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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Lebanon: Authorities ban song on grounds of offending God

17 May 2016

The censorship bureau of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife’s song ‘Kyrie Eleison’ because it “contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, ‘have mercy on us and leave us alone’”, reported CNN Arabic on 12 April 2016. The authorities further stated …

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Iran/Lebanon: Artists affected by conflicts

4 August 2015

When conflicts unfold between and within countries, artists’ rights to artistic freedom of expression are often violated. Recently, artists have been affected by the ongoing conflicts between Israel and Lebanon as well as between Israel and Iran. Singer banned in Iran after performance in Israel The Iranian-born British Muslim singer …

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Egypt, Lebanon: Trance music boycotted for Israeli collaborations

3 July 2015

German trance music producer and DJ Paul Van Dyk has had his new album ‘The Politics of Dancing 3’ banned in Egypt, Lebanon and several other countries in the Middle East, allegedly because it was produced in collaboration with Israeli producers. Paul Van Dyk, one of the world’s most famous …

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Lebanon: Controversial singer threatened by The Al-Nusra Front

27 May 2015

According to, the leader of the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, Abdula Al Muhaisini, has sent a message to the controversial Lebanese singer Fadl Shaker warning him against “resuming his singing career”. The warning came after Fadl Shaker has re-appeared on the public scene roughly two years after joining hard-line …

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Lebanon: Armenian concert cancelled in Tripoli

6 May 2015

An Armenian concert scheduled to be held at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli on 25 April 2015 was cancelled out of fear that it would be used to attack Turkish policy against Armenian people in the past and thus provoke Turkey. According to As-Safir, one of …

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Lebanon: Virtual museum winning censorship battles

3 November 2014

The Virtual Museum of Censorship in Lebanon doesn’t just display censorship of the past, it also supports artists who have been subject to censorship, raises awareness about Lebanon’s censorship practices and advocates for changing the law while holding authorities accountable. “Lebanon’s censorship practices and laws are outdated and the bureaucracy …

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Lebanon: Protest against increased censorship

26 March 2012

  In light of the notable increase in censorship in Lebanon over the last year, a number of musicians, performers, filmmakers and comedians decided to put on a show at Metro al-Madina in Beirut on 15 March 2012, entitled ‘I am Free’. The event brought together popular artists such as …

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Lebanon: Brief arrest of singer Zeid Hamdan caused uproar

2 August 2011

  The arrest of the singer and composer Zeid Hamdan, a well-known figure of the Beirut underground music scene, for defamation over a song he wrote in 2008 about the country’s president caused ‘Internet shock waves’ both nationally and internationally. He was released seven hours after his arrest. In the …

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Lebanon: American pop song banned by Lebanese radio

8 June 2011

  The American superstar, singer and songwriter Lady Gaga — topping the music charts in 21 countries, presently UK’s most played artist in the radio — has stirred religious controversy for being ‘offensive to Christianity’. The song ‘Judas’ from Lady Gaga’s top-selling new album ‘Born This Way’ has been criticised …

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Lebanon: Song touching ‘The Armenian question’ banned

3 May 2010

Eileen Khatchadourian’s music video ‘Zartir Vortyag’ which touches on Armenian topics is reported to have been banned by the Lebanese General Security In the music video a mother is seen calling upon her son to go and fight the enemy, and it also includes the quote The Armenian and The …

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Human Rights for Musicians – Impressions & Descriptions: Marcel Khalife

30 January 2009

PUBLICATIONS   TEN YEARS WITH FREEMUSE     IMPRESSIONS & DESCRIPTIONS   Marcel Khalife Musician and composer, Lebanon       Freemuse stands for music and the reaffirmation of the rights of musicians and their protection from prohibitions, censorship and threats.Freemuse is an expression of our responsibility towards our musical …

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Lebanon / France: Marcel Khalife

11 April 2007

Video statement: ‘Majnoon Layla’ In this statement Marcel Khalife speaks (in Arabic language) about why artists must engage in the defence of creativity. See the video.         See the video       Interview: ‘The quest for freedom’ Video interview and music performance by Marcel Khalife recorded at the Freemuse …

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Lebanon: Hip hop band’s censored album debut

2 March 2007

The Beirut-based rap duo Ashekman has come up against censorship several times in its young career, reports The Daily Star, as they are about to publish their debut album with an Arabic parental advisory warning on the cover “They give voice to Lebanon’s disaffected youth through music,” writes Daily Star’s …

