, but had to reschedule the event for the next day at a different venue after management cancelled the show; the relocated show was then shut down by police, reported Deutsche […]

Freemuse calls for charges dropped against Tanzanian musicians ahead of trial

Musician Mwana Cotide (real name: Fulgency Mapunda) and music producer Mussa Sikabwe are set to go trial on 9 November 2016 on charges that their recent song ‘Dikteta Uchwara’ (Petty Dictator) contains “seditious and offensive” content towards Tanzanian President John Magufuli. The artists are also charged with “distributing the song with intent to offend” the […]

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 […]

France: TV channel censors political message on rapper’s T-shirt in new video

In an act that sparked public outrage on social media, French TV channel W9 decided to blur out rapper Black M’s T-shirt when airing his new video for his song ‘Je Suis Chez Moi’ due to a political message referring to a controversial death under police custody, reported Le Parisien on 19 September 2016. The […]

Israel: Culture minister and activists call for cancellation of Palestinian rapper’s performance

Israel’s controversial Minister of Culture Miri Regev tried to persuade the city of Haifa and its mayor to cancel Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar’s performance at the 32nd annual Haifa Film Festival due to his stance on Israel, reported The Times of Israel on 18 October 2016. Regev’s letter followed warnings from Likud party activists who said […]

New Zealand: Court overturns ban on 2014 political parody song

New Zealand’s Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision to reverse the ban placed on Darren Watson’s song, ‘Planet Key’, and its accompanying animated video by Jeremy Jones, which were released during New Zealand’s 2014 general election and seen as political advertising rather than a parody on Prime Minister John Key, reported New […]

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 […]

Lebanon: Backlash mounts after psychedelic music festival

The Hexaplex psychedelic music festival held from 1-4 September 2016 at a camping site in Chahtoul, Lebanon, 35 kilometres north of capital Beirut, has been receiving backlash from the local Christian community, politicians and general public who claim festivalgoers participated in acts contrary to their religious, cultural and social norms and values, including the use […]

Police, drug law and non-state actors pose threat to artistic freedom in Tunisia

COPENHAGEN, 20 OCTOBER 2016 | In Tunisia, the country’s 2014 constitution guarantees the right to artistic freedom. Despite such guarantees, artistic freedom is not fully upheld and protected. Artists, often rappers, are exposed to threats, assaults, prosecution and imprisonment by Tunisian authorities, terrorist groups and other non-state actors, according to a new stakeholder submission to the […]

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

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

Moroccan artists persecuted, imprisoned when crossing red lines: UPR report

Morocco should replace unclear and vague provisions in the Penal Code and decriminalize the so-called “red line” offenses, according to a new joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process by Freemuse and Racines – two civil society organizations defending artistic freedom in Morocco and globally. COPENHAGEN/CASABLANCA, 17 OCTOBER 2016 | Morocco often […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

Tanzanian musician Mwana Cotide (real name: Fulgency Mapunda) and music producer Mussa Sikabwe 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 […]

Germany/Netherlands: Faroese metal band shows cancelled over whaling

Viking heavy metal band, Týr, from the Faroe Islands, have had at least six concerts of their 17-date November European tour supporting Norwegian metal band Sirenia cancelled over lead singer Heri Joensen’s participation in the Faroese practice of whaling. According to heavy metal news site MetalTalk.net on 30 August 2016, venue owners of club Logo […]

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 […]

Vietnam: Popular music and censorship

The Vietnamese state operates a thorough system of music censorship, and the few songwriters who dare to directly challenge the authority of the Vietnamese Communist Party or its policies face serious consequences. Focusing on popular musicians, this article charts the history of music censorship in Vietnam from the mid twentieth century through to the current digital era. […]

Ukraine: Government to bar blacklisted Russian singers in European song contest

The Ukrainian government said on 9 September 2016 that it would deny entry into the country to blacklisted Russian singers competing for the 62nd Eurovision contest set to take place in capital Kiev in May 2017 if they are found to support the separatist cause stemming from Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, reported Reuters on 9 […]

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

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

USA: Christian music festival drops band due to gay singer

Christian band Everyday Sunday was dropped from northern California Christian music festival Joshua Fest as 11 production staff threatened to walk out if the recently out lead singer of the band, Trey Pearson, took the stage, reported Billboard on 12 September 2016. Joshua Fest owner Aaron Diello said that his production manager told him that out […]

