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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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Principles of Documentation

8 February 2017

PRINCIPLES OF DOCUMENTATION Freemuse annual statistics document violations of artistic freedom in the past year, from 1 January to 31 December. We focus on music, visual arts, cinema/films (fictional), theatre (including performance art), literature (fiction) and dance. The statistics cover artists who are attacked, persecuted, killed, abducted, prosecuted, imprisoned (including …

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Russia

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: RUSSIA SERIOUS VIOLATIONS: 10 ACTS OF CENSORSHIP: 16 Religious orthodoxy and political nationalism, under the guise of morality and protectionism, continued to be the main motivations behind attacks on artistic freedom in Russia in 2016. While Russia has moved from the third country with the …

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China

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: CHINA SERIOUS VIOLATIONS: 14 ACTS OF CENSORSHIP: 20 While China has dropped from being the country with the most serious violations on artistic freedom of expression – an unenviable position it has had for two consecutive years – to the fifth country in 2016, China …

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Nigeria

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: NIGERIA SERIOUS VIOLATIONS: 15 ACTS OF CENSORSHIP: 3 The cases of violations of artistic freedom of expression seen in Nigeria in 2016 reflect the complex political and religious systems in the country. Violations are implemented by the government, local state authorities, religious institutions, families, artistic …

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Egypt

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: EGYPT SERIOUS VIOLATIONS: 18 ACTS OF CENSORSHIP: 19 State censorship of the arts in the name of “protecting public morals and state interests” continues to stifle artistic freedom of expression in Egypt. Restrictions on art and literary works that address politics, sex and religion, remain …

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Turkey

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: TURKEY SERIOUS VIOLATIONS: 23 ACTS OF CENSORSHIP: 13 2016 was a year when the situation for freedom of expression in Turkey went from bad to worse. The attempted coup against President Erdoğan on 15 July 2016 and the following State of Emergency led to a …

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Iran

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: IRAN SERIOUS VIOLATIONS: 30 ACTS OF CENSORSHIP: 9 Iran continues to intimidate, persecute, imprison and ban artists, cultural producers and publishers, bringing it up from the second country with the most serious violations in 2015 to first in 2016. In 2016, Freemuse registered 30 serious …

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Foreword

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: FOREWORD Populists and nationalists, who often portray human rights as a limitation on what they claim is the will of the majority, are on the rise globally. As this phenomenon rises, artists continue to play an important role in expressing alternative visions for society. But as …

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Art Under Threat in 2016

8 February 2017

Freemuse registered 1,028 attacks on artists and violations of their rights in 2016 across 78 countries, continuing a worrying trend of artistic freedom increasingly coming under threat. The number of cases registered in 2016 more than doubled the amount in 2015, increasing by 119%, rising from 469 attacks. Of those more than one thousand cases, Freemuse documented 188 total serious violations of artistic freedom and 840 acts of censorship.

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Musique Cubaines Censuré

20 December 2016

Musique Cubaines Censuré Compiled by Zoé Valdes. 14 tracks with lyrics in booklet Published by Naïve. France 2002. Read more about Zoé Valdes

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Mahsa: Cantata for a forbidden voice in four movements

19 December 2016

  In a country where public performances by women are forbidden, the internationally acclaimed Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat struggles to make her voice heard. She is an optimist, and remains hopeful that one day things will change. Directed by Kiarash AnvariLanguage: English and Persian. English subtitles. 16 minutes Iran. 2013 …

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Knowledge is the Beginning

19 December 2016

  About The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra which is banned from performing in the countries from which most of its musicians come Directed by Paul SmacznyLanguage: English. 90 minutes Germany and Palestine. 2005 Read more…  

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I Love Hip Hop in Morocco

19 December 2016

  Documentary about a group of hip hop artists sharing a dream: To organise a professional concert. Unfortunately resistance is strong in their society and resources scare. With the help of an American filmmaker, they raised funding and created the first Hip Hop festival in Morocco. Co-Directed by Jennifer Needleman …

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Half Moon (Niwemang)

19 December 2016

  Directed by Bahman Ghobadi Produced as a joint production of Iran, Iraq, Austria, and France by MijFilm Colour. 35 mm. Language: Kurdish and Farsi. 114 minutes Iran. 2006 Read more…  

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Fangafrika – Voice of the Voiceless

