On Thursday 14 February 2013, the Norwegian Musicians’ Union presented their new project SafeMUSE – and the first ever ‘safe haven city’ within the field of music: Harstad.
Imagine that the police would come to the door of the artist and musicians after the concert in Oslo yesterday…
A number of musicians, artists and composers are experiencing this. Freedom of speech is not to be taken for granted — also not for musicians. The Pussy Riot case was an eye-opener for many. The current situation in Mali likewise. Persecution, imprisonment, torture and murder of musicians — because they are musicians and performing their music — is the reality for far too many. In 2011 the international organisation Freemuse documented more than 100 violations. Musicians and artists around the world are arrested, tortured, attacked and even killed due to their artistic activities.
40 safe cities for authors
To date there has been no parallel scheme for safe music havens. In 2011, the Norwegian Musicians’ Union (MFO), in close cooperation with Freemuse, the World Forum on Music and Censorship, and professional organisations in the Nordic countries, took the first steps towards establishing a safe music haven scheme, because they felt there is a need for increasing awareness of these issues, to promote initiatives that strengthen the freedom of artistic expression and democracy building, and organise support for persecuted musicians world-wide.
MFO has now put a Safe Music Havens Initiative in place as a parallel to the safehaven-cities for authors. The first city has been identified, Harstad, which is ready to welcome a persecuted musician to a life where music creation and performance can be made in a secure environment where there is freedom of speech – in line with the UN Declaration of Human Rights. And thereby, in the bigger picture, contribute to increasing freedom of speech and democracy in exposed areas of the globe.
Harstad is a city of 23,000 citizens, situated 300 kilometres north of the polar circle.
SafeMUSE, the Safe Music Havens Initiative, has the ambition to establish an international scheme of safe music havens for persecuted artists, musicians and composers, initially in the Nordic countries.
by:Larm is “Scandinavias new conference and networking arena for tech & change oriented people where technology and music interact”.
Seminar session details
by:Larm home page:
About Harstad — on Wikipedia, the open encyclopedia:
About Troms County Council — on the council’s official homepage:
– about freedom of expression for musicians, and about the new ‘Safe City’ initiative SafeMuse
| Media coverage
Sveriges Radio, Kulturnytt – 13 February 2013: