Germany: Right-wing groups protest installation in Dresden, threaten mayor

The unveiling of artist Manaf Halbouni’s ‘Monument’, a peace memorial inspired by the Syrian war consisting of three buses standing upright on their ends beside the Frauenkirche church in Dresden, drew protests from right-wing groups from the AfD (Alternative for Germany) nationalist party and PEGIDA movement, reported Deutsche Welle on 7 February 2017. Additionally, Dresden […]

Venezuela: Catholic universities ban transgender film, filmmakers say

The production crew of film ‘Tamara’ in a public statement reported that Catholic University Andrés Bello (UCAB) and Catholic University Santa Rosa (UCSAR) refused to screen their film as they considered it a piece of “transsexual propaganda”, reported Venezuelan newspaper 2001 on 6 March 2017.   The film is inspired by the life of Tamara […]

Tunisia: Imams call for removal of play poster

‘Alhakumu At-Takathur’ (Miscarriage) play director Nejib Khalfallah was forced to censor the play’s poster after being verbally attacked by Islamists and conservatives for using part of a Qur’anic verse in the title, reported The Arab Weekly on 26 February 2017. On 16 February, Tunisian National Theatre (TNT) received a warning from the National Union Council […]

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 […]

Lebanon: Religious believer blacked out of film

Lebanese-French filmmaker Philippe Aractingi expected his latest film ‘Ismaii’ (Listen) to be censored due to some sex scenes in the film, however only one scene in the film was censored by covering a Druze cleric with a black mark, reported French news outlet Courrier International on 8 February 2017. Though the film received approval from […]

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, […]

United Kingdom: Paintings stolen and vandalised; death threats received

Artist Russell Haines and members of the clergy of Gloucester Cathedral received anonymous death threats and accusations of blasphemy after several of Haines’ paintings, which were part of an exhibition held in the cathedral portraying people from a wide range of religious beliefs, were stolen or vandalised, reported The Guardian on 12 February 2017. Haines […]

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 […]

Pakistan: Scores killed during devotional activities at Sufi shrine

At least 88 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured, on 16 February 2017 after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a crowded Sufi shrine in Sehwan, a town in the southern province in Sindh, reported The Guardian on 17 February 2017. “The explosion took place when a large number of people were […]

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 […]

India: Mural erased from festival after far-right group’s protest

On 26 December 2016, the last day of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s (IIT-B) Mood Indigo cultural festival, dozens of protestors from far-right political party Shiv Sena entered the campus and demanded a mural depicting a modern version of Hindu god Hanuman be erased from the wall, reported The Indian Express on 26 December […]

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 […]

Israel: Art featuring ministers stirs controversy

Two recent displays of art featuring Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have caused renewed uproar over art and freedom of expression in the major cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Controversy erupted at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem after a provocative poster featuring Netanyahu with a hangman’s noose was displayed at […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Spain: Theatre organisers cancel show under interest group pressure

Three theatre organisers who were putting together multi-day event ‘Night of the Dead 2016’ in Águilas, a Spanish coastal town, decided to cancel all scheduled Halloween activities after an association that defends mentally ill people and their families filed a complaint to the city’s town hall over one of the play’s representations of mentally ill […]

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 […]

Bolivia: Feminist mural criticising church and state censored

On 12 October 2016, a group of unidentified people painted over a mural just one day after it had been finished and displayed on the façade of the Museo Nacional de Arte (National Art Museum) in La Paz, Bolivia, because the group was strongly offended by its negative and graphic portrayal of two core Bolivian […]

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 […]

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Play goes on after public persuades organisers

Theatregoers at the 56th annual MESS festival in Sarajevo persuaded festival organisers to not cave under pressure from Catholics and Muslims, or give in to threats from violent groups, and put on controversial director Oliver Frljic’s play ‘Our Violence and Your Violence’, reported The Washington Post on 10 October 2016. Bosnian Cardinal Vink Puljic filed […]

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 […]

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 […]

