• Saudi Arabia: Music video and government initiatives split society

    A music video entitled ‘Hwages’, which loosely translates to “concerns”, featuring a trio of veiled female artists with colourful clothing underneath, playing together and singing about the oppression women face in Saudi Arabia has not only gone viral, but has also divided the country, reported The Independent on 5 January 2017. The women, while they […]
  • Podcast: Spotlight on Saudi female artists

    What’s it like to be a female artist in one of the world’s most conservative states? Today is Music Freedom Day, which makes a special focus on women performers and musicians and we therefore bring you this podcast by Big Hass, founder and radio host of Laish Hip Hop – Saudi’s First FM Hip Hop […]
  • Candidates to the UN Human Rights Council are grave violators of artistic expression

    Copenhagen 27 October 2016 | Freemuse is deeply concerned about the candidacies of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Cuba, for seats in the UN Human Rights Council. These countries are leading the league of countries violating freedom of artistic expression and cannot be considered qualified to protect human rights in the Human Rights Council. “The […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Emir bans playing and carrying of musical instruments in region

    Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal of the eastern region of Makkah banned the playing and carrying of musical instruments, headphones and speakers in public places within all governorates in the region on 16 June 2016, reported several local news sources, including the Saudi Gazette, Emirates 24/7 and Gulf Digital News, on 16 June 2016. The directive […]
  • Art Under Threat: Attacks on artistic freedom in 2015

    Freemuse Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015 Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in 2015 in over 70 countries. In total, Freemuse registered 469 cases of censorship and attacks on artists and violations of […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Festival stopped due to “swaying and dancing”

    Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in the Mayahel province stopped artist’s from performing music at a festival on two consecutive nights due to their dance movements on stage that were seen as improper for the audience, reported online newspaper Benaa.org on 11 January 2016. The head […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Concert with mixed gender audience cancelled

    A concert scheduled for 6 May 2015 at the major Jeddah Amasy concert hall was cancelled by authorities, according to the daily Saudi newspaper Ajel. Apparently the concert audience was planned to be of ‘mixed gender’, which incited an opposition campaign against the concert on social media. The event was to feature the popular young […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Edicts on music wade into controversy

    A fatwa by a Saudi scholar banning participation in prayers led by an imam who held the view that music was not forbidden in Islam has waded into controversy. Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani last week said that music was tolerated in Islam and that people could listen to songs. However, his view was promptly resisted […]
  • Saudia Arabia: Women banned from entering music shops

    Saudi Arabia has banned women from entering shops selling musical instruments amid continued violation of women’s rights in the Arab kingdom, reported Al-Hayat, Press TV and Tehran Times on 3 July 2013 Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice allegedly has ordered a number of music shops across the […]
  • Freemuse speaks at Human Rights Council

    On 3 June 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, Freemuse made its first oral statement in the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Commenting on the newly launched UN report on artistic freedom and creativity, Freemuse Programme Manager Ole Reitov said: “The problems faced by artists are well described. Your analysis of the negative effects on […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Musicians’ freedom expanded

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Musicians’ freedom expanded There has been a quiet, yet marked increase in cultural activities in Saudi Arabia during the past couple of months. New music bands emerge, and the internet has become an important meeting place for underground musicians. “There is a revolution taking place,” stated the American tv news reporter Nic […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Never write ‘music’ or ‘violin’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Never write ‘music’ or ‘violin’ Words such as ‘music’, ‘musician’, and ‘violin’ are considered offensive in Saudi Arabia, reports Arabnews.com In Saudia Arabia radio announcers are restricted from uttering words like “dance” or “party,” and according to Arabnews.com there is also a long list of particular words that are forbidden to mention […]
  • Saudi Arabia: King limits clerics who can issue fatwas

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia: Saudi king limits clerics who can issue fatwas After a Saudi cleric has declared that “there is no clear text or ruling in Islam that singing and music are haram or religiously forbidden” a decree sent by King Abdullahs office states that only senior Islamic clerics appointed by him can issue […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Ministry bans music and dancing in schools

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Ministry bans music and dancing in schools Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education issued on 9 June 2010 a circular to all schools in the kingdom ordering that no music or dancing be allowed during upcoming graduation celebrations, reported Muhammad Al-Sulami of Arab News on 10 June 2010. Graduation celebrations, the circular added, are […]
  • United Arab Emirates: Censored rap duo ready with new album

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## United Arab Emirates / (Saudi Arabia / Kuwait):Censored rap duo publishes new album The first and only album of the Emirati hip-hop duo Desert Heat which came out in 2008, was banned in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, reported AFP. It is still unknown if censorship will also be the fate of their next […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Religious conservatives create setback for Saudi musicians

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia: Religious conservatives create setback for Saudi musicians A last-minute cancellation of the Jeddah Film Festival was only one of several reversals for proponents of freer access to film and music in Saudi Arabia, reported AFP, Reuters and BBC News on 19 July 2009 Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment appears to have drawn […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Interview with founder of thrash metal band

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:‘Stay safe, play smart’ Interview with Faisal Al-Alamy, founder of the Saudi Arabian thrash metal band Octum. They released a demo entitled ‘Fighting For Freedom’ in January 2008 By Mik Aidt, Freemuse Guitarist Faisal Al-Alamy lives in Jeddah, and two years ago – inspired by bands such as Megadeth, Metallica, and Kreator […]
  • Jason Carter

    JASON CARTER (United Kingdom / Finland) ##PagePublishedLong## Jason Carter performs mainly as a solo guitarist, and has toured the world extensively for British Council. He has strong artistic links with the Middle East and was the co-founder of the ‘Bahrain International Guitar Festival’. In this interview he speaks about his personal experiences of music censorship […]
  • Sweden: Religious group attempts to silence music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Sweden: Religious group attempts to silence music On 25 April 2006, a documentary programme on SVT, the National Swedish TV, showed how a group of young, religious men in Sweden act as if they were an Islamic police force and try to prevent Swedish Muslims – basically of Somali origin – from listening […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Journalist arrested for “destructive thoughts”

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Journalist arrested for “destructive thoughts” Journalist who reported about ritualistic burning of musical instruments has been arrested by Saudi Arabia’s domestic intelligence agency On April 3, Saudi Arabia’s domestic intelligence agency, al-Mabahith, arrested journalist Rabbah al-Quwai’i, 24, on charges of “doubting the [Islamic] creed” and for “harboring destructive thoughts.” While based in […]
  • 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 […]
  • Video interviews from the 3rd Freemuse World Conference

    | Start page | Media coverage | Speakers | Programme | Photos |  3rd FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE ON MUSIC AND CENSORSHIP VIDEO INTERVIEWSfrom the conference in Istanbul, 25-26 November 2006 Fadal Dey – singer from Côte d’Ivoire Grup Yorum – music group from Turkey Jason Carter – British guitarist about Saudi Arabia Jeroen de Kloet – Dutch researcher about China Mario Masvidal – professor from […]
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