Australia: Singer received death threats after asking group to stop using songs

Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes revealed on ABC’s Q&A show on 19 September 2016 that he and his family were sent death threats after he asked anti-immigration groups to stop using his songs at their rallies because he didn’t want him or his music to be “associated with hate speech”, reported The Sydney Morning Herald […]

Somalia: Concert cancelled for “objectionable” shows in Europe

A concert with singer Nasteexo Indho, along with DJ Subeer and the singers from Stars of the Horn, was cancelled one hour before it was scheduled to begin on 13 August 2016 in Hargeisa as armed soldiers surrounded the DJ and a young TV cameraman, informing them of the cancellation and that Nasteexo would be […]

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 […]

Greece: Artistic freedom at stake

Censorship incidents and controversies over artworks have multiplied over the last few years in Greece, particularly since the crisis hit the country in 2008. At the same time, legal controversies over blasphemous and obscene publications continue while hate crimes are on the rise, as exemplified by the murder of young rapper Fyssas in 2014.   […]

Iran: Jailed artists go on hunger strike

According to Freemuse sources, musician Mehdi Rajabian and his brother, filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, have gone on hunger strike as of 7 September 2016 to protest against prison authorities not granting Mehdi a promised furlough to seek medical attention for a spreading infection and for separating them by moving Mehdi, while still ill, to the section […]

USA: Schools reverse radio station ban on buses

Portland Public Schools in the capital of US western state Oregon have gone back on their ban of particular radio stations on public school buses, which included radio stations playing rap music, reported Oregon Live on 30 August 2016. A memo sent out by director of student transportation Teri Brady on 9 March 2016 listed […]

Mauritania: Rapper harassed and attacked by police

Police stopped Mauritanian rapper Yëro Gaynääko (real name Yéro Abdoulaye Sow) on 16 August 2016 while on the road back to the capital Nouakchott, forcibly removing the rapper out of the car, accusing him of being drugged and taking him to a police station where he was assaulted and verbally abused, reported human rights organisation […]

Sierra Leone: Musician allegedly censored due to political song

Popular musician Emmerson Bockarie claims the government has banned him from playing a concert in Sierra Leone capital Freetown and a radio DJ has said that his station manager told him to not play the artist’s latest hit ‘Munku Boss Pan Matches’ (‘A Kid in a Candy Store’), a 15-minute song that criticises the government […]

Burundi: Musician received death threats ahead of trip home

Burundian musician Kidum Kibido (real name Jean-Pierre Nimbona) said he received death threats via social media in advance of returning home for a performance in capital Bujumbura that took place on 3 September 2016, reported The Rwanda Focus on 16 August 2016. The musician, who fled Burundi in 1995 due to political instability and made […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Turkey: Singer’s concerts cancelled due to coup-related remarks

The Turkish government cancelled four concerts by pop star Sıla Gençoğlu over comments she made about a democracy rally held in Istanbul on 7 August 2016 in the aftermath of an attempted coup that happened a month earlier, reported Hurriyet Daily News on 11 August 2016.  “I am absolutely against the coup, but I prefer […]

Sweden: Metal band allegedly receives threats after cancelling gig

Swedish metal band Black Ingvars have reported receiving multiple anonymous death threats after they decided to pull out of a summer festival organised by far-right, nationalist party Swedish Democrats, reported Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet on 8 August 2016. “I have received emails where people write that they hope I’ll die in a car crash or suffer […]

Germany: Music festival attacked by suicide bomber

A 27-year-old Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up outside an open air music festival in the southern German town of Ansbach on 24 July 2016 after security guards turned him away for not having a ticket, reported The Guardian on 25 July 2016. The incident happened on the final evening of the three-day Ansbach Open […]

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

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

Uzbekistan: Suspended artists and instrument bans

Ever-tightening restrictions on musicians and artists continue to take their toll in Uzbekistan as state-run arts association Uzbeknavo revoked the licenses of three pop artists for holding performances abroad to lacklustre audience numbers, reported Uzbek news outlet UZ24 on 20 July 2016. Uzbeknavo license department head Odiljon Abdukahhar said the association stripped singers Sitora Farmonova, […]

