Sweden: Outdoor sculpture partly burned down

Around a quarter of Lars Vilks’ large outdoor sculpture in the Kullaberg nature reserve in southwest Sweden was burned down in an incident police suspect to be arson, reported Afton Bladet on 24 November 2016. The artwork, entitled ‘Nimis’, consists of a series of wooden sculptures made out of 75 tonnes of driftwood and is […]

Sweden: New report examines threats against commissioners of art

Art galleries, publishers, libraries, museums and other promoters and curators of art, along with their staff, like artists, are also victims of attack for showing or making art available to the public and audiences, a new report by the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy published 30 November 2016 revealed. The report, ‘Custodians or guards? Commissioning […]

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 […]

Art Under Threat: Attacks on artistic freedom in 2015

Freemuse Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015 Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in 2015 in over 70 countries. In total, Freemuse registered 469 cases of censorship and attacks on artists and violations of […]

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 […]

Nordic Ministers of Culture declare support for artistic freedom

“Artistic and creative expressions, as an integral part of the human right to freedom of expressions, is critical both to the development of cultures and to the functioning of democratic societies,” said a declaration by the Nordic Ministers of Culture adopted at a seminar on 2 May 2016 during the World Press Freedom Days in Helsinki. […]

Sweden: New report calls threat to art a threat to democracy

One out of three Swedish writers and visual artists have been exposed to threats, harassment, violence or vandalism, revealed a new report, ‘Culture under threat?’, published 14 April 2016 by Kulturanalys, the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy. “The extent of this is so great that it must be seen as a real problem,” the agency’s […]

Sweden: Israeli ambassador demands film banned in schools

The Swedes are currently debating whether the film ‘The dead still have a name’ is anti-Semitic or not, and whether it should be banned, as the Israeli ambassador to Sweden has demanded. ‘The dead still have a name’ is a new film focusing on the ship drama in 2011 when Israeli troops in “international sea” […]

Sweden: Art under threat

Several Swedish artists live under constant threat from nazis and extreme rightwing groups. For years, they have been subjected to threats, harassment and attacks directed at their art and themselves. The artists despair at the inability of the state to protect them. By Sanna Samuelsson    INSIGHT  Published in collaboration with Konstnären/The Artist One artist […]

Sweden: Rap group’s concerts cancelled after free speech controversies

Hip-hop flirting with political violence causes controversy and debate around the world. The Swedes have recently been having a thorough public discussion about where to draw the line between illegal hate speech on one side, and artists’ democratic right to express themselves on the other. Here is a run-down of Kartellen’s free speech journey in […]

Sweden: Artists and writers join forces against threats from the extreme right

Three leading organisations representing artists and writers in Sweden are launching a joint initiative to create awareness about right wing threats targeting artists and writers. The three organisations KRO/KIF, The Swedish Writers’ Union and Swedish PEN decided to create the initiative after Konstnären, KRO/KIF’s quarterly magazine, in the fall documented how Swedish artists are receiving […]

Egyptian singer Ramy Essam: “Why I moved to Sweden for two years”

Since Freemuse announced that the Egyptian singer and musician Ramy Essam has been offered a two year residence in the Swedish city Malmö, rumours and tweets in Egypt have speculated whether he is seeking asylum. This is not the case, explained Ramy Essam, who issued the following statement on 23 October 2014: “Malmö, Wednesday, 22 […]

Swedish city offers Egyptian musician safe city residence

The 27-year-old Egyptian singer and Freemuse Award winner Ramy Essam will be residing in Malmö, Sweden, for the next two years. This is a direct consequence of the interogation in June 2014 by the National Security Police and the continuous censorship of his music in Egypt. Ramy Essam was hailed as the “singer of the […]

Artist Alert: December 2013 and January 2014 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 12 February 2014: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Turkey: Ferhat Tunç joins Freemuse at conference

The Turkish singer Ferhat Tunç will join Freemuse Director Ole Reitov on 12 February 2014 at an international conference ‘Freedom of Speech – Perspectives and Initiatives’ in Uppsala, Sweden. Ferhat Tunç, a Freemuse Award winner, has faced dozens of court cases in Turkey. He is considered one of the most important voices for the rights […]

Sweden: Public broadcaster excludes hit rap song from playlists

Because of ‘violent lyrics’ and a ‘stance against the Sweden Democrats and the Moderates’, the song ‘Black Doves and Wilted Lilies’ (‘Svarta duvor och vissna liljor’) by Timbuktu (real name: Jason Diakité) and Sebbe Staxx (real name: Sebastian Stakset) will not be included on the national Swedish radio’s playlists and is thus practically banned from […]

Norwegian cultural executive: “We have a problem in our own society”

“One should not have to travel far to find examples of oppression. Filmmaker and artist Deeyah had to flee to London to escape harassment from very conservative communities in our own country,” said Yngve Slettholm at the opening session of the annual national meeting of Arts Council Norway in Bergen 13-14 November. Yngve Slettholm is […]

Safe havens for artists at risk – a Nordic perspective

On 10-11 November 2013, the Swedish Arts Council organised a Nordic Expert Meeting about Artistic Freedom of Speech to consolidate the growing movement to provide safe havens for censored and oppressed cultural workers. Several workshops demonstrated the complexity of organising safe havens for artists. During the meeting two cities, Stockholm and Malmö announced they will host […]

Sweden: ‘Impossible Music Sessions’ in Stockholm

On 11 June 2013, music written by the censored artists Pussy Riot and Arya Aramnejad will be interpreted and presented in the Swedish capital Stockholm by the artists Jennie Abrahamson, Linnéa Olsson and Love Antell. The concert, entitled ‘The Impossible Music Sessions Stockholm Session #1’ is organised by SKAP, the Swedish Society of Popular Music, […]

United Kingdom: Previously banned Swedish play premiers in English

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

Sweden: Panel debate on freedom and culture

The Swedish Guild of Stage Directors are offering a seminar with guests from Georgia, Hungary and Iran on the subject of the terms and conditions for culture in their countries following the political distress during 2012. Shabnam Tolouie from Iran/France, Davit Gabunia from Georgia, Tobias Biancone, Secretary General ITI from Sweden, and others, will be […]

Sweden: Lecture on shelter cities for persecuted artists

Playwright Reza Haji Hosseini will give a 45-minutes lecture on shelter cities for persecuted artists and the conditions for dramatic arts in Iran at the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts on Saturday 25 May 2013 at 1pm in Jönköping.
 In the early 1990s, a movement among cities in Europe and America was started to shelter […]

Sweden: Nordic meeting on shelter cities for persecuted artists

On 18 April 2013, a meeting hosted by the Kulturhuset in Stockholm aims at developing long-term partnerships between the Nordic Arts Councils and the Nordic Institutes in Greenland, Faroe Islands and Åland, in order to collectively address issues related to freedom of expression and supporting artists living in exile in the region.  Several organisations within […]

Iran: Passport of Swedish-Iranian actress confiscated by police

The Iranian actress Maryam Moghaddam, who lives in Sweden and who participated in the controversial film ‘Closed Curtain’, remains stuck in Iran after she received a travel ban and her passport was confiscated by Iranian police. Maryam Moghaddam traveled from Sweden to Iran to visit her mother in a family matter in early March 2013, […]

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 […]

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

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



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