Awards given to Freemuse as a recognition of the organisation’s work

Below is listed a number of international prizes and awards as well as words of recognition which the organisation has received for its work.

Prix Ars Electronica 2014:
‘For empowering musicians and advocating free speech’


“The fact that musicians are being targeted throughout the world, arrested, harassed and repressed, makes it even more relevant to promote a community that empowers them and advocates free speech in the current scenario of increasing surveillance and censorship.”
Prix Ars Electronica 2014, June 2014

The jury of the Digital Communities of Prix Ars Electronica 2014 selected Freemuse for the ‘Award of Distinction’ at the 2014 Prix Ars Electronica – the world’s oldest and most renowned prize in media art. A total of 2,703 entries from 77 countries were submitted for prize consideration to the 2014 Prix Ars Electronica.


More about the award – see video



Danish Music Award – 2012:
‘For tirelessly having stood up for musicians’ right to express themselves’


“Freemuse receives this evening’s prize for its focus on musicians’ rights to express themselves freely and critically.”
Maria Carelse, World Music Denmark, November 2012

At the venue Global in Copenhagen on 23 November 2012, Freemuse, represented by Marie Korpe and Ole Reitov, received a Danish Music Award in the category ‘Special Achievement’.

More about the award



Liberty for Arts Award – 2012:
‘Philanthropic dedication to the threatened musicians and composers’


“With this price we express our deepest gratefulness to Mrs Marie Korpe for her philanthropic dedication to the threatened musicians and composers all over the world.”
Fairplay Foundation, March 2012

“I have had some time to look into the work of Freemuse, and I must say I am very impressed. So much that I have become a supporting member, something which I would encourage you all to consider!”, Swedish ambassador Per Thöresson said in his speech when handing over the award to Marie Korpe.

Fairplay Foundation is an NGO dedicated to cultural diversity, arts and artists all over the world.

More about the award



SKAP Special Prize – 2011:
‘The work of Freemuse is crucial’


“Music and culture are essential pillars of society. In many respects, it is also the conscience of society. The right to express your voice and opinion is vital and therefore the work of Freemuse is crucial.”
Alfons Karabuda, chairman of SKAP, May 2011

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The surroundings are splendid when SKAP – the Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers – celebrates its 85th anniversary on Monday 16 May and in addition to presenting annual grants will give a special prize to Freemuse. Stockholm City Hall’s Blue Hall, world famous for serving the Nobel Prize banquets, will be the impressive setting for the SKAP Spring Festival and the prize ceremonies. Freemuse is being awarded for its work advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers and fighting music censorship.

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More about the award


Freedom to Create Prize – 2009:
‘In support of musicians on the world’s frontlines’


“Freemuse is waging a vital war in support of musicians on the world’s frontlines who are using their freedom to create to oppose injustice and oppression. It is through the tremendous dedication of organizations like Freemuse that the sacrifices of artists, such as those made by 2009 Freedom to Create Prize winner Lapiro de Mbanga, are being made public on a global scale.”
Freedom to Create Vice President Bernard Stringer, November 2009.

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The Freedom to Create Prize celebrates the courage and creativity of artists around the world, who use their talents to build the foundations of open societies, promote social justice and inspire human spirit. More than 1,000 artists from more than 100 countries were nominated in 2009.

Marie Korpe, Freemuse Executive Director, received the prize on behalf of the imprisoned singer Lapiro de Mbanga from Cameroun. The prize is 25,000 US dollars, which can be used in support for the release of Lapiro and his family who has suffered immensely since his arrest in 2008.

More about the award ceremony



Zentsura At! Prize – 2009:
‘For the freedom of speech of musicians all over the world’


“Freemuse is awarded for its work against censorship, and for their representatives Marie Korpe and Ole Reitov, who with the World Forum on Music and Censorship have fought for the freedom of speech of musicians and authors all over the world. We send our most sincere support and recognition to them.”

Motivation by José Angel Serrano, Zentsura At! IV Festival Against Censorship


In its fourth edition, the ZENTSURA AT! festival in Spain, in November 2009, launched a new prize which is to give public recognition to all those who suffer censorship in their everyday struggle, and to the people and organizations who work to eradicate censorship and champion freedom of speech – by presenting them with a sculpture made by the famous Basque sculptor Eskerri.

More about the festival



The IMC Inaugural Musical Rights Award – 2009:
‘Courageous global programme’


“This unique programme [of Freemuse] advocates freedom of expression for creators and performers of music. It documents and often publicises incidents of censorship and oppression, some of which may see musicians gaoled or even killed. It acts in a variety of ways to support musicians who experience limitations in their freedom to express themselves, in some cases by lobbying offending governments directly. It collaborates with other organisations working to implement the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and with researchers and journalists to focus on issues of music censorship. Hence, the programme goes to the roots of the five musical rights defined by IMC.”
The IMC Award motivation

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In October 2009, the International Music Council (IMC) awarded Freemuse the IMC Inaugural Musical Rights Award for its “courageous global programme advocating freedom of musical expression for creators and performers of music.” The award was presented during the ‘3rd IMC World Forum on Music’ which took place in Tunisia. It was presented to Freemuse by IMC President Dr. Richard Letts. In his speech, Dr. Letts praised the “unique programme” of Freemuse and said that “defence of the right to freedom of expression in music is the first of the five musical rights at the base of IMC activities.”

