Freemuse’s activities in 2014



14 January – Global
Freemuse launches campaign for the release of Tibetan musicians and request the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Ms Farida Shaheed, to discuss the imprisonment of nine Tibetan singers with Chinese government


12-13 February – Uppsala, Sweden
Freemuse Award winner Ferhat Tunc joins Freemuse Director, Ole Reitov, at an international conference”Freedom of Speech – Perspective and Initiatives

27 February – Global
Freemuse publish a statistical compilation of attacks and persecution of musicians worldwide in 2013. The statistics include cases from 33 countries



3 March – Global
Cairo, Yaoundé, Bologna, Peshawar, Kabul, Oslo, Budapest and New York are amongst the cities joining Music Freedom Day events held in 18 countries and joined by several global media broadcasters.

4 March – Global
Freemuse publish global statistics on violations of and attacks on artistic freedom. The statistics include cases from 48 countries across the fields of dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts.

17 March – Global
Freemuse and Center for Peace and Cultural Studies (CPCS) Peshawar, Pakistan publish report: ‘Music and Militancy in North Western Pakistan (2001-2014)’. The report documents that since 2001, 12 women have been reportedly killed because of their direct involvement in music in North Western Pakistan. Approximately 600 musicians suffered due to the closure of Dabgari Bazar during the MMA government. Around 50 Sufi shrines have been reportedly attacked and an estimated 150 attacks on CD shops and music centres have left an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 shops and centres destroyed

17 March – United Nations, Geneva:
Freemuse and AFTE submit Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the UN, recommending Egypt should abolish prior censorship and allow artists to organise freely
Freemuse submits a UPR on Iran. The report recommends Iran should eliminate discrimination against women artists and abolish censorship of artistic expressions

28 March – Copenhagen, Denmark: The Royal Ballet
Ole Reitov, Freemuse, talks about Music Censorship at a sold out artistic presentation cum discussion at the National Royal Ballet



7 April – Helsinki, Finland
Nordic Fresh Air network meeting discussing safe havens for artists. Ole Reitov talks about ‘Protecting Persecuted Musicians Worldwide’

23 April – Lund, Sweden
Freemuse lectures on music censorship at Lund University, Department of Cultural Studies



5-7 May – Geneva
Freemuse hold talks with UN offices and embassies on UPR submissions and artistic freedom issues.

10 May – Global
AFTE and Freemuse publish an extensive study on censorship of artistic expression in Egypt. The 84-page report ‘Censors of Creativity’ reveals that the Egyptian government needs to reform the current legislative and institutional apparatus of censorship

13 May – Oslo, Norway
Oslo Music Forum: Freemuse Director, Ole Reitov in public talk with Pussy Riot members Nadezjda Tolokonnikova and Maria Aljokhinain

17 May – Oslo, Norway
National Museum of Cultural History opens the exhibition ‘Yes, we love freedom’. The exhibition includes a special “forbidden lounge” with a presentation of Freemuse and music censorship

21 May – Cairo, Egypt
Concert and launch of ”Censors of creativity” at Cairo’s Townhouse/Rawabet theatre.
Programme included performances by actor Sondos Shabayek, Ramy Essam and Like Jelly



1 June – Global
Freemuse and Global Voices initiate collaboration on articles on artistic freedom of expression

2 June – Linz, Austria
Ars Electronica announces Freemuse “Award of Distinction” winner

14-15 June – Copenhagen, Denmark
Freemuse Executive Committee annual meeting is held in Copenhagen.
Two new members Sam Farai, Zimbabwe and Frank Geary, Ireland are invited to join the Committee

19-22 June – Berne, Switzerland
The 4th European Forum on Music stages a session on “Freedom of Musical Expression” featuring Freemuse Director Ole Reitov, journalist Ingo Petz and Belarusian composer/musician Lavon Volski

26 June – Cairo, Egypt
The Freemuse/AFTE report: Censors of Creativity is presented by report writer, Ahmed Ezzat at the biannual meeting of EU delegations/Culture

30 June – Geneva, UN
A joint UPR submission by Freemuse, Siyah Bant and the Initiative for Freedom of Expression on Turkey is forwarded to the UN. The UPR points out that Law suits, arrests, threats and banning orders are dangers that artists in Turkey who touch on sensitive issues face



4 July – Global campaign
Following the 1 July verdict of Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, to four months in prison, Freemuse organises an international campaign for his release. Eleven international organisations join the Freemuse campaign.



5-6 September – Linz, Austria
At an award ceremony Freemuse received the 2014 the Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica – the world’s oldest and most renowned prize in media art.
Freemuse Director Ole Reitov presents the work of Freemuse at a public presentation.

23 September – Paris, France
Freemuse vice chair, journalist Daniel Brown speaks about censorship and the arts at a roundtable at Festival d’Ile de France 

26 September – Geneva, UN
In a submission to the United Nations, Freemuse and NCAC document violations of freedom of information and expression in public schools, jails, and prisons in the USA



3 October, Geneva, UN
In a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Freemuse argues that Belarus is failing to abide by its international commitments to fully protect the fundamental artistic freedoms of its citizens

3 October – Salzburg, Austria
Ole Reitov lectures on music censorship at the ‘My sound of Music’ film festival

6-9 October – Geneva
Freemuse, AFTE, Cairo Institute, CIHRS, and artist Ramy Essam hold talks with UN representatives and diplomats on the situation in Egypt. The Norwegian Permanent Mission to UN hosts a special meeting presenting the Freemuse/AFTE findings for diplomats and Human Rights Organisations

21 October, Malmö, Sweden
Freemuse Award winner Ramy Essam is officially announced as “safe city artist” in Malmö, Sweden

29 October – Oslo, Norway
Hugh Masekela in conversation with Ole Reitov at the Nobel Peace Center discusses the importance of music in the democratisation process in South Africa. The event was part of the Oslo World Music Festival



13 November – Global
Freemuse announces The City of Harstad, Norway, Freemuse Award Winner 2014 for the effort of becoming the world’s first ‘Safe city’ for musicians’

17 November – Berlin, Denmark
At a tv recording for ARTE Lounge, violin virtuoso Daniel Hope discusses music censorship with Ole Reitov, Freemuse and Markus N. Beeko, Amnesty International

21 November – Copenhagen, Denmark:
Ole Reitov and visual artist Nadia Plesner lectures on and discuss ”Arts and freedom Expression” with an audience at The Royal Danish Theatre



1 December – Global
Freemuse publish booklet on the history of Music Freedom Day

2-3 December – London, UK
Freemuse joins an international expert consultation in London. With the new UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Mr David Kay

2-3 December – Geneva, Switzerland
Freemuse and Siyah Bant visit UN offices and UPR info session on Turkey to present the joint UPR on Turkey

2-5 December – Bruxelles, Belgium, EU
Freemuse attend meetings organised by EIDHR (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights) discussing the establishment of a Human Rights Defenders mechanism and the 16th annual EU-NGO Forum by the EEAS (European External Action Service) with a focus on human rights and technology

3-6 December – Morocco
Freemuse visit artists and human rights organisations in Morocco to assess the situation for artistic freedom

4 December, Global
Freemuse protests against the four years prison sentence for Tibetan singer Kalsang Yarphel

15 December – Harstad, Norway
Freemuse nominee, Abazar Hamid, the Sudanese peace singer who was forced into exile in 2008, is finally announced as “safe city musician” in the Norwegian city Harstad


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