What Drove Violations

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: WHAT DROVE VIOLATIONS The following section of the Art under Threat in 2016 report explores the issues and tendencies that drove governments and other groups to limit artistic expression. TABLE OF CONTENTS * Click on the following titles to be taken to that part of …

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India: Censors under fire

30 May 2016

Nearly halfway into the term of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the world’s largest democracy is witnessing an increasingly polarised debate over freedom of expression; and what many critics and civil society members say is an atmosphere of intolerance in the country. By Ankush Arora    INSIGHT  When Indian …

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India: Singer prosecuted for song critical of state government

15 December 2015

Arrested for singing a song critical of the government of the South Indian state Tamil Nadu, folk singer and activist Kovan has now been released on bail. His arrest is part of a larger crackdown on activism and freedom of expression, reports Lakshimi Sarah At the end of October 2015, …

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India: Punjab government bans ‘vulgar’ music in state-run buses

11 November 2015

On 2 November 2015, the state government in Punjab imposed a ban on playing ‘vulgar’ music in state-run buses with immediate effect, reported DNA India. “Random surprise checks would be conducted by a specially constituted committee to check the use of provocative music in buses,” an official spokesperson told the …

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India: Pakistani singer’s concerts cancelled after protests

16 October 2015

Two concerts by the veteran Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali scheduled in the Indian state of Maharashtra were cancelled by the organizers after a regional Hindu right-wing party took exception to the events. The Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist party that is part of the coalition government in Maharashtra State, asked …

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India: Religious group issues fatwa against composer A. R. Rahman

16 September 2015

A Muslim group in India has issued a fatwa against the Indian musician and composer A. R. Rahman and the Iranian film director Majid Majidi. A Sunni-Muslim group in Mumbai called the Raza Academy has issued the fatwa in protest against Majidi’s film ‘Muhammad: Messenger of God’ – Iran’s most …

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India: Film makers threatened to remove song from film

30 June 2015

The makers of the film ‘Guddu Rangeela’ have reportedly been threatened by religious groups that if they don’t remove the song ‘Mata Ka Email’ from their film, they risk facing “dire consequences”, including disruptions at the theatres. In Ludhiana, there has been demonstrations demanding a ban to be put on the film, …

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India: Censorship board bleeps out ‘Bombay’ from music video

2 February 2015

Mihir Joshi, an Indian musician recording his first album in 2014, needed a word to rhyme with ‘today’ in one of his songs and found one that he thought fit perfectly. But India’s Central Board of Film Certification disagreed. The censorship board replaced it with a beep when the music …

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India: Singer calls for a censor board in the music industry

27 January 2015

“Like movies, censorship of music is a must and should be implemented immediately in our industry. This is the only way to preserve the sanctity of our music,” the renowned Indian singer Sukhwinder Singh told Times of India. He is displeased with the “visible vulgarity in present-day songs”. Sukhwinder Singh …

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India: Tamil poets explains how music is permitted in Islam

17 February 2014

“Islam is not against music,” said Tamil poet Abdul Rahman on 14 February 2014, and that statement was quickly quoted and republished on dozens of Indian news-sites and blogs. Abdul Rahman is the director of the Islamic Literary Organisation, Islamiya Ilakkiya Kazhagam – a pioneer literary organisation in the Indian state …

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India: Rap song about corruption asked to be removed from film

2 December 2013

‘Eggjactly’, a rap song about corruption composed, written and sung by Jaaved Jaaferi, is banned form televison by the censor board – and might also be banned altogether from the film ‘Jackpot’. See on You can listen to the song on Jaaved Jaaferi gives an introduction on live tv …

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India: Artists protest against state-sponsored censorship

13 May 2013

A protest march demanded that the Bombay High court immediately release of members of the cultural troupe Kabir Kala Manch. Published on on 8 May 2013. On 2 May 2013, artists, writers, journalists, filmmakers, students, cultural activists and actors from theatre groups marched in protest from Sriram Centre to …

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India: Band in Kashmir decides to dissolve after threats

22 February 2013

  Pragaash Photo: Courtesy of News Bharati The band Pragaash from Kashmir has decided to dissolve after only one concert. The reason is a fatwa issued by an imam, as well as harassment and rape threats on social media.   The members of Pragaash made a quick end to their …

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India: Authorities close tv channel for broadcasting vulgar music videos

19 November 2010

The Indian Information and Broadcasting Ministry has closed SS Music, a multi-lingual music channel, for seven days for showing nudity. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has prohibited the transmission or re-transmission of SS Music on any platform throughout India with effect from midnight on 22 November till midnight on 29 …

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India: Political party promises to ban Western music

5 October 2009

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in the Indian state Haryana has promised the voters that if they were to replace the congress government, the party would ban Western music. “Western music and vulgarity in the name of culture will be banned,” declared a party leader at a press conference …

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India: Live music banned, concert cancelled

14 August 2008

The organisers of a concert on 1 August 2008 in Bangalore got a surprise notice from the police. They were told that no restaurant in the city could host live music anymore. Recorded music would be fine, but not live, one of Bangalore’s popular nightspots was informed by the police. …

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India: Complete ban on music in West Bengal village

3 January 2007

In the past nine months, no music has been played in the West Bengal village Kanupur. A religious leader in Murshidabad has banned listening to music at home, and playing music in public is also forbidden, reports Calcutta Telegraph and the Indian tv channel Times Now. “Music is prohibited in …

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India: Album recalled and destroyed because it offends Christians

12 October 2006

India has seen a “Cartoon Crisis” of its own, only this time around Jesus is the prophet in focus. EMI Warner Music has pulled the new album by the American Heavy Metal band Slayer from music stores across India because of protests from the Christian community, Reuters reported on 10 …

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India: American singer censored on tv

24 August 2006

Paris Hilton’s music video ‘Stars Are Blind’ has been banned because of “sexual connotations”. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has issued an “A” (Adult) certification for the music video which is part of Hilton’s debut album, ‘Paris’. It was released in Mumbai on 22 August 2006. This means …

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India: Government bans “raunchy” music videos

11 May 2006

In April 2006 the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India banned “raunchy music videos”. However, in May 2006 The Times of India reports that the ban has not been implemented Popular Indian tv channels such as Channel V, B4U, Balle Balle, MTV, iTV and MH1 were …

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India: Bhangra dance banned in Jamshedpur

8 April 2003

Sikh religious leaders in the city of Jamshedpur has banned women from the community from dancing the vigorous Punjabi bhangra on the streets during celebrations “There will be a complete ban on women’s participation in bhangra. Those found guilty of violating the directive will have pay 2,100 rupees.” This was said in …

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