India/Pakistan: Films, actors, tv shows banned amidst Kashmir tensions

In a retaliatory exchange, Pakistan banned Indian films, tv shows and channels after India banned Pakistani actors and technicians from working on Indian films, as a response to deadly attacks over Kashmir that began on 19 September 2016. On 30 September 2016, the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) decided at an annual general meeting […]

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 […]

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 […]

India: Artists struggle with censors over LGBT and other themes

In recent months filmmakers and playwrights have been challenging Indian certification boards after works focusing on LGBT, political and religious themes have come under fire by censors, especially at a time when nationalist ideas and groups are gaining traction in the public and political spheres. LGBT themes in film India’s Central Board of Film Certification […]

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 […]

China: Actor fired from film for “vague” Taiwan stance

Taiwanese actor Leon Dai, who played the lead character in Chinese romance ‘No Other Love’, was fired from the film for his alleged support of Taiwanese independence, reported Variety on 15 July 2016. In a statement, the film’s director Zhao Wei and investors apologised “for hiring the wrong person” and stated they were not “satisfied” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

USA: Airline shows film with cut lesbian kissing scenes

US-based Delta Airlines has been drawing controversy for showing an edited version of Academy Award-nominated film ‘Carol’ on flights that cuts out kissing scenes between the film’s two female leads, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, reported The Independent on 8 August 2016. Airline spokesperson Liz Savadelis told LGBT magazine AfterEllen on 4 August 2016 that the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Turkey: Local man smashes “obscene” sculpture

A wooden sculpture by Amancio Gonzalez Andres entitled ‘Musician’ featured at the Izmirspor metro station in western Turkey was smashed by a local man who called the statue “obscene”, Hurriyet News reported on 27 May 2016. Sculptor Andres told Birgün newspaper on 27 May 2016 he condemned the attack on his art piece and that […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Iran: Actress attacked at film screening

Fatemeh Motamed-Aria, one of Iran’s most famous actresses, was attacked by religious hardliners at a screening of her movie ‘Yahya Did Not Stay Silent’ on 29 January 2016, according to The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The actress joined the director and cast of the movie in Kashan, a city in the Isfahan […]

Iraq: Boy beheaded for listening to Western music

According to ARA News, Islamic State militants publicly executed a 15-year-old boy in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on 16 February 2016 for listening to “Western music”. A spokesman for the Ninevah media centre told the news outlet that the boy, Ayham Hussein, was caught listening to pop music in his father’s grocery store […]

France: Lobby group gets Danish movie banned

In surely one of the most delayed instances of outrage in cinema history, a French administrative appeals court has temporarily banned Lars von Trier’s 2009 horror film ‘Antichrist’ over its sexual and violent content after pressure from the Catholic group Promouvoir, reported The Guardian, RFI, AFP and other news media. The decision was made on […]

Greece: Political play shut down due to threats

A play revolving around the Greek 17 November urban guerrilla group entitled ‘Nash’s Balance’ was shut down four days early due to threats to actors and theatregoers, reported Reuters. According to the director Pigi Dimitrakopoulou, the political play was “inspired by literary and historical texts, the minutes of the 17 November trial and Savvas Xiros’s […]

Egypt: Screenwriter threatened by Muslim Brotherhood

Some Muslim Brotherhood members launched a media attack against serialised TV show ‘The Kingdom of Yusuf Al Maghrabi’ and its screenwriter Youssef Hamdi, including resorting to blackmail, for portraying some of the group’s members in a poor light, reported online news platform Newsbookra. The threats came after members of the group discovered that in an […]

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 […]

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 […]

France: Deadly terror attack at rock concert in Paris

Over 80 rock music concertgoers are reported to have been shot dead in Paris. On 13 November 2015, 1,500 fans were attending a concert with the Californian rock band Eagles of Death Metal at the popular music venue Bataclan in Paris, France, when it was attacked by terrorist gunmen, and concertgoers were taken hostage.  
 The attack took place […]

United Kingdom: Painting sparks controversy in Northern Ireland

A painting in an exhibition at the Ulster Museum has drawn ire by the Orange Order, an international Protestant organisation based primarily in Northern Ireland, because they say members of their group are depicted wearing Ku Klux Klan garb, the British newspaper The Independent reported. The group lodged their complaint on 4 November 2015, which […]

Russia: Art gallery owner evicted

Marat Guelman was handed an eviction notice to clear out of his rented exhibition space in Moscow’s Winzavod art centre by 5 November 2015. He was served the notice on 20 October 2015, just two days after he hosted an auction to help 12 people who were imprisoned for participating in a 2012 protest against […]

India: Play demanded banned by Catholic church

The Catholic Church in India has demanded a ban on the play ‘Agnes of God’, an adaptation of American playwright John Pielmeier’s drama about a nun giving birth to a child. The church has alleged the play is a ‘wrongful portrayal’ of priests and nuns committed to a life of celibacy and hurts the sentiments […]

Burkina Faso: Music studio in capital bombed after coup

Studio Abazon in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, was attacked in the early hours of 17 September 2015, allegedly targeted by coup soldiers because of the activism of its owner, rapper Smockey. The studio is owned and run by top Burkinabe rapper and revolutionary artist, Serges Martin Bambara – also known as Smockey (or […]

India: Religious group issues fatwa against composer and director

A Muslim group in India has issued a fatwa against the Indian musician and composer A.R. Rahman and the Iranian film director Majid Majidi. A Sunni-Muslim group in Mumbai called the Raza Academy has issued the fatwa in protest against Majidi’s film ‘Muhammad: Messenger of God’ – Iran’s most expensive ever movie with a $40 […]

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 […]

Russia: Art exhibition attacked and vandalised

On 26 August 2015, two people, a man and a woman, vandalised an art exhibition in Manège, an art exhibition hall in Manezhny Dvor in Moscow which has a history of controversy. This is Moscow Manège where the USSR Communist Party Secretary General Nikita Khruschov back in 1962 lambasted artists for their ‘degenerating art’. 80 […]

Saudi Arabia: Comedian receives death threats over tv satire

The news that Saudi actor Nasser Al Qasabi (also spelled: Naser Al Gasabi) had received death threats after he made fun of the Islamic State fighters, ISIS, in one episode of his comedy series titled ‘Selfie’ went around the planet in June 2015. “Saudi comedian Nasser Al Qasabi has implemented the weapon of humor to […]

India: Film makers threatened to remove song from film

The makers of the film ‘Guddu Rangeela’ have reportedly been threatened by religious groups that if they don’t remove the song ‘Mata Ka Email’ from their film, they risk facing “dire consequences”, including disruptions at the theatres. In Ludhiana, there has been demonstrations demanding a ban to be put on the film, and posters of the film […]

Turkey: 19-year-old singer attacked after threats

After appearing on the Turkish talent show Sesi Çok Güzel on national tv, the 19-year-old singer Mutlu Kaya reportedly received death threats and was attacked in her home, reported Agence France-Presse and Hurriyet on 18 May 2015. The assailant fired a bullet into the house through a back window in the garden, and Mutlu Kaya […]

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 […]

Iran: Radical website calls for murder of musician

On 1 May 2015, the ultra-conservative Iranian website Aba Shohada website announced a reward of approximately $155,000 for anyone who would blow up the concert venues of German-based Iranian musician Shahin Najafi. According to the US based organisation International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the threat is being addressed by the German police and […]

Syria: ISIL burns music instruments of ‘Peace Ambassador’ artist

On 17 April 2015, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) burnt the musical instruments of the young Palestinian pianist Ayham Al Ahmad, reported Syria Live Network. Ayham Al Ahmad is well-known for his music expressing the tragedies of the Syrian war, which he has performed amid the devastated buildings in the Yarmouk Palestinian […]

Syria: Islamic State issues ban on songs by American singer

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has distributed many leaflets in Syria to prohibit youth from listening to the songs of the American singer Madonna, reported Al Arabiya, MBC and over 40 other news providers and websites. ISIL stated that Madonna’s songs are ‘haram’ (forbidden in Islam), since […]

USA: Country stations ban song for promoting gay agenda

The country song ‘Girl Crush’ by Little Big Town has been banned by some American country stations after listeners complained it ‘promotes the gay agenda’. This despite the fact that the song is about wanting back an ex, and just includes lyrics detailing the attractiveness of his new girlfriend. The group has now filmed a […]

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 […]

Syria: Video artists receive threats for ridiculing ISIS

Their films have brought hate mail and threats via social media. Young refugees risk their lives by mocking Islamic State in series of films, as satirising the extremists grows in popularity across the Middle East, reported The Guardian on 12 March 2015. “One of them said that they would finish us off like they finished […]

Denmark: Attack on public meeting about art, blasphemy and freedom of expression

A 55-year-old film director was killed and three police officers injured after an armed man opened fire inside the lobby of a café in Copenhagen where a public debate meeting was being held in the theatre next to the lobby. Bullets went through doors and windows, and everyone threw themselves to the floor. The French […]

Iraq: UNESCO alarmed over mass destruction of books in Mosul

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expresses alarm over reports of the massive destruction of books in the museums, libraries and universities of Mosul in Iraq. According to numerous media reports, thousands of books on philosophy, law, science and poetry have been deliberately burned over the past several weeks. If confirmed, this would be one of the […]

Syria: Musicians punished for playing ‘un-Islamic’ instruments

In Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria, the ISIS religious police is reported to have beaten up four young men for playing music using socalled ‘un-Islamic’ instruments such as a keyboard and lute, reported Daily Mail. Images posted on a popular file sharing site showed ISIS policemen hitting the young […]

India: Writer faces death threats and book burning

Condemning the death threat to writer Perumal Murugan and burning of his book ‘Maadhorubhagan,’ members of Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists’ Association staged demonstration saying the threat by caste and religious outfits and the burning of Murugan’s book ‘Madhorubhagan’ were nothing but an attempt to crush freedom of expression. » Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.thehindu.com

France: Satirical magazine brutally attacked by gunmen

Freemuse strongly condemns the brutal attack on Charlie Hebdo which has left 12 dead and five seriously injured. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and colleagues. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the French presiden also condemned the attack with automatic rifles on Charlie Hebdo staff members and police: “I am horrified by this shocking attack against […]

Afghanistan: Theatre performance attacked by suicide bomber

On 11 December 2014 a 17-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up inside a school auditorium in Kabul where a theatre play condemning suicide bombing, ‘Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion’, was being presented by students of Kabul University’s Cinema and Theatre Department of Fine Art Faculty Several persons were killed by the bomb blast which came […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: British-based Ukrainians call for ban of performers from Russia

Russian artists are facing international protests and bans in Europe for their support of Putin. A “soft power struggle” is making waves that extend beyond the two countries, reports Masha Egupova. By Masha Egupova When Russian singer Valeriya came to London to perform on 21 October 2014, no one expected a scandal. But as she […]

China: Inflatable frog censored after comparisons to ex-leader

China’s newest celebrity is a large inflatable toad floating in the middle of a Beijing pond, but mentions of the giant frog have disappeared from some of China’s news and social media sites after some netizens pointed out similarities to Jiang Zemin, China’s retired leader. » Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.kmbz.com

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: Arts festival censors art piece critical of company that runs display building

A case of censorship at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival shows what can happen when art gets into bed with commerce, reported Chicago Reader. The artist Amie Sell was censored because she bit the hand that feeds the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival. Her installation, Home Sweet Home, was critical of M. Fishman & Co., the […]

USA: Media network admits error over alleged censorship of abortion comedy

The American tv-network NBC conceded the word ‘abortion’ has been removed in an online advert promoting the film ‘Obvious Child’ after pro-life observers in the US had criticised the film, reported The Guardian. » See on:  www.theguardian.com

South Korea: TV network bans pop song for using Japanese

Crayon Pop, the popular South Korean idol group, was banned from broadcasting its latest track on one of South Korea’s biggest networks. The reason? It contains the Japanese word ‘pika’. Source:  www.kotaku.com

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 […]

Portugal: Young artists’ flag project tried in court

With the art work ‘Portugal at the gallows’ featuring the Portuguese flag hanging off a garotte, the young photographer and college student Elsio Menau wanted to highlight the current economic and political crisis in Portugal. An individual has filed a complaint to court, accusing the artist of committing a crime. Fernando Cabrita, a lawyer and […]

