United Kingdom: Protest song not played ahead of election

Ahead of a snap election in the United Kingdom on 8 June 2017, politically-active band Captain Ska released their ‘Liar, Liar’ protest song on May 26, which catapulted into British charts despite the BBC refusing to play the song on the radio due to impartiality rules during elections. In less than a week, the song was […]

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 […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Woman’s right to read violated

British woman Faizah Shaheen, who was returning home with her husband after their honeymoon in Turkey, was detained by South Yorkshire police at Doncaster Airport on 25 July 2016 after Thomson Airways cabin crew members had reported her of “suspicious behaviour” for reading a book on Syrian culture, reported The Independent on 3 August 2016. […]

United Kingdom: Film on Mali music ban leads to new fund

Freedom of expression campaigners Index on Censorship and the producers of the documentary film ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile’ have launched a Music In Exile Fund along with a song playlist and a series of articles about music and censorship. The aim of the Music In Exile Fund is […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Play cancellation sparks censorship row

An independent girls’ school in Ipswich has ignited a censorship row after it pulled a Rebecca Lenkiewicz play scheduled for 13 October 2015 due to “grave reservations” over its portrayal of child sex abuse. Censorship campaigners claim the move is part of worrying trend among schools and other education bodies to cancel productions that deal […]

United Kingdom: Artwork removed from free speech exhibition

In September 2015, ‘Isis Threaten Sylvania’, a series of seven satirical light box tableaux by the London-based artist Mimsy, was removed from the ‘Passion for Freedom’ exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London after police raised concerns about the “potentially inflammatory content” of the work. The decision to remove the work from the exhibition came after the […]

United Kingdom: Theatre play addressing radicalisation cancelled

A play about Islamist radicalisation in British schools was canceled in August 2015 just two weeks before opening night, prompting speculation the actors, writers and developers had been censored. The play, ‘Homegrown’, was due to be performed by the National Youth Theatre at the UCL Academy in North London. It was developed using interviews with […]

United Kingdom: Horror film featuring neo-Nazis terrorising Jewish family banned

A British film censorship board has banned a U.S. horror movie that contains scenes of neo-Nazis terrorising a Jewish family. The movie, ‘Hate Crime’, depicts anti-Semitic thugs breaking into the family’s home and mutilating and sexually abusing family members, according to the Chronicle. The British Board of Film Classification ruled that a substantial part of […]

United Kingdom: Public debate warns of self-censorship in the arts

Artistic institutions in Britain are increasingly self-censoring subversive material to secure funding and avoid protests, according to a panel of arts grandees. Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre, Munira Mirza, deputy mayor for education and culture, and Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty were among those who called the rise of […]

United Kingdom: Syrian artist denied UK visa will miss his own exhibition

One of Syria’s most prominent artists has been denied a visa to travel to the UK for the opening of his own exhibition in London. Thaier Helal, widely known in Syria for his neo-expressionist works, was denied entry to Britain by the Home Office. He was due to appear at an exhibition of his works […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Theatre piece containing nudity censored

Actress Elizabeth Sogorb is being forced to wear a flesh-coloured catsuit in her performance of La Nina Barro at the fringe because venue The Newsroom has objected to the nakedness which is an integral part of the show. The performance involves Sogorb starting the piece covered in clay, which is washed off over the course […]

United Kingdom: Two concerts with Ugandan rapper cancelled

Ugandan rapper Bobi Wine (real name: Robert Kyagulanyi) has had two planned performances in the UK pulled after venues learned of the singer’s anti-LGBTI stance, reported Gay News Network on 31 July 2014. A theatre in London and a venue in Birmingham have refused to host upcoming shows by the rapper after news surfaced the […]

United Kingdom: Painting removed from exhibition over pubic hair

Leena McCall’s painting of a tattooed, pipe-smoking woman with her trousers lowered to reveal pubic hair was removed from the 153rd annual Society of Women Artists exhibit in London by the Mall Galleries. It went viral. The painting was deemed to be “too pornographic and disgusting”, the artist said. The Society of Women Artists told […]

United Kingdom: Painting banned for showing naked gay couple having sex

A council in Northern Ireland has banned a painting by the artist Ursula Burke because it features a naked gay couple having sex. The piece was supposed to go on show at the FE McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge, Co Down. A council spokesman said the decision was made as the image was considered inappropriate for […]

United Kingdom: Artist’s first gallery exhibition censored

An oil painting of a man lying nude on a bed near a toddler wrapped from the waist down in a towel has caused a furore at Teesside University. “The work is on public display but it has been covered from general view from people passing by as we wish to respect the views of […]

