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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tunisia: Culture Ministry bans Iranian film on Prophet Muhammad

The Tunisian Ministry of Culture banned Iranian film ‘Muhammad: The Messenger of God’, which focuses on the Prophet Muhammad’s childhood and adolescence, due to its “controversial content” and “personification and depiction of prophets”, which officials deem problematic for Tunisian society, reported news network Ansamed on 14 September 2016. “The personification and depiction of prophets causes […]

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 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 analytical stories on censorship of the arts and in-depth interviews […]

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 […]

Tunisia: Three artists imprisoned

Three Tunisian artists have been imprisoned for cannabis use, after being wrongly accused of terrorist activity. The law related to possession of narcotics is widely used in Tunisia against artists who are addressing social injustice and criticising government and police through art and activism. Photographer Fakhri El-Ghezal, artist Atef Maatallah, and filmmaker Ala Eddine Slim […]

INSIGHT | Tunisia: Musicians confronted with censorship and repression

Of Tunisia’s entire artistic community, the musicians – and in particular urban rappers – have borne the brunt of the state’s censorship and repression. A wide legal arsenal has been used to drag musicians into court and throw them unceremoniously into gaol. By Daniel Brown  INSIGHT  In Tunisia, there are two kinds of rappers. First, […]

Tunisia: Rapper Klay BBJ released from custody

The Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ was released from custody on 21 October 2015 after having been detained over the weekend on suspicion of “possession and use” of cannabis, his lawyer was quoted as saying by various media. Freemuse welcomes the news which was confirmed by Freemuse’s partner in Tunisia, CIHRS. “He has just been released, […]

Tunisia: Calls for the release of arrested rapper Klay BBJ

On 17 October 2015, the public prosecution of the Court of First Instance in Tunis permitted National Security officers in Bab Swika district to arrest the rapper Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) along with two other men. They were allegedly apprehended for possession of drugs. The news agency AFP quoted a judicial source […]

The alternative voices: Artists in the Arab world

Sandwiched between two of the most deadly terrorist attacks Tunisia has known in decades, several dozen artists from the Arab world gathered in Tunis to debate the link between art and violence. Many face censorship or deadly threats to their art and lives as their countries have been sucked into violence on a scale last […]

Artistic freedom: Tunisia walks a narrow tightrope

At first, much of the heavy-handed censorship on artists by the Ben Ali regime appeared to have been swept away. But as artists are more frequently being arrested and charged in courts with penal codes of the pre-revolutionary days, Tunisian legislation has increasingly come under fire from defenders of freedom of expression. By Daniel Brown, […]

Tunisia: No investigation into attack on a local rapper

How freedom of expression is oppressed through financial, moral and psychological pressure and damages is Tunisian rapper Hamadi Dia’s story. Today, Freemuse publishes his account of what he is going through because of the music and lyrics he produces. By Shaima Aly, Freemuse “Those groups succeeded in their mission to shut me up and get […]

Tunisia: Reconciling freedom of artistic expression with religion

Aymen Allani calls for a new dialogue to be initiated in Tunisia between the proponents of absolute freedom of expression in the arts and those more conservative groups, who feel their religion threatened by such freedom. Opinion-piece by Aymen Allani, published by Common Ground News Service on 6 October 2014. Tunisia has not yet seen […]

Tunisia and Egypt: Music censorship after the Spring

‘The Cultural Spring’ in Tunisia and Egypt: Musicians are pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. By Victor Salama   While some Arab countries saw political changes in 2011 – president Ben Ali was ousted from power after ruling Tunisia for 24 years, Hosni Mubarak was deposed after ruling Egypt for 30 years – many cultural […]

Artist Alert: February 2014 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 March 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 […]

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 […]

Tunisia: A hundred drawings for the freedom of one illustrator

Artists from a dozen countries launched an Internet campaign to free young Tunisian artist Jabeur Mejri, imprisoned since March 2012 for blasphemy in sharing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. The campaign ‘One Hundred Drawings for Jabeur’ is meant to remind the Tunisian lawmakers that the country’s newly adopted constitution guarantees freedom of conscience […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 has been freed

On 19 December 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was acquitted on appeal of singing songs insulting to the police and has been freed, according to his lawyer and his mother. The case against Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) goes back to August 2013, when Weld El 15 and fellow rapper Klay […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 appeal hearing

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 will spend the next four months in prison, unless he wins the appeal filed by his attorney on 9 December 2013. On 5 December, the 25-year-old artist was sentenced for performing songs deemed insulting to police. The Hammamet court ordered him taken straight to his cell. According to Tunisia rap […]

Tunisia: Two musicians denied access to perform at festival

The organising committee of the festival L’Angar, supported by Turning Tables in Tunis, announced that entry on Tunisian territory has been denied two of the festival’s scheduled artists: El Rass from Libanon (real name: Mazen El Sayyed) and Al Sayed Darwish from Syria (real name: Sawah). The unofficial reason was given orally from a representative […]

Tunisia: Freemuse condemns imprisonment of rapper Weld El 15

Rapper Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) was sentenced four months imprisonment after he turned himself in to a court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013. Freemuse condemned the verdict. “Tunisia should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. Weld El 15 was sentenced in absentia earlier in […]

Tunisia: Rapper receives four-month reprieve on sentence

Rappers Men-Ay (real name: Aymen Feki), and Mister Mustapha (real name: Mustapha Fakhfakh) have been prosecuted for their alleged role in clashes with the police, “insulting a public official in the exercise of his duties” and “breaching good morals” – offenses punishable respectively by one year or six months in prison, according to the Tunisian […]