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 […]

Spain: Guggenheim Bilbao requests art work removed

The Guggenheim Bilbao museum has ordered a mural in public space that caricatures the museum as a battleship to be taken down, but the artists Mike Bouchet and Paul McCarthy are arguing the artwork’s removal would violate their right to freedom of speech. The museum’s request could be violating Article 20 of the Spanish Constitution, […]

Australia: Arts minister violates the right to freedom of expression

The Australian arts minister George Brandis has threatened the withdrawal of commonwealth funding for the Sydney Biennale festival for “blackballing” Transfield Holdings after it severed ties with the company because of an artist protest over its contract work on an offshore detention centre, reported The Guardian. The arts minister wrote to the Australia Council, which […]

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 […]

India: Tamil film pulled out of theatres in Tamil Nadu after protests

Cinematographer and filmmaker Santosh Sivan’s Tamil war-drama ‘Inam’, a story on a group of orphans during the Sri Lankan civil war, is being pulled out of theatres in the state Tamil Nadu following protests from Tamil fringe groups. Following a request by some Tamil fringe groups, five scenes had been removed from ‘Inam’, which narrates […]

United Kingdom: Image depicting Jesus rejected for ‘policy’ reasons

Transport for London has deemed a contemporary piece of art depicting Jesus before his crucifixion inappropriate out of fear that it would cause offence. Artist Antony Micallef described decision not to display his work ‘Kill Your Idol’ on London tube station billboards as censorship. A spokesperson for Transport for London said the poster was rejected […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Petition calls for music video ban

Shazad Iqbal from Bradford, England, started a petition calling for YouTube to take a music video by Katy Perry down, alleging it ‘promotes blasphemy’. The video features a man wearing an Allah-inscribed necklace being disintegrated. Shazad Iqbal claims that disintegrating the pendant ‘promotes blasphemy’. The petition collected 40,000 signatures from countries including Australia, India and […]

India: Publishers under pressure to withdraw contentious books

“Freedom of speech shrinks in the world’s largest democracy,” reported AFP from New Delhi. “At least one crucial pillar of its democratic edifice – the right to free expression – is being rapidly eroded, with ominous implications.” Amy Kazmin Penguin India, an arm of one of the world’s biggest publishers, the US-based Penguin Random House, […]

India: Publisher agrees to destroy book about hindu religion

Penguin Books India has said that it will destroy all available copies of the 2009-book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ as part of an out of court settlement, reported The Guardian The book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ written by Indologist Wendy Doniger takes a so-called “unorthodox view” of Hinduism. The out of court settlement […]

UN study on the impact of advertising and marketing on cultural rights

The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, is launching a new study on the impact of advertising and marketing practices on cultural rights. The study takes a close-up look at the effect of advertising and marketing practices on cultural diversity and human rights. According to a press release from the […]

Russia: Christian activists sabotage theater production

Ultraconservative Christians who have previously targeted erotica exhibits, Pastafarians and supporters of feminist punk group Pussy Riot have attacked a theatre performance in Moscow. Dmitry Enteo and a female accomplice hijacked the stage during a performance of Konstantin Bogomolov’s ‘An Ideal Husband’ at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre on 28 November 2013. The duo spent […]

Qatar: Sculpture accused of anti-islamic idolatry and removed

Algerian conceptual artist Adel Abdessemed’s solo exhibition in Doha has outraged conservatives, leading to accusations of anti-islamic idoltary and the removal of his acclaimed work ‘Coup de tête’ The bronze sculpture depicting the moment when the French footballer Zinedine Zidane head-butted Italian Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final in Germany was removed from […]

Denmark: Young poet assaulted for ‘infidelity’

The young and nationally renowned Danish poet Yahya Hassan was beaten numerous times in the face and called an infidel. The incident happened at Copenhagen’s central railway station at 6pm on 18 November 2013 where Yahya Hassan had been waiting on a platform. Police arrived shortly after and arrested the person who was identified as […]

USA: Religious group opposes Christmas carols ‘ban’ in school district

The superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District in New Jersey, USA, was reported by Charisma News to have “banned any and all religious music in the December concerts the district’s elementary schools normally hold”. According to Charisma News, the superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District made a public statement that “religious music should not be […]

Nigeria: Writers face censorship and repression | PEN

Nigerian writers and journalists are facing relentless attempts by state and non-state actors to suppress political criticism and to censor film and music productions, said PEN International as Nigeria’s human rights record comes under scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. “Colonial era legislation and Shar’ia law are used to […]

Norway: Excluded after singing Sami-style joik in church

The Parish Council in Kautokeino rages after trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen ‘joiked’ – a singing technique used by the Sami people from north Norway – during a free concert sponsored by Thon Hotels in Kautokeino church. “I have told Thon Hotels that this was not as agreed. There will be no more concerts like this […]

USA: Citizens group advocates censorship of anti-Israeli theatre plays

In an apparent bow to the right in the Jewish culture wars, Theater J, a celebrated theatrical group housed at Washington’s DC Jewish Community Center, will not produce a play that has been denounced by critics as ‘anti-Israel’. “A small yet vocal group seems to be holding the artistic and ethical sensibilities of the Jewish […]

United Kingdom: Corporate censorship in public space

Artists Peter Kennard’s and Cat Phillips’ photomontage ‘Photo Op’ which depicts Tony Blair taking a selfportrait with his mobile phone was ‘banned’ from public display after the companies who own the advertising space, CBS Outdoor and JCDecaux, refused to allow the use the of the artwork in the advertising on any of their sites. This […]

Greece: Rapper murdered

On the night of 17 September 2013 approximately 25 Golden Dawn neo-nazis murdered the 34-year-old rapper Pavlos Fissas, known as ‘Killah P’, in Keratsini, a working class neighborhood in Piraeus, Athens. » Information can be found in Twitter.com: @antireport, #antireport, #KillahP » This is one of his songs on youtube.com, roughly translated as ‘I won’t […]

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 […]

Canada: Rock star blacklisted by radio station

In Canada, the radio station Rock 97.9 in Fort McMurray will no longer play Canadian rock star Neil Young’s music after he made remarks about the oil-rich Alberta area while talking about the controversial Keystone X-L Pipeline project at a conference in Washington, USA. “The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The […]

USA: MTV censored lyrics with reference to drugs

At the 2013 Video Music Awards, the American music television channel MTV censored Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance and edited out the entire line where she sings “dancing with Molly.” The line in the song ‘We Can’t Stop’ is known to be a reference to the powdered form of the drug MDMA. For radio airplay, the […]

Turkey: Actor allegedly persecuted by newspaper

“My life is not secure, I have applied for protection through my lawyers,” said the Turkish actor Memet Ali Alabora who directed and acted himself in a theatre piece entitled ‘Mi Minör’ to support the protestors around Gezi in Istanbul. Yeni Şafak newspaper made an extensive coverage on Mi Minör, saying that it was the […]

Lebanon/UAE: British comedian cancels tour after threats

British comedian and actor Russell Brand had been booked to perform in United Arab Emirates and Lebanon on his ‘Messiah Complex’ world tour, but those gigs have now been cancelled because of threats from religious groups. “I was told that if I went there there would be problems,” Russell Brand told Radio 5live: “The venue […]

Myanmar/Burma: Corporate censorship is gaining control

Thangyat is a traditional form of entertainment performed for the New Year Thingyan Water Festival in Burma / Myanmar which takes place this week. Thangyat was banned by the military government after the uprising in 1988 but was kept alive in exile before being allowed back last year. But corporate censorship is now comfortably stepping […]

Germany: Icelandic author’s book ‘censored’ by publisher

The German version of Hallgrímur Helga’s novel, ‘The woman at 1000°’, is 30 chapters shorter than the original novel. Key passages about Hitler, concentration camps and SS are censored to meet the German market. The author protested, he says, but accepted the censorship. “I do not know the German culture 100 percent and I did […]

