Freemuse annual report: Violations of freedom of musical expression in 2012


26 February 2013

Freemuse annual statistics:
Violations of freedom of musical expression in 2012

Freemuse has compiled statistics presenting a glimpse of the situation for musicians worldwide in 2012.

A total number of 173 cases of attacks on musicians and violations of their rights have been registered. The cases include 6 artists being killed, 14 imprisoned, 2 abducted, 12 attacked, 5 threatened, 16 prosecuted and 84 detained, as well as 34 cases of censorship.

Please note that the documentation is representative of cases registered by Freemuse. The cases found the basis for the statistical compilation and include cases in more than 30 countries. The statistics were compiled in February 2013.

This is a geographical presentation of musicians who were killed, attacked, abducted, threatened, detained, persecuted, imprisoned and threatened or subjected to censorship.

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The following principles of statistical registration have been used:


If a musician is threatened and attacked while abducted the case is only listed as “abducted” in the statistics. If a musician is detained, prosecuted and then consequently imprisoned for the same incident of the violation is only listed as “imprisoned”. Artists who were imprisoned before 2012, but who are still in prison are only included in the statistics if their case was reviewed by Freemuse in 2012.


“Attacked” refers to an artist being physically attacked.


“Censorship” mostly includes songs or artists censored on radio stations or artists denied permission to hold concerts, but also incidents such as destructions of music shops. (The destruction of several music shops at the same time is only counting as one incident.) People being attacked or killed because they were listening to a certain kind of music are also regarded as a “censorship” incident.


The statistics do e.g. not include the serious situation for thousands of musicians in northern Mali, who are prevented from performing their music due to bans by Islamic fundamentalist rebels.



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