Newsletter no. 4 / 2012

15 November 2012

First global network in support of artistic freedom of expression

On 27 October 2012, 14 international arts and human rights organisations and networks – representing more than 1,200 national organisations globally – met in Oslo and launched a new network, Artsfex, which is the first international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression as well as issues relating to human rights and freedoms generally.

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United Nations: Global study on the right to artistic freedom

The United Nations special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights has sent a questionnaire to all member states asking them to report on legislations and practices related to artistic freedom and censorship.
Freemuse’s Programme Manager has been attached as a consultant for the world organisation’s upcoming study and report on conditions and right to artistic freedom of expression.

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World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression

More than 40 artists and speakers from all over the world came, spoke, performed, listened and shared experiences with colleagues and an audience from more than 20 countries thus making ‘All that is banned is desired’ the melting pot we had hoped it would become.
Several interviews and video recordings of the presentations will soon be published on the site.
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Vietnam: Two musicians get four and six years prison-sentence

Freemuse has requested the attention of the President of Vietnam to the recent imprisonment of two songwriters, Viet Khang and Hoang Nhat Thong, who have been convicted to respectively four and six years in prison for “anti-state propaganda”.
Viet Khang is widely known for song lyrics which condemn a police crackdown on anti-China activists and touch on other social justice issues.

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Freemuse’s appeal letter (PDF)



Cameroon: Musicians’ demonstration ended with 63 arrests

On 8 November 2012, a peaceful demonstration was organised in the capital Yaounde by Cameroonian musicians who wanted to protest against the way royalties to artists are being distributed in the country.
The demonstration was allegedly severely repressed by more than 1,000 policemen. Union leader Roméo Dika stands accused for having prepared an insurrection.

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Iranian musician: How to live with a death sentence

Shaheen Najafi, who received a death sentence (fatwa) from religious authorities in Iran in May 2012, recently performed an ‘Impossible Music Session’ in the US.
In connection with the conference ‘All that is Banned is Desired’, Freemuse published a nine-pages interview with Shahin Najafi and Günter Wallraff.
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Mali: The day the music stopped

“We do not want Satan’s music,” said an Islamist spokesman as he banned the broadcasting of all western music from his stronghold in Gao – the ‘red zone’ in northern Mali.
The region is also home to the world-renowned ‘Festival in the Desert’ whose director Manny Ansar remains confident that no one can kill Malian music. Journalist Andy Morgan reports.
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Silencing music in Turkey 2012

An 18-pages leaflet with updates on violations of musical expression in Turkey in the past 12 months was published in October 2012 by the Initiative for Freedom of Expression in Istanbul, Turkey.
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Vietnam:  Viet Khang and Hoang Nhat Thong
Convicted to four and six years in prison for anti-state propaganda.
Iran / Germany:  Shahin Najafi
Sentenced to death in absentia by religious authorities in Iran.
Iran:  Arya Aramnejad
Released in April 2012 but was sentenced to one more year in prison.
Russia:  Pussy Riot
Two band members sentenced to two years in prison.
Turkey:  Ferhat Tunç
Sentenced to two years in prison. Still on trial.
Morocco:  El Haked
Sentenced in May 2012 to one year in prison.




European Commission: Artists are free to ‘offend, shock or disturb’

The European Union criticised Poland’s supreme court for allowing prosecutors to try Adam Darski, lead singer in the heavy metal band Behemoth, for illegal artistic expression.


Songwriter killed by unknown gunmen

Somali poet, playwright and songwriter Warsame Shire Awale was killed in the country’s capital, Mogadishu, on 29 October 2012 in the evening.


Interview with released Pussy Riot member

Index on Censorship had the exclusive opportunity to interview Pussy Riot member Ekatrina Samutsevich who was freed by a Moscow court on 10 October 2012.




What do Ramy Essam, Marie Boine, Marcel Khalife and Ferhat Tunc have in common with Kris Kristofferson and Manu Chao?
They have all talked to Freemuse about music censorship.
The website contains interviews with artists from 25 countries.

Many of the interviews are available on where, til now, more than 210,000 people have viewed them.

Watch the video interviews on:



Find more information and news on
– the world’s largest knowledge base on music censorship.




Connect and interact with Freemuse


– The World Forum on Music and Censorship
Nytorv 17, 3rd floor
1450 Copenhagen K
Tel +45 33 32 10 27

Freemuse (FREEdom of MUSical Expression) is an international
human rights organisation advocating freedom of expression for musicians
and composers worldwide.

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