Malaysia: Rapper threatened with censorship and arrest

Police plan to arrest rapper Namewee (real name Wee Meng Chee) when he returns to Malaysia over his recent video for a song he performed with Taiwanese hip hop trio Jiu Yi Yi (Nine One One) called ‘Oh My God’, which has allegedly insulted religion, reported Free Malaysia Today on 2 August 2016. Penang police […]

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 […]

Pakistan: Music returns to region amid scepticism

The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the north-western region of Pakistan, announced a fund to support 500 artists, including musicians, in the area by giving them $300 USD per month to create and practice their art, reported Al Jazeera on 27 May 2016. Apart from the fund, the government is also planning on spending $5 […]

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’ […]

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 […]

Somalia: Security forces arrest musician

Security forces in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, arrested musician Farhan Hidig (Farxaan Xidig) in late June 2016 due to him visiting Mogadishu and remains in custody, according to Freemuse sources. According to local media sources the musician was arrested in connection to his political activity. Somaliland authorities have not commented yet on Hidig’s arrest. While […]

Saudi Arabia: Emir bans playing and carrying of musical instruments in region

Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal of the eastern region of Makkah banned the playing and carrying of musical instruments, headphones and speakers in public places within all governorates in the region on 16 June 2016, reported several local news sources, including the Saudi Gazette, Emirates 24/7 and Gulf Digital News, on 16 June 2016. The directive […]

Ukraine: Belarusian singer denied entry due to Crimea concert

Belarusian singer Max Korzh was denied entry into Ukraine on 17 February 2016 where he was due to go on his five-city tour in the country in early March, reported BBC Ukraine on 26 February 2016. While organisers said the tour would be postponed until later in the year, press secretary for Ukraine’s security service […]

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 […]

Poland: Ukrainian band stopped at border due to local threats

Polish authorities did not let Ukrainian band Ot Vinta cross the border into Poland as local hard-core football fans known as Ultras threatened to stage mass riots and burn down the stage the band was set to perform on if they were let into the country. The band was scheduled to play in a festival […]

China: American singer banned due to Dalai Lama meeting

American pop star Lady Gaga is the latest addition to the ever-growing list of artists banned by China for their meetings with the Dalai Lama or stances on Tibet, reported The Guardian on 28 June 2016. The singer met with the Dalai Lama on 26 June 2016 at the US Conference of Mayors for approximately […]

Nigeria: Musician kidnapped, found, later detained allegedly due to song

Musician Ado Daukaka was abducted in Adamawa State in north-eastern Nigeria in the early hours of 25 June 2016 just after the release of his latest anti-corruption song ‘Gyara Kayanka’ (‘Put your house in order’), and found five days later on 29 June 2016 unconscious in some bushes 80 kilometres away from state capital of […]

Chile/USA: Former military officer convicted for murdering singer Victor Jara

On 27 June 2016, a jury in Orlando, USA, ordered the former Chilean military officer Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez to pay US$28 million in damages to Chilean singer Victor Jara’s widow and daughters. The court found the 67-year-old former senior military officer, who lives in the US, liable for the torture and murder of the […]

Pakistan: Famed Sufi singer killed in drive-by shooting

Freemuse calls for counter narratives to religious extremism On 22 June 2016, one of Pakistan’s most famous singers Amjad Sabri died in the port town of Karachi after two gunmen on a motorbike shot the singer in his car just a kilometre after leaving his home. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the killing, reported […]

Turkey: Music fans attacked at Radiohead store event

Music fans enjoying a special worldwide release event on 17 June 2016 for rock band Radiohead’s latest album at record store Velvet Indieground in the Cihangir district of Istanbul were attacked by a mob of about 20 men who took offense to people listening to music and drinking alcohol during Ramadan, reported The Guardian 18 […]

Nigeria: Singer’s songs banned by DJ association after on-stage slap

The Nigerian Association of Deejays (DJAN) lifted its ban on Terry G’s songs after the singer publicly apologised for slapping DJ Phriz on stage at a show in a Lagos club on 5 June 2016, reported Nigerian online news source Pulse on 21 June 2016. On 8 June 2016, Pulse reported that DJAN, an association […]

South Sudan: Minister bans foreign music on radio station

Joseph Natale Subuni, the minister of information and communications of the newly created Gbudwe State in South Sudan, banned the playing of foreign music over local Yambio FM radio while giving a public commemoration speech, reported Paris-based news site Sudan Tribune on 16 May 2016. “With effect from now, no more playing foreign music over […]