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Lebanon/France: Clotaire K

31 August 2006

Clotaire K was born in France by a Lebanese mother and an Egyptian father. He writes, arranges and records music, and in this interview, recorded while he visited Denmark to perform during the Images of the Middle East festival in 2006, he speaks about how he perceives music as a …

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Lebanon: Xardas

8 July 2006

Xardas is a 24-year-old Lebanese composer of Dark Ambient music, based in Tripoli. In June 2006, 150 copies of his albums were confiscated, and he was warned by General Security that if they caught him with this type of music again, he would be imprisoned without trial. The interview was …

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Lebanon: Oath to Vanquish

8 July 2006

The Lebanese Death Metal trio Oath to Vanquish published their debut album on 25 July 2006 in Europe and USA, but not in their home country, Lebanon. In this video interview, recorded in Beirut on 8 July 2006, the two brothers Elias and Carlos, along with third member of the band, Cyril, explain …

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Lebanon: “Satanic music” regarded a security issue

15 June 2006

Composer of Dark Ambient music called in for “investigation” at the headquarter of the General Security Department in Beirut, had to sign a paper promising that he will never send or receive any packages that contain “dark”, “harsh” or “weird” music  Osman Arabi, 24 – also known as Xardas – is …

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Freedom of musical expression in the Middle East – report

6 June 2006

Marie Korpe (ed.) ’All that is Banned is Desired’ Conference on Freedom of Expression in Music, Beirut 2005Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2006 ISSN: 1601-2127 Read the report (in English language) Purchase printed version Read the report (in Arabic language)  There is an Arab saying ‘Kul Mamnou’ Marghoub.’ ‘All that is banned is …

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Lebanon: Music producer called in for “investigation”

2 June 2006

A Lebanese composer of Dark Ambient music is to be investigated on 2 June 2006 at the headquarter of the General Security department in Beirut, his music being categorised as “satanic” and “offensive to people’s morals”   Osman Arabi, 24 – also known as Xardas – is a composer of Dark Ambient music, based …

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Lebanese singer Marcel Khalife banned in Tunisia

2 January 2006

By Freemuse   Marcel Khalife, one of the most appreciated composers and singers in the Arab world and also one of the most respected by local and international rights groups, recently told the media that his music and songs have been banned in Tunisia by the state-controlled radio and TV …

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Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Mai Ghoussoub

29 November 2005

It is banned to ban Summary of Mai Ghoussoub’s speech at the Freemuse Conference in Beirut, 2005 “Censorship never works.” This was the overall message from Mai Ghoussoub at the Beirut conference on Freedom of Expression and Music in October, 2005. An absolute principle of her youth was the phrase …

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Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Moe Hamzeh

29 November 2005

A Threat from Hell? Who feels threatened by Heavy Metal? What is so offensive? Is it the music, the lyrics or the references to religion and death after life? These were some of the questions raised by rock musician Moe Hamzeh at the Conference on Freedom of Expression in Beirut in October …

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Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Ali Abu Shadi

29 November 2005

Better the devil you know At the Freemuse conference on freedom of musical expression in Beriut, October 2005, Ali Abu Shadi spoke about his work as the chairman of the central Censorship Department in Egypt. “I accepted the job because I wanted to do something positive. I tried to change …

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Silence is death – Censorship in the Arab world

31 October 2005

‘Freedom of Expression in Music’ conference in Beirut posed many questions but did it reach any solutions? By Trevor Mostyn for The Daily Star BEIRUT: Plato recognized music’s ability to threaten people and society while Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars have at times described it as a source of sin. …

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Lebanon: Islamic scholar rejects religious censorship of music

14 October 2005

“There is no ban on music in the Qur’an, and those talking about which music is haram (forbidden/bad) and which music is halal (allowed) have very weak evidence,” says a renowned Islamic scholar from The Beirut Studies and Documentation CenterBy Ole Reitov, Freemuse  While authorities in Iran are ready to …

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Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee

2 April 2004

    In March 2004, the Lebanese Surete Generale censored a video clip entitled “Why are You Emigrating?” by Najwa Karam, a well known singer. The Censorship department at The Surate Generale linked the content of the video clip to the clashes that occurred between security forces and some students …

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Lebanese censors seize hundreds of DVDs and three CDs

10 February 2002

Lebanese police have confiscated 600 video-DVDs and three music-CDs from a Virgin Megastore in Beirut. According to the BBC News, a score of plain-clothed and uniformed policemen raided the store on Thursday, January 3, 2002. The store manager then spent most of the next two days in police custody, and …

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