• Lebanon: Backlash mounts after psychedelic music festival

    The Hexaplex psychedelic music festival held from 1-4 September 2016 at a camping site in Chahtoul, Lebanon, 35 kilometres north of capital Beirut, has been receiving backlash from the local Christian community, politicians and general public who claim festivalgoers participated in acts contrary to their religious, cultural and social norms and values, including the use […]
  • Lebanon: Authorities ban song on grounds of offending God

    The censorship bureau of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife’s song ‘Kyrie Eleison’ because it “contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, ‘have mercy on us and leave us alone’”, reported CNN Arabic on 12 April 2016. The authorities further stated that if Bashar Mar-Khalife wants […]
  • Iran/Lebanon: Artists affected by conflicts

    When conflicts unfold between and within countries, artists’ rights to artistic freedom of expression are often violated. Recently, artists have been affected by the ongoing conflicts between Israel and Lebanon as well as between Israel and Iran. Singer banned in Iran after performance in Israel The Iranian-born British Muslim singer Sami Yusuf, whose records have […]
  • Egypt, Lebanon: Trance music boycotted for Israeli collaborations

    German trance music producer and DJ Paul Van Dyk has had his new album ‘The Politics of Dancing 3’ banned in Egypt, Lebanon and several other countries in the Middle East, allegedly because it was produced in collaboration with Israeli producers. Paul Van Dyk, one of the world’s most famous trance artists, made a point […]
  • Lebanon: Controversial singer threatened by The Al-Nusra Front

    According to iaanews.com, the leader of the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, Abdula Al Muhaisini, has sent a message to the controversial Lebanese singer Fadl Shaker warning him against “resuming his singing career”. The warning came after Fadl Shaker has re-appeared on the public scene roughly two years after joining hard-line sheikhs and announcing his retirement […]
  • Freemuse presents: ‘From Zombies to Revolutionaries’

    Music is the Weapon… of the Present! Middle East’s Revolutionary Artists meet Fela Anikulapo Kuti One was beaten, one was imprisoned, all have been questioned by the police and most are facing censorship. But their music cannot be stopped. Freemuse is proud to present a unique track with a group of today’s most powerful Arab […]
  • Lebanon: Armenian concert cancelled in Tripoli

    An Armenian concert scheduled to be held at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli on 25 April 2015 was cancelled out of fear that it would be used to attack Turkish policy against Armenian people in the past and thus provoke Turkey. According to As-Safir, one of Lebanon’s leading daily newspapers, The […]
  • Egypt: Growing number of concerts cancelled for “security reasons”

    A scheduled concert in Egypt with the Lebanese singer Meriam Fares is the latest in a long row of live concerts which have been cancelled by the Egyptian police during April 2015, allegedly for “security reasons”. The Ministry of Interior also has cancelled live concerts which were scheduled to be held in Cairo, quoting “security […]
  • Bahrain: Parliament’s attempt to ban singer failed

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Bahrain:Parliament’s attempt to ban singer failed Bahrain’s Islamist parliament members wanted to ban the Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe from performing in the country because of her sexy looks. They were not successful. Instead, their attempt gave the singer great publicity world-wide Singer and pop diva Haifa Wehbe (also spelled: Hayfa Wahbi) has so […]
  • Lebanon: Hip hop band’s censored album debut

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon:Hip hop band’s censored album debut The Beirut-based rap duo Ashekman has come up against censorship several times in its young career, reports The Daily Star, as they are about to publish their debut album with an Arabic parental advisory warning on the cover “They give voice to Lebanon’s disaffected youth through music,” […]
  • Lebanon: Protest against increased censorship

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: Protest against increased censorship In light of the notable increase in censorship in Lebanon over the last year, a number of musicians, performers, filmmakers and comedians decided to put on a show at Metro al-Madina in Beirut on 15 March 2012, entitled ‘I am Free’. The event brought together popular artists such […]
  • Lebanon: American pop song banned by Lebanese radio

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: American pop song banned by Lebanese radio The American superstar, singer and songwriter Lady Gaga — topping the music charts in 21 countries, presently UK’s most played artist in the radio — has stirred religious controversy for being ‘offensive to Christianity’. The song ‘Judas’ from Lady Gaga’s top-selling new album ‘Born This […]
  • Lebanon: Brief arrest of singer Zeid Hamdan caused uproar

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: Brief arrest of singer Zeid Hamdan caused uproar The arrest of the singer and composer Zeid Hamdan, a well-known figure of the Beirut underground music scene, for defamation over a song he wrote in 2008 about the country’s president caused ‘Internet shock waves’ both nationally and internationally. He was released seven hours […]
  • Freemuse: Young Arab leaders discussed music censorship

    ACTIVITIES ##PagePublishedLong## Freemuse: Young Arab leaders discussed music censorship Music censorship in the Middle East and North Africa was in focus at a Stockholm seminar on 12 June 2009, rounding up a ‘Young Leaders’ training programme. Freemuse’s programme manager Ole Reitov joined rapper Behrang Miri from Iran in a discussion with more than 30 social […]
  • Human Rights for Musicians – Talking music and censorship in the Arab world • Layla Al-Zubaidi