United Kingdom: Hundreds of artists arrested during World War One

Artists sketching the countryside during the First World War were often accused of spying for Germany and arrested, according to the top art historian Dr James Fox, University of Cambridge. There was a great deal of paranoia during the conflict and the general population were urged to report suspicious activity, and hundreds of artists were […]

United Kingdom: Theatre poster censored ‘to avoid offence’

A poster depicting a gagged Prince Charles to promote a controversial new play, ‘King Charles III’, on at Islington’s Almeida Theatre in London, United Kingdom, was censored on the London Underground network. » Source:  www.london24.com » See also:  www.dailymail.co.uk

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 […]

UK: Four artists shortlisted for Freedom of Expression Awards 2014

British theatre producer David Cecil, Lebanese playwright Lucien Bourjeily, Egyptian rapper Mayam Mahmoud and the Turkish writer Arikan are shortlisted for the Index Awards 2014, which during 14 years have honoured some of the most remarkable fighters for free expression from around the world. The award show takes place in London, United Kingdom, on 20 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Flag paintings removed from exhibition by council

The Bangladeshi artist Saif Osmani living in the UK has criticised the Tower Hamlet council after he was told some of his work was deemed “too controversial for public display”. Mr Osmani said he was told that due to the political situation in Bangladesh his series of paintings combining the Pakistani and Bangladeshi flags, might […]

United Kingdom: Gallery in censorship row over Egyptian posters | Index

The London gallery P21 has been accused of censorship following the decision not to exhibit 12 poster prints satirising Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and jailed former president Mohamed Morsi. Twelve posters by Egyptian artist and graphic designer Ghada Wali, making up the piece ‘Film Ikhwany’, were supposed to be part of the Alexandria portion of the […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Gallery censored nude watercolours

Artist reveals her fury after ‘fearful’ gallery censored her nude watercolours with strips of paper A teacher’s complaint during a school trip to an exhibition at Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens prompted the removal of three watercolours of naked women. Later, the watercolours were put back up, but covered with bits of paper. The artist, Danuta Gray, […]

United Kingdom: A tarnished reputation for free expression | Index on Censorship

As the G20 nations prepare to meet in St Petersburg, Russia in early September 2013, Index on Censorship is exploring the nations’ records on free expression. Their article about United Kingdom, headlined ‘United Kingdom: A tarnished reputation for free expression’ and published on 23 August 2013, contains the following paragraph about the artistic freedom of […]

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 […]

Artist Alert: June 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published at article19.org on 17 July 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 […]

Index on Censorship: Self-censorship stifling UK artistic expression

Widespread self-censorship and fear of causing offence is suppressing creativity and ideas in the United Kingdom, according to a conference report published by Index on Censorship, ‘Taking the Offensive’. There are multiple pressures on artistic freedom of expression and censorship has become a major issue for the arts sector in this country, the report reveals. […]

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’ […]

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 […]

United Kingdom: Political artwork censored at ‘Banned’ festival

A piece of work by controversial artist, poet and campaigner Vince Laws on show at the Jubilee Library in Hove, United Kingdom, was censored and removed by the city council. “Our general policy is that we do not display material promoting a particular political, philosophical or religious view point”, a spokesperson for the council said. […]

United Kingdom: Play about honour killings censored by BBC

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

Deeyah speaks out at the Oslo Opera House

Music has stopped in Northern Mali due to attacks from religious extremists. But even in Europe singers have been threatened and silenced. In 1996 Norwegian born Deeyah moved from Oslo to London after threats. Continuing her career in the UK, her performances however led to difficult confrontations with orthodox Muslims, whose threats eventually made it […]

United Kingdom: Controversy over calls for cultural boycott of Israel

In September 2011, four musicians — Tom Eisner, Nancy Elan, Sarah Streatfeild and Sue Sutherley — in the world-renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra were summarily suspended without pay for six months for being among 24 musicians who signed a letter, published in The Independent newspaper, objecting to a London Proms concert by the Israel Philharmonic at […]

United Kingdom: London police ordered gallery to take down image

An art work depicting the Greek myth of Leda and the swan was ordered by two London Metropolitan Police offiers to be removed because it allegedly ‘condoned bestiality’. From 23 March to 21 April 2012 the London gallery Scream ran an exhibition with Derrick Santini, ‘Metamorphosis’, which consisted of two bodies of work, each displaying […]

Self-censorship to keep Chinese authorities on board

The London Book Fair, which is one of the biggest international publishing events in the world and which is focusing on China this year, is facing claims it has bowed to pressure from Chinese authorities by failing to invite dissident and exiled writers to April’s event, choosing only state-approved authors. “It is shocking enough that […]



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