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China: Ministry of Culture allegedly blacklists 55 artists

13 January 2017

China has allegedly blacklisted 55 artists, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have expressed views that China deems objectionable.

  China has allegedly blacklisted 55 artists, mostly musicians, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have participated in pro-democracy movements or expressed political views that China deems objectionable, reported Quartz on 11 January 2017. Hints of the blacklist came a week earlier, on 6 January, …

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Zambia: Hounded singer remains defiant

13 January 2017

Singer Pilato was one of the few artists to step into the political arena to denounce the clampdown and the ongoing tenure of a beleaguered presidency.

  by Phoenix Gauthier, Freemuse correspondent On 11 August 2016, incumbent Zambian president Edgar Lungu squeezed out a controversial victory in the general elections, taking 50.35% of the votes. In the months that followed, Zambia experienced its worst attacks on press freedom in years. Three of its media outlets were …

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Burundi: Music censorship or artist protection?

11 January 2017

Since a political crisis hit Burundi in May 2015, tensions have been high and it seems that the newest victims of this battle are local musicians.

  Since a political crisis hit Burundi in May 2015, tensions have been high between the powers that be and the opposition; the media and civil society have all been involved in this polarising battle; and it seems that the newest victims of this battle are local musicians who now …

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Russia: Artistic freedom threatened by nationalist and orthodox groups

6 January 2017

Religious orthodoxy and political nationalism continue to be the main motivations behind attacks on artistic freedom in Russia

While Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed in a meeting with film directors and artists in early December 2016 to protect artistic freedom, he also said artists carry a responsibility not to offend religious believers, saying “there is a very narrow divide between dangerous shock value and freedom of creativity”, reported The New York Times on 2 December 2016.

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Turkey: The Freemuse Files on Censorship of the Arts

15 December 2016

‘Turkey – The Freemuse Files’ is the first in a series of Freemuse compilations aimed at providing an overview of artistic freedom by country or topic.

For almost 20 years, Freemuse has documented violations on freedom of musical expressions and since 2012 also violations on other art forms in Turkey. ‘Turkey – The Freemuse Files’ is the first in a series of Freemuse compilations. The idea is to provide our readers, network partners and policy makers …

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Freemuse at WOMEX 2016: Unspoken Censorship

12 December 2016

On 21 October 2016, Freemuse vice-chair Daniel Brown, participated in a WOMEX 2016 panel and open forum dialogue entitled, ‘Unspoken Censorship: How can artists and media counter it –  and safely live to tell the tale’, to discuss the forces at work behind censorship in music worldwide, over time and …

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Lebanon: Backlash mounts after psychedelic music festival

24 October 2016

Hexaplex festival website frontpage section, Lebanon

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 …

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South Korea: Alleged government blacklist of 9,473 artists over politics

19 October 2016

South Korean daily newspaper Hankook Ilbo revealed on 11 October 2016 that the South Korean government blacklisted 9,473 artists from receiving state support, including financial support, due to their political activity of either being critical of the current government or backing opposition politicians, reported The Korea Times on 12 October …

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Vietnam: Popular music and censorship

14 October 2016

The Vietnamese state operates a thorough system of music censorship, and the few songwriters who dare to directly challenge the authority of the Vietnamese Communist Party or its policies face serious consequences. Focusing on popular musicians, this article charts the history of music censorship in Vietnam from the mid twentieth century through …

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How can you put a song behind bars: Dario Fo

13 October 2016

Nobel Prizewinner wrote foreword to Freemuse book Dario Fo, famous for his cutting political satire has died at age 90. Fo, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1997, was also a songwriter and during his lifetime experienced censorship not only in Italy, but in many other countries as well. …

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United Kingdom: University cancels musical due to race row

12 October 2016

Bristol university theatre cancelled musical ‘Aida’ over “cultural appropriation” protests that white students would be cast as ancient Egyptians & slaves.

A theatre at the University of Bristol cancelled all showings of its student production of musical ‘Aida’ due to protests over potential “cultural appropriation” that white students would be cast in the lead roles of ancient Egyptians and slaves, reported The Telegraph on 4 October 2016. The musical, written by …

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Ukraine: Lawmakers vote against bill banning Russian artists

11 October 2016

Lawmakers in Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted against a bill that would have restricted all Russian artists who wanted to tour in the country, and would only have been allowed to do so if they submitted a written condemnation of “the occupation of Ukrianian territory” to promoters, reported Billboard …

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Tanzania: Two artists arrested for allegedly insulting president in latest song

5 October 2016

Tanzanian musician Mwana Cotide (real name: Fulgency Mapunda) and music producer Mussa Sikabwe were arrested for allegedly producing, singing and distributing a song called ‘Dikteta Uchwara’ (Petty Dictator) that contained “seditious and offensive” content against Tanzanian President John Magufuli, reported the Swahili Times on 29 September 2016. The two artists …

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Germany/Netherlands: Faroese metal band shows cancelled over whaling

29 September 2016

Viking heavy metal band, Týr, from the Faroe Islands, have had at least six concerts of their 17-date November European tour supporting Norwegian metal band Sirenia cancelled over lead singer Heri Joensen’s participation in the Faroese practice of whaling. According to heavy metal news site MetalTalk.net on 30 August 2016, …

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Morocco: News site publishes blacklist of artists with alleged ties to Israel

26 September 2016

On 9 September 2016, Moroccan news site Noon Presse published its own blacklist of seven Moroccan performers and artists who have “normalised” relations with Israel, which means, according to the site, that the artists have chosen “to go against the flow” by “unashamedly visiting Israel or communicating with Israelis”. The …

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USA: Christian music festival drops band due to gay singer

22 September 2016

Christian band Everyday Sunday was dropped from northern California Christian music festival Joshua Fest as 11 production staff threatened to walk out if the recently out lead singer of the band, Trey Pearson, took the stage, reported Billboard on 12 September 2016. Joshua Fest owner Aaron Diello said that his production …

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