    PUBLICATIONS TEN YEARS WITH FREEMUSE TALKING MUSIC AND CENSORSHIP IN THE ARAB WORLD Layla Al-Zubaidi Director of the Heinrich B When Freemuse approached our organisation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Middle East Office in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2004, to inquire whether we would be willing to collaborate on a regional conference about freedom of expression in […]
  • Human Rights for Musicians – Impressions & Descriptions: Marcel Khalife

    PUBLICATIONS TEN YEARS WITH FREEMUSE IMPRESSIONS & DESCRIPTIONS Marcel Khalife Musician and composer, Lebanon Freemuse stands for music and the reaffirmation of the rights of musicians and their protection from prohibitions, censorship and threats. Freemuse is an expression of our responsibility towards our musical culture and the protection of our music and musicians from the […]
  • Oath to Vanquish

    OATH TO VANQUISH(Lebanon) ##PagePublishedLong## The Lebanese Death Metal trio Oath to Vanquish published their debut album on 25 July 2006 in Europe and USA, but not in their home country, Lebanon.In this video interview, recorded in Beirut on 8 July 2006, the two brothers Elias and Carlos, along with third member of the band, Cyril, explain about the […]
  • The burning music question in Islam: prohibited or not?

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## The burning music question in Islam Can we get it straight: Music… is it or is it not allowed in Islam? Is playing music a violation of Islamic law Apparently, there is no simple answer. Because Muslims themselves don’t agree on the subject. While some Muslims see music as a natural part of […]
  • Clotaire K

    CLOTAIRE K Musician (Lebanon/France) ##PagePublishedLong## Clotaire K was born in France by a Lebanese mother and an Egyptian father. He writes, arranges and records music, and in this interview, recorded while he visited Denmark to perform during the Images of the Middle East festival in 2006, he speaks about how he perceives music as a […]
  • Lebanon: Music producer called in for “investigation”

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: Music producer called in for “investigation” A Lebanese composer of Dark Ambient music is to be investigated on 2 June 2006 at the headquarter of the General Security department in Beirut, his music being categorised as “satanic” and “offensive to people’s morals”  Osman Arabi, 24 – also known as Xardas – is a composer of Dark […]
  • Freedom of musical expression in the Middle East – report

    FREEMUSE REPORT 06 June 2006 Marie Korpe (ed.)’All that is Banned is Desired’Conference on Freedom of Expression in Music, Beirut 2005 Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2006ISSN: 1601-2127Read the report (in English language)Purchase printed versionRead the report (in Arabic language) There is an Arab saying ‘Kul Mamnou’ Marghoub.’‘All that is banned is desired.’And there is a Qur’anic command:‘Never […]
  • Lebanon: “Satanic music” regarded a security issue

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: “Satanic music” regarded a security issue Composer of Dark Ambient music called in for “investigation” at the headquarter of the General Security Department in Beirut, had to sign a paper promising that he will never send or receive any packages that contain “dark”, “harsh” or “weird” music Osman Arabi, 24 – also known […]
  • Xardas

    XARDAS(Lebanon) ##PagePublishedLong## Xardas is a 24-year-old Lebanese composer of Dark Ambient music, based in Tripoli. In June 2006, 150 copies of his albums were confiscated, and he was warned by General Security that if they caught him with this type of music again, he would be imprisoned without trial. The interview was recorded in Xardas’ […]
  • Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Moe Hamzeh

    SPEECHES ##PagePublishedLong## A Threat from Hell? Who feels threatened by Heavy Metal? What is so offensive? Is it the music, the lyrics or the references to religion and death after life? These were some of the questions raised by rock musician Moe Hamzeh at the Conference on Freedom of Expression in Beirut in October 2005 Moe Hamzeh, […]
  • Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Ali Abu Shadi

    SPEECHES ##PagePublishedLong## Better the devil you know At the Freemuse conference on freedom of musical expression in Beriut, October 2005, Ali Abu Shadi spoke about his work as the chairman of the central Censorship Department in Egypt.“I accepted the job because I wanted to do something positive. I tried to change the concept of the […]
  • Lebanon: Islamic scholar rejects religious censorship of music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: Islamic scholar rejects religious prohibition on music“There is no ban on music in the Qur’an, and those talking about which music is haram (forbidden/bad) and which music is halal (allowed) have very weak evidence,” says a renowned Islamic scholar from The Beirut Studies and Documentation Center By Ole Reitov, Freemuse While authorities […]
  • Silence is death – Censorship in the Arab world

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Silence is death – Censorship in the Arab world ‘Freedom of Expression in Music’ conference in Beirut posed many questions but did it reach any solutions? By Trevor Mostyn for The Daily Star BEIRUT: Plato recognized music’s ability to threaten people and society while Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars have at times described […]
  • Conference: Freedom of expression and music in the Middle East