The International Music Council (IMC) is a global network of expert organisations and individuals working in the field of music. Founded in 1949 by UNESCO, the International Music Council is mandated to promote musical diversity and support cultural rights for all.

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More about the award ceremony

Press release



The Womex Award – 2003:
‘For its fight against music censorship’


“This year the Womex Award goes not to just one artist but to all those suffering from censorship, an ill against which the award winner Freemuse has been fighting valiantly for the past few years from their base in Copenhagen.”
The Womex Award “honours the international human rights organization Freemuse – The World Forum on Music and Censorship – for its fight against music censorship. Freemuse was founded in 1998 and is dedicated to uphold the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights by funding reports, creating a database of information and taking up cases of individual musicians in trouble.”

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See webcast from Womex 2003


Music as a basic human right was in focus at the WOMEX trade fair – The WOrld Music EXpo – in Sevilla in Spain on 22–26 October 2003. Director Marie Korpe received the Womex Award 2003, and then passed the microphone to Gerald Seligman, founding member and co-chairman of the executive committee, who stressed the formidable work of the tiny permanent team (just three people) struggling to protect musicians’ freedom of expression around the world.

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More about the festival



The Webby Awards – 2002:
‘For paving important paths to the Internet’s next phase…’


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The Freemuse Award:
Freemuse’s own award to honour musicians


The Freemuse Award is given to an individual or an organisation that “has worked for freedom of musical expression in a remarkable way”.

Marie Korpe, Freemuse Director

Ramy Essam from Egypt received the award in 2011, Mahsa Vahdat from Iran and Ferhat Tunç from Turkey shared it in 2010, Pete Seeger from the US received it 2009, and Tiken Jah Fakoly from Côte d’Ivoire in 2008.

Click to read more about the Freemuse Award
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Freemuse annual report: Violations of freedom of musical expression in 2012
In 2012 Freemuse registered a total of 173 cases of attacks on musicians and violations of their rights. We reported about six artists who were killed, and 14 were imprisoned
26 February 2013
Freemuse Award 2013
Freemuse Award 2013 is given to Festival au Désert, which defends freedom of musical expression in spite of attempts to silence all music in Mali
06 February 2013
Freemuse received a Danish Music Award 2012
At the venue Global in Copenhagen on 23 November 2012 Freemuse received a Danish Music Award in the category ‘Special Achievement’.
26 November 2012
Freemuse: The case of Pussy Riot – behind the scenes
Summing up: A talk with Freemuse’s Campaign Officer about how Freemuse has worked on the case of Pussy Riot since three members of the band were detained in March 2012
30 August 2012
Freemuse: Manu Chao supports Freemuse campaign
“Freedom of expression is important to anyone and we must fight for it. I am supporting the work of Freemuse and I’m here to help,” says singer Manu Chao
28 August 2012
Freemuse: Grounds pass to the United Nations
The United Nations has granted a ‘Special consultative status’ to Freemuse
30 July 2012
Denmark: Support from Roskilde Festival Charity Society for artists at risk
Freemuse received a grant of 66,000 euro from Roskilde Festival Charity Society to sustain and develop networks in West Africa, MENA, Pakistan and Afghanistan
01 June 2012
Freemuse: The invisible work behind the scenes
It started as another day in the Freemuse office. Then, within hours, we received terrifying pictures of rappers in Angola and Sierra Leone, who had been seriously beaten
01 June 2012
Call for establishing Scandinavian safe havens for persecuted musicians
SKAP, Freemuse and the Swedish Arts Council urges the Swedish government to allow the Swedish cities to receive threatened composers and musicians
23 April 2012
The Liberty For Arts Award 2012 goes to Freemuse Director Marie Korpe
“With this price we express our deepest gratefulness to Mrs Marie Korpe for her philanthropic dedication to the threatened musicians,” wrote Fairplay Foundation
07 March 2012
Freemuse statistical report: Violations of freedom of musical expression in 2011
Freemuse has compiled statistics to present an overview of the situation for musicians worldwide in 2011.
16 January 2012
Afghanistan: Freemuse workshop in Kabul
At a workshop in Kabul participants from all over the country identified some of the key problems that make life difficult for Afghan musicians and composers.
25 November 2011
Freemuse Award 2011: Ramy Essam honoured in Stockholm
On 21 November 2011 the Egyptian singer Ramy Essam received the Freemuse Award 2011 at a ceremony in Södra Teatern in Stockholm, Sweden
21 November 2011
Bahrain: Freemuse appeal: Stop persecution of artists
In a letter to the Bahraini Minister of Culture, Freemuse has protested against the sacking of cultural workers and artists following the popular uprisings in the country in March 2011
26 October 2011
Freemuse Award 2011
Egyptian singer Ramy Essam who provided the soundtrack for the Arab Spring at Tahrir Square will receive the Freemuse Award 2011 at a ceremony in Sweden
25 October 2011
Press release: Freemuse Award winner 2011: Ramy Essam
Egyptian singer Ramy Essam, who provided the soundtrack for the Arab Spring at Tahrir Square, is the winner of the 2011 Freemuse Award.
25 October 2011
List of a number of international prizes and awards and words of recognition which Freemuse has received for its work
16 May 2011
Logos and banners for web
Support Freemuse: Spread our web-banners far and wide on the Internet
16 February 2011
12 August 2010
Freemuse receives grant from The Sigrid Rausing Trust
The Sigrid Rausing Trust has awarded a grant of £50,000 for the next year to the work of Freemuse
12 August 2010