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, […]

Pakistan: The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on

During the last decade, Pashto music has lost artists and singers of high repute. Some have preferred to seek political asylum in the foreign countries. Many are living a miserable life. Receiving threats from militants has become a routine matter. But have things improved lately? Sher Alam Shinwari set out to investigate what the situation […]

Russia: 25-year-old rapper stomped to death

In Arkhangelsk, a city in Northern Russia, a man was stomped to death on 17 February 2013 for rapping at a sports bar. Alexei Gorlishchev, 25, was rapping at the local Bookmaker Pub, sparking the ire of some patrons, the Lifenews.ru tabloid reported. One of the critics, Artyom Furzikov, 21, offered the rapper to “take […]

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 […]

Egypt: Concert cancelled because of threats

In Cairo, singer and guitarist Ramy Essam, winner of Freemuse Award 2011 who performed in front of hundred thousands of people during the final days of the 2011-revolution on Tahrir Square, had to cancel his performance to a few dozen fans due to threats of physical violence. Ramy Essam’s manager received information that groups of […]

Denmark: Row over Muslim satire

“Every muslim must know that there are consequences if you make fun of Islam,” says Abu Zakaria and calls for a boycott of the new Danish satire-series entitled ‘Det Slører Stadig’, broadcasted by the public service channel DR2. In the tv-programme, four young women with immigrant background from Iran, Jordan and Bosnia take a satirical […]

Syria: Actor Aiman Zidan threatened with death by hanging

A home page of one of the Syrian opposition groups has a picture of one of Syria’s most renowned and respected actors, Aiman Zidan, along with a text: “The thing is out of the hands of the FSA. It is with the Al-Nusra front now. By God’s name, we will hang you in Kafirsosa Square!” […]

USA: Climate change sculpture removed after upsetting donors

Does corporate sponsorships by companies like BP and Shell have an impact on artistic freedom in the UK and USA? After a controversial climate change art installation was removed from a US university campus because it upset donors from the energy industry, Kevin Smith, co-editor of Not If But When – Culture Beyond Oil, is […]

Denmark: Row over ban of theatre group’s burning flag

This photograph of a naked woman and a burning Danish flag was supposed to have been promoting a new production by the theatre group Danskdansk (‘Danishdanish’) in the capital of Copenhagen. But the advertisement agency Clear Channel did not want to see it displayed on the back of 18 Copenhagen buses, and the director of […]

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 […]

Egypt: Film team received death threats before release

After many battles with the Egyptian authorities over its release, the film ‘Al-Molhid’ (The Atheist) was passed by the Egyptian censorship committee without any scenes being removed, but the team behind the film has been receiving death threats from radicals in the country. Film producer Adham Afifi told Egyptian media that the film team has […]

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 […]

Syrian actor killed – allegedly for supporting the president

The well-known Syrian-born Palestinian actor Mohammed Rafia is believed to have been killed by rebels because of his support for President Bashar al-Assad. “His death is a sign of the abyss of personal hatred and violence into which Syria has fallen,” wrote BBC’s reporter Sebastian Usher. An extremist rebel group says it killed him, though […]

Greece: Passion play cancelled after violent protests

The American passion play ‘Corpus Christi’ was planned to be staged in Athens, Greece, in October 2012. However, the premiere was cancelled after right-wing organisations, including the Greek Nationalist parliamentary party Golden Dawn, violently protested against the play.   Playwright Terrence McNally wrote the play in 1997, and he received death threats when it was […]

Mali: The day the music stopped

Posted on 23 October 2012. Updated on 7 January 2013 “We do not want Satan’s music,” said an Islamist spokesman as he banned the broadcasting of all western music from his stronghold in Gao, a city that finds itself within the most literal and brutal Sharia jurisdiction in the world today; the ‘red zone’ in […]

Symbols into soldiers: Art, censorship, and religion

Notwithstanding almost two and a half centuries of separation of church and state, religious groups in the US have never given up the desire to impose their values and beliefs on society at large. Controversies around art with religious content persist with some regularity, generally spurred by private religious groups or conservative – or just […]