Tunisia: Fugitive rapper to appeal conviction

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15, on the run since receiving a 21-month jail sentence in absentia in August 2013, will appeal the ruling in court in December 2013, his lawyer said. The new trial will take place at the court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013, the lawyer Ghazi Mrabet told AFP, adding that his […]

Artist Alert: October 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 November 2013: 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 […]

Middle East: Censorship and the Arab Uprisings

“In the context of the Arab Uprisings, the censorship can be seen as a symptom of governments’ fear of people uniting and has led to grave human rights violations, torture, exile and the morbid murdering of artists.” Middleeastmonitor.com – 31 October 2013: Protecting the creative voices of the Arab Uprising Article by Henriette Johansen

Tunisia: New union to defend rappers’ freedom of expression

Tunisian rap artists have launched a labour union to defend their interests and promote their art. The ‘National Rap Union’ will be linked to the General Confederation of Tunisian Workers and intends to “raise the level of urgency of files concerning the defence of freedom of expression.” This was reported by Magharebia on 15 October […]

Tunisia: Rapper Klay BBJ acquitted after three weeks in prison

On 17 October 2013, an appeals court overturned the conviction of rapper Klay BBJ on charges of “insulting the police,” Human Rights Watch reported. A district court had sentenced Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) to six months in prison for performing lyrics it deemed “insulting” at a summer music festival. “It’s great to […]

Artist Alert: August and September 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 21 October 2013: 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 […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to six months in prison

Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ has been sentenced to six months in prison for insulting the authorities in his songs, reported several news agencies on 26 September 2013. That is 15 months less than the sentence he was first given in August 2013. Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) lost his appeal case after he […]

Tunisia: Two rappers convicted to 21 months in prison

Two Tunisian rappers, Weld El 15 and Klay BBJ, have been given 21 month jail terms in absentia for insulting officials, their lawyer said on 4 September 2013, criticising the ruling as a new attack on freedom of expression. This was reported by AFP. The trial took place on 30 August 2013 without the rappers […]

Book with accounts of artists’ resistance to religious extremism

Here is a book which describes a largely invisible global community of writers, artists, doctors, musicians, museum curators, lawyers, activists, and educators of Muslim heritage around the world who often risk death to combat the rising tide of fundamentalism within their own countries. ‘Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here’ is written by Karima Bennoune, a […]

Artist Alert: July 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 August 2013: 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 […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 set free with a reduced sentence

An agreement was reached to “end the prosecution of Weld El 15 in return for an apology to security officials,” according to National Union of Professional Tunisian Singers. Instead of the two-year prison sentence handed down on 13 June 2013 for his song ‘Boulicia Kleb’, the 25-year-old artist (real name Ala Yaacoub) received a six-month […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to two years imprisonment, violence in court

On 13 June 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was (again) sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the police in a song. Weld El 15, who had previously been in hiding, turned himself in and was immediately taken into custody. Cries were raised in the court room when the verdict was announced. […]

Tunisia: Artists imprisoned because of rap video

Actress Sabrine Klibi and cameraman Mohamed Hedi Belgueyed were sentenced to six months in prison for their participation in the music video ‘Cops are Dogs’, reported Tunisia Live. At the Court of First Instance of Ben Arous, a southern suburb of Tunis, the artists were charged according to five articles of the Tunisian Penal Code […]

Tunisia: Rapper and video team charged for hate speech, two arrested

Mohamed Belgueyed, the owner of a video camera, and actress Sabrine Klibi were taken into custody on 10 March 2013 for their connection to the new music video ‘Cops are Dogs’ by Tunisian rapper Weld El 15. The video was uploaded to YouTube on 3 March 2013: The rapper, Weld El 15, (real name: Ala […]

Tunisia’s ground zero for creative freedom

The ‘Nadia Jelassi’ affair has become a stake, a symbol of the successful democratic transition of the Tunisian revolution, and could represent ground zero for individual freedoms in the country that in late 2010 sparked off a world geopolitical earthquake. BY KERIM BOUZOUITA • OCTOBER 2012 • [PDF] IT’S 2012 IN TUNISIA and artist Mohamed […]

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 […]

Tunisia: Artists under attack

Art pieces at the ‘Printemps des Arts’ fair in Tunis have caused public outrage for being ‘blasphemous’ and offensive to Islam. The artists involved have received death threats and their works at the art fair were destroyed. The Minister of Culture condemned the artworks, which in return caused an uproar in the Tunisian arts community. […]

Censorship controversy at Tunis Art Fair

Hours after the opening of Printemps des Arts fair in Tunis, a controversy broke out when one of the organisers asked the artist Electro Jaye to take down his piece, ‘La république Islaïque de Tunisie’. (The word “islaïque” is a combination of the word “Islam” with the word “laïque,” which means “laic” or “secular.”) The […]

Tunisia: Owner of tv-station fined for airing film which depicts Allah

On 7 October 2011, the Iranian film ‘Persepolis’ was shown on the Tunisian private television station Nessma TV. The film includes a scene depicting Allah, whose portrayal is forbidden by Islam. On 3 May 2012, the owner of Nessma TV was fined US$ 1,700 for the airing of the film. On 8 October 2011, a […]

Tunisia: Culture minister vows to defend artistic freedom

Tunisia’s culture minister, under fire for saying he would exclude sexy Lebanese pop stars from an annual music festival, has promised to protect artistic freedoms which are on the front line of a standoff between secularists and Islamists. By Tarek Amara Tunisia, whose uprising against secular strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali sparked last year’s Arab […]

 

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