    ACTIVITY ##PagePublishedLong## Conference: Freedom of expression and music in the Middle East By Ole Reitov “Totalitarian regimes are afraid of freedom and impose one speech, the one that keeps them in power, said Mai Ghoussoub, founder of London’s Saqi Books, in her personal keynote speech at the Freemuse regional conference “Freedom of Expression in Music” […]
  • Middle East: Hip-Hop on the frontline

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Hip-Hop on the frontlineGlobalised rap music may have lost its bite, but in the Middle East it’s giving voice to both sides in the conflict. Article from The Guardian. For Arab countries and the Middle East, the influence and performance of hip-hop lights a few fuses. First, the debate that hip-hop’s cultural swamping […]
  • Marcel Khalife – the blasphemy trials

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Marcel Khalife – the blasphemy trialsOn 3 November 1999, Marcel Khalife appeared before the Beirut Court of First Instance, accused of blasphemy, charges that could bring him six months to six years imprisonment. The charge against him relates to the song ‘Oh Father, I am Yusuf’, based on a poem by the Palestinian […]
  • Lebanese censors seize hundreds of DVDs and three CDs

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanese censors seize DVDs and CDs Lebanese police have confiscated 600 video-DVDs and three music-CDs from a Virgin Megastore in Beirut. According to the BBC News, a score of plain-clothed and uniformed policemen raided the store on Thursday, January 3, 2002. The store manager then spent most of the next two days in police […]
  • Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee In March 2004, the Lebanese Surete Generale censored a video clip entitled “Why are You Emigrating?” by Najwa Karam, a well known singer. The Censorship department at The Surate Generale linked the content of the video clip to the clashes that occurred between security forces […]
  • Marcel Khalife

    MARCEL KHALIFESinger and musician (Lebanon / France) ##PagePublishedLong## Video statement: ‘Majnoon Layla’In this statement Marcel Khalife speaks (in Arabic language) about why artists must engage in the defence of creativity.  See the video. 09 October 2002 Interview: ‘The quest for freedom’Video interview and music performance by Marcel Khalife recorded at the Freemuse at the 2nd Freemuse World […]
  • Lebanon: Song touching ‘The Armenian question’ banned

    NEWS 03 May 2010 Lebanon: Song touching ‘The Armenian question’ banned Eileen Khatchadourian’s music video ‘Zartir Vortyag’ which touches on Armenian topics is reported to have been banned by the Lebanese General Security In the music video a mother is seen calling upon her son to go and fight the enemy, and it also includes […]
  • The Middle East: New restrictions on satellite tv

    NEWS The Middle East:New restrictions on satellite tv Freedom of expression in the Middle East suffered a major setback on 12 February 2008 when 21 information ministers of the Arab League agreed on a new charter which requires satellite tv broadcasting “not to offend leaders in the Arab world” and to “protect Arab identity from […]
  • Jonas Otterbeck: Islamic reactions to the music of today

    WORKING PAPER Battling over the public sphere: Islamic reactions to the music of today A working paper – by Jonas Otterbeck, PhD in history of religions “States and local authorities have taken action against heavy metal musicians, female singers, music videos, and public concerts. Islamist and conservative Islamic organizations or individuals try to disturb and […]
  • 3rd Freemuse World Conference on Music and Censorship

    | Media coverage | Speakers | Programme | Photos | Video interviews |   3rd FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE ON MUSIC AND CENSORSHIP     25-26 November 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey Professional musicians, scholars, and composers from 22 countries met at the 3rd Freemuse World Conference. Over two intensive days, they documented how music censorship is being […]
  • Freemuse.org: Focus on artists from the Middle East

    NEWS Freemuse.org:Videocamera focus on artists from the Middle East Watch the new video interviews on www.freemuse.org During the ‘Images of the Middle East’ festival in Denmark in August-September 2006, Freemuse recorded video interviews with… • Turkish-Kurdish folk singer  Sivan Perwer• Palestinian-Israeli singer Kamilya Jubran• Lebanese Death Metal band Oath to Vanquish• Lebanese-French rapper and composer Clotaire K• Also, […]
  • Shoot the Singer! Book

    SHOOT THE SINGER! MUSIC CENSORSHIP TODAY 25 May 2004 Edited by Marie Korpe (Executive Director, Freemuse), published by Zed Books, London.Publication date: 18 May 2004. CD included. Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today was presented on 18 May 2004 at a combined book launch and one-day seminar on music censorship at SOAS (School of Oriental […]
  • Shoot the Singer! – table of contents

    SHOOT THE SINGER ! TABLE OF CONTENTS Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today table of contents one | Introduction1 What is music censorship? Towards a better understanding of the termMartin Cloonan 2 Music as a parallel power structureAlenka Barber-Kersovan 3 Music as a useless activity: conservative interpretations of music in IslamJonas Otterbeck two | Asia4 […]
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