Nepal: Indian Bollywood film screening stopped for “spreading hatred”

A radical faction of Nepal‘s ruling Maoist party has forced through that cinemas in Nepal may not show Indian Bollywood film. The decision to ban the films does not come from the government but from a political party. It is being implemented even so, because the radical faction of the ruling Unified Communist Party of […]

Tunisians experience new kind of ‘censorship’ in the public domain

Alice Fordham reports from Tunisia, in an article in the National, on how artists have to deal with new types of censorship after the revolution. “What a paradox to assert today that it is even more difficult than yesterday to be an artist in Tunisia! After a popular uprising which could (should) have generated more […]

Russia: Rock opera ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ blocked

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ from 1970 has been banned in Russia after a group of locals complained that it might offend religious sentiment, reported AFP, UPI and RIA Novosti on 28 and 29 September 2012. The rock opera was scheduled to open the Rock Opera theatre in Rostov-on-Don on 18 October […]

Nepal: Death threats against artist who painted Hindu deities

Manish Harijan, a Nepali artist, whose works are on show at an art gallery in Kathmandu, has received death threats from activists of the Nepal-based World Hindu Federation in reaction to his paintings which combine images of Hindu deities and Western superheroes, reported UNESCO on 14 September 2012. In particular, a painting by Manish Harijan […]

Germany: Row over caricature of Jesus in art exhibition

At the exhibition ‘Caricatura VI – The Comic Art – analog, digital, international’ in Kassel in Germany, a cartoon created by cartoonist Mario Lars has been removed after protests that it hurt people’s religious feelings The drawing depicts Jesus suffering on the cross and a speech bubble, which apparently contains words from God, who says: […]

Afghanistan: 17 civilians killed, allegedly for listening to music

17 civilians have been killed by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, possibly for having been attending a party with music in an area under the control of the Taliban, according to Reuters, BBC News and Khaama Press. The bodies of two women and 15 men were found by the side of a road […]

Afghanistan: Religious leaders stopped ‘immoral’ eid celebration concert

An eid celebration concert by the popular young singer Shafiq Mureed was cancelled after local mullahs had labelled his music ‘immoral’, reported Freemuse’s regional network partners in Afghanistan. The city of Herat is one of the most sophisticated and culturally active towns in Afghanistan. A call from religious leaders in Herat made authorities stop and […]

Japan: Company’s attempt to close South Korean photo exhibition failed

At the last minute the Japanese camera manufacturer Nikon wanted to cancel a photo exhibition which was to be held in Tokyo from 26 June to 9 July 2012 at the Shinjuku Nikon Salon by the South Korean photographer Ahn Sehong. Nikon reportedly received a large number of complaints against the exhibition in Tokyo which […]

USA: Attempt to stamp out homosexuality from cartoons

The conservative American mothers’ group One Million Moms has launched an attempt to stamp out homosexuality from the world of graphic novels. The American Family Association-run conservative Christian organisation has taken issue with the news that DC Comics is planning to reveal that one of its established characters is gay – speculation is centring around […]

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 […]

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 […]

Death threat against Germany-based Iranian rapper

After the exiled Iranian rapper and rock guitarist Shahin Najafi released a controversial song entitled ‘Imam Naghi’, an Iranian cleric issued a death sentence (fatwa) against him, a news site in the country started a campaign calling for his assassination, and a religious site issued a reward for killing the Iranian musician. The song ‘Imam […]

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 […]

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 […]

Siberian bishop demands censorship of erotic Picassos

In the city of Novosibirsk, Orthodox bishop Tikhon has called for the closure of a show of the Picasso’s “Suite 347” series of erotic etchings, calling them a threat to public morals. Tikhon took offense to the prints’ graphic sexual nature, noting that there were an inappropriate number of children at the exhibition and grandiosely […]

Mali: Islamists have banned music in northern region

In Kidal, heartland of the Islamist Ansar Dine group, music has been replaced by prayer readings on the local radio. The group wants to impose strict sharia law across Mali.   In three short days in the beginning of April 2012, a mix of rebel forces seized the three main regional centres of a territory […]

 

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