Ghana: Music union calls for regulation on obscene lyrics

The Musician Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) has urged musicians to refrain from using profane and obscene lyrics in their songs, asked radio and tv station operators to act as gatekeepers in this regard, and called upon Parliament to step in where the National Media Commission has failed to regulate what music goes on the airwaves, […]

Gambia: Music banned during Ramadan

A Gambian state police statement issued on 6 June 2016 announced a ban on music, drumming and dance in “all ceremonies, festivities and programmes” taking place, day or night, during the holy month of Ramadan, reported Nigerian newspaper Punch on 9 June 2016. The statement warned that “all those engaged” in playing music or dance […]

Georgia: Conservative religious group disrupts rock festival

A group of priests and conservative Orthodox Christian activists attempted to violently shut down the annual Tbilisi JAM Fest, a two-day, open-air international rock festival on the outskirts of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, reported Georgia Today on 5 June 2016. The group showed up at the festival location on 4 June 2016 in the Zahesi suburbs […]

Egypt: Heavy metal concert cancelled, three arrested

Concert promoter and musician Nader Sadek, along with two others, were arrested by Giza police when they stopped a heavy metal concert on 4 June 2016 featuring Brazilian band Sepultura before it even started due to a lack of permits, reported Ahram Online on 5 June 2016. Head of the Giza Security Directorate General Ahmed […]

Iran: Eight producers arrested for “obscene” music videos

Eight producers of music videos broadcasted on Persian-language satellite networks outside Iran have been arrested, reported Iranian judiciary news agency Mizan Online on 28 May 2016. According to Tehran prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi the videos were “obscene” and “broadcast on a famous anti-revolutionary television channel” and added that a special court for media and […]

Iran: Musician and filmmaker imprisoned

According to Freemuse sources, musician Mehdi Rajabian and his brother, filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, were imprisoned for their art on 5 June 2016. They have been convicted to three years imprisonment. Please help us in getting the charges dropped against the two artists and freeing Mehdi and Hossein by taking action and sharing the video below and using the […]

Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker summoned to prison

A summons order issued on 27 May 2016 by Iranian authorities requires musicians Mehdi Rajabian, Yousef Emadi and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian to turn themselves in to prison by 31 May 2016 to serve out their three-year sentences. The summons orders them to report to the Office of the Prosecutor at Tehran’s Evin Prison. “Art is […]

France: Music festivals cancel Eagles of Death Metal performances

Music festival organisers in France have cancelled performances by the American band Eagles of Death Metal following controversial remarks by its frontman, reported various international news providers. The band’s Bataclan concert in Paris in November 2015 was attacked by terrorists, who shot and killed 89 people there. Eagles of Death Metal’s leadsinger Jesse Hughes had […]

Afghanistan: Kandahar authorities ban broadcast of songs by women

Local Ministry of Information and Culture authorities in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan have banned women’s songs from being broadcast across local media, directly affecting the 11 radio stations in operation in the area, reported Afghanistan’s TOLONews on 23 May 2016. Head of Wranga Radio in Kandahar told TOLONews that “local officials in Kandahar […]

Iran: Concerts cancelled under pressure from religious conservatives

This article on cancelled concerts and the nebulous state of artistic freedom due to opposing viewpoints between religious conservatives and the government in Iran was originally published by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on 19 May 2016, who have kindly allowed Freemuse to republish it here: Concerts of Popular Iranian Musicians Cancelled Due […]

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 […]

France: Mayor cancels WWI centenary concert over rapper’s “anti-France” lyrics

Verdun city mayor Samuel Hazard cancelled French rapper Black M’s concert commemorating the 100-year anniversary of WWI’s Battle of Verdun due to protests fuelled by far-right website’s fdesouche.com post on the rapper’s “anti-France” and homophobic lyrics, reported French radio station RFI on 14 May 2016. The site, along with National Front party members, in particular […]

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 […]

INSIGHT 2015 publication: Targeting the arts

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

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 […]

Egypt: Radio station bans mahraganat song

Ahmed Sameer, president of Cairo’s Nagham FM radio station, has banned Mahmoud al-Laithi and female singer Bossi’s mahraganat song ‘Bonbonaia’ (meaning candy) from the station, reported Youm7.com on 18 April 2016. Sameer’s order came after Ahmed al-Shenawi’s show ‘My Beloved People’ aired the song, which Sameer said contained explicit lyrics that “do not match Egyptian […]

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 […]

Jordan: Concert by Israeli musician in Wadi Rum cancelled

Israeli musician Nadav Dagon cancelled his appearance at a three-day music festival scheduled from 7-9 April 2016 in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert after outcry against the performance surfaced on social media, reaching several parts of Jordan’s society and political groups, reported The Jerusalem Post on 4 April 2016. A group of members of parliament signed a […]

Germany: Comedian faces potential prosecution for criticising Turkish president

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

Indonesia: West Aceh bans outdoor concerts

The regency of West Aceh has banned all outdoor concerts based on a recommendation from a group of Muslim scholars trained in Shari’a law, reported The Sydney Morning Herald on 7 April 2016. Ulema, the body of scholars, believed that outdoor concerts had “more disadvantages than advantages”, leading West Aceh regent Teuku Alaidinsyah to no […]

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 […]

Artistic freedom in Zimbabwe: Joint stakeholder report submitted to the UN

Zimbabwe should abolish its Censorship Act and any prior-censorship bodies or systems, according to a joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR) by Freemuse and Nhimbe – two civil society organisations defending artistic freedom in Zimbabwe and globally. COPENHAGEN/BULAWAYO, 31 MARCH 2016 | Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution guarantees the right to freedom […]

Angola: Rapper Luaty Beirão sentenced to over five years in prison

On 28 March 2016, the prominent Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for planning a rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, reported several news sources. 34-year-old Luaty Beirão was sentenced to 5.5 years for “rebellion against the president of the republic, criminal association and falsifying documents” by the Luanda […]

USA: Rapper sent back to prison for allegedly threatening attorney in song

Rapper and alleged gang member Sean Chung, who was out on bail for murder conspiracy and gun charges, was sent back to prison on 22 February 2016 for a song he posted on YouTube in November 2015 in which he allegedly threatened a Queens, New York district attorney, reported New York Daily News on 7 […]

Cuba: Artists and activists detained for eight hours

During the American president’s visit to the country, Cuba has seen a crack-down on the opposition and activists. Two artists, rock musician Gorki and visual street artist El Sexto, were arrested on 20 March 2016 along with several other demonstrators from Damas de Blanco – the Ladies in White – during a pro-democracy demonstration. The incident took […]

Iran: Musical instruments still not allowed on Iranian tv

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting blurred the musicians playing instruments, reported journalismisnotacrime.com on 12 February 2016. Families around Iran were told they were in for a treat: Iran’s state tv announced it would broadcast a concert by the popular Iranian singer Salar Aghili. But when it came to the event, very little of the concert […]

Turkey: ‘Rocking imam’ blocked from singing in Portugal

Turkish imam and rock musician Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer has been denied permission to give a concert in Portugal by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, reported several news media on 1 March 2016. Known in Turkey as the “Rockin’ Imam”, Ahmet Muhsin is the imam in the town of Kas, a tiny hamlet on […]

Burundi: Musician detained for insulting head of state

Cedric Bangirinama, a musician also known as Bangy, was arrested on 27 January 2016 by SNR agents from Burundi’s national intelligence service for statements he made on his personal Facebook account that were deemed “insulting to the head of state”, French-language Burundi news portal Iwacu reported on 2 February 2016. Witnesses say they saw agents […]

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 […]

Mexico: Two more states ban narcocorridos

The governors of the states of Sinaloa and Coahuila are imposing restrictions on public performances of narcocorridos and movimiento alterado artists, joining the state of Chihuahua, which was the first state in the newest round to ban narcocorridos beginning in 2015. There are now three states in Mexico imposing limitations to these music genres, which […]

Egypt: Fear of heavy metal returns

Recent controversies in Egypt over heavy metal music continue to highlight findings in the 2010 Freemuse report “Headbanging against Repressive Regimes”, wherein the music and its fans remain misunderstood and victims of conservative policies and societies. Freemuse Egypt stringer, Shahira Amin, explains the recent events around heavy metal concerts, the role of the Musicians Syndicate and its […]

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 […]

Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker sentenced

Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals Court has issued their final judgment on Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, sentencing each of the three artists to three years in prison, three years probation and a 200 million rial (about  USD 6,600) fine, reported the Human Rights Activists News Agency on 29 February 2016. According to a source of […]

Egypt: Mahraganat artists challenge limits

For many youngsters in Egypt, mahraganat artists represent the voice of the people. They address social issues, relationships and drug problems. They operate in a landscape of recognition, occasional public and self-censorship and the consequences of the newly suggested committee for “the development of morals and conscience and the promotion of work ethics and values […]

Iran: Singer banned from tv and festival

Salar Aghili has been banned from appearing on Iranian television and performing in the country’s Fajr International Music Festival, reported human rights organisation journalismisnotacrime.com on 26 January 2016. The famous singer was banned due to his appearance on Manoto TV, a Persian-language satellite channel based in London. Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati […]

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

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

Egypt five years after the revolution: Artistic freedom is stifled

In the wake of a security clampdown on free expression since the military takeover of the country in July 2013, rights advocates lament that the space for free artistic expression and creativity has diminished in Egypt as restrictions on art and literary works that address politics, sex and religion, remain firmly in place.  By Shahira […]

Egypt: Arts unions granted legal powers to self-police

On 9 November 2015 Minister of Justice Ahmed El-Zend granted judicial police status, or “Al Dabtia Al Kadaeia”, to both the musician’s and actor’s trade unions, effectively meaning that unions members can now legally police and regulate themselves, reported news site Dotmsr.com The controversial decision was further compounded when, on the same day, El-Zend conferred […]

Ukraine: Italian opera singer cancels concerts in Crimea

After the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture said on 18 January 2016 that it would cancel Italian opera singer Alessandro Safina’s concerts in the country since he also scheduled performances in Crimea, the singer announced on 22 January 2016 that he would cancel his two dates in the contested region, reported Ukraine Today. Safina said he […]

Egypt: Government cancels concert marking revolution anniversary

The band Elawela Balady posted on its Facebook page that they were informed by the Ministry of State of Antiquities to cancel a concert they had scheduled on 24 January 2016 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, reported The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. The cancellation comes despite the fact […]

Turkey: Children’s play banned due to “inappropriate” song

A play that has been staged for children for the last 14 years was banned in the Çankaya District Directorate of Education of Turkey’s capital Ankara for having one song deemed “inappropriate”, reported Today’s Zaman on 14 January 2016. Playwright Serap Gültekin told newspaper Radikal that the application to stage her play ‘My Chess Pieces’ […]

China: Singers banned for nationalist statements and actions

Taiwanese-born singer Michael Huang’s songs and appearances on shows have been banned on Taiwanese media after he made critical comments against a teen pop star holding up the island’s flag during her appearance on a TV show, reported Now K Pop. On 8 January 2016 Huang posted a message on popular Chinese micro-blogging site Sina […]

Egypt: Singer released after paying bail on contempt of religion charges

Shaaban Abdel Rahim, famed and controversial Egyptian folklore singer, was under legal and public attacks for the Youtube release of a video of him singing Qur’an lyrics while wearing the religious clothing of Al-Azhar clerics, which landed him in jail, reported The Cairo Post. Attorney Mohammed Kamal filed a claim in October 2015 against Abdel […]

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

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

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 […]

Nigeria: Singer detained for song critical of politician

Singer Baba Iyali was arrested on 9 January 2016 in the Adamawa state in north-eastern Nigeria for a song he recently released criticising the speaker of the Adamawa state house of assembly, Kabiru Mijinyawa. This was reported by the online news site The Whistle. The singer remains in detention in police headquarters in reportedly inhuman […]

Indonesia: Punk documentary released worldwide

In Banda Aceh, on the northwestern tip of the island of Sumatra, there is a small and often misunderstood group of punks that have become labelled as a “social disease” as Shari’a law continues to grow over the last 10 years since the Indian Ocean tsunami. ‘Street Punk! Banda Aceh ’, a documentary just released […]

Iran: Musicians call for lifting concert ban

A group of musicians and artists have written to the governor of the Razavi Khorosan province in northeastern Iran to remove the ban on music concerts in Mashhad, the province’s capital and the country’s second most populous city, reported Radio Zamaneh. The musicians and artists state in the letter that the current ban will lead to […]

 

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