19 December 2016

  Fangafrika – Voice of the Voiceless The first documentary film about West African hip-hop Produced by Staycalm! Productions Language: French with English subtitles. 52 minutes Burkina Faso and France. 2007 Read more…  

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Democracy in Dakar

19 December 2016

  Democracy in Dakar Documentary film about hip-hop youth and politics in Dakar, Senegal Directed by Magee McIlvaine, Chris Moore and Ben Herson Produced by Nomadic Wax and Sol Productions Language: Wolof and French with English subtitles. App. 60 minutes Senegal. 2008 Read more…  

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Beats of Freedom

19 December 2016

      Beats of Freedom   Award-winning Polish documentary on rock music behind the Iron Curtain, and the story of how Polish rock’n’roll helped bring down the communist regime. Included are extraordinary secret police reports on hippies and punks. Directed by Leszek Gnoinski and Wojciech Slota Language: Mainly English. 73 …

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Back Vocal (Seday-e Dovom)

19 December 2016

    Back Vocal  (Seday-e Dovom) About women singers in Tehran who defy Iran’s law forbidding women to perform solo Directed by Iranian film director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb Language: Persian. English subtitles. 40 minutes Iran. 2004 Read more…  

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At the end of a perfect day

19 December 2016

    At the end of a perfect day   About the punk band Quartet in Iran. Young film maker Mina Keshavarz tailed the band for a whole year. The film shows how the band gets into trouble with the Iranian law enforcers Directed by Mina Keshavarz and Kamran Heidari Farsi spoken, …

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Afghan Star

19 December 2016

Afghan Star   A Channel 4 Documentary Foundation production in association with Tolo TV Directed by Havana Marking With the singers Setara Hussainzada, Rafi Nabaazda, Hameed Sahkizada, Lima Sahar, Daoud Sediqi In English, Dari and Pashtun with English subtitles. Running time: 88 minutes Distributor: Zeitgeist Films Film website: Afghanstardocumentary.com Afghanistan. 2008 …

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Guinea: Increasing censorship and pressure on leading musicians

12 July 2016

The 2010 election of longtime opponent Alpha Kondé as president of Guinea brought with it hope that music and other forms of artistic expression would enjoy relatively untrammelled freedom. Such optimism rode on the wave of a burgeoning hip hop scene, an established roster of international stars, a post-independence policy …

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INSIGHT publication: Targeting the Arts 2015

18 May 2016

» Read on issuu.com Targeting the Arts Documenting incidents of censorship has never been enough. From the very beginning Freemuse has attempted to put censorship of music and arts into a larger context. In 2015 we introduced INSIGHT – a series of articles providing readers with analytical stories on censorship of …

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Cambodia: Film about Khmer Rouge regime’s music censorship

20 April 2015

After a decade of research, the American filmmaker John Pirozzi is telling the story of music censorship in Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s in the film ‘Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll’, which opens at Film Forum in New York, USA, on 22 April 2015. “Through …

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FILMS AND VIDEO ABOUT MUSIC CENSORSHIP

26 March 2015

A list of films and documentaries relating to music and music censorship Last updated on 26 March 2015     Please note that only few of the film titles listed below are about ‘music censorship’ as the only topic. In numerous cases, coverage and story telling about music censorship and …

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Syria: Documentary film about Syrian songwriter

25 March 2015

The 30-minute documentary ‘Morning fears, Night Chants’ from 2012 about a young Syrian songwriter touches upon a number of artsfreedom issues, such as the important role of artists during the Arabic revolutions, the threats and challenges they face and especially the extra challenges and censorship women artists face from family, …

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Musicians on censorship

26 January 2015

Musicians on censorship Most recent video interviews Newest on top About music censorship – three-minute video with short interview excerpts and music clips 26 January 2015.» Read more   Didier Awadi – musician from Senegal 1 October 2013.» Read article   Khaled Harara – musician from Palestine 16 September 2013.» …

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Egypt: Censorship report launched in jam-packed Cairo theatre

2 June 2014

Already hours before the launch of the Freemuse/AFTE study ‘Censors of Creativity’ on 21 May 2014, dozens of young Ramy Essam supporters started gathering outside the entrance of the Townhouse/Rawabet Theatre in downtown Cairo. The famous ‘singer of the revolution’ was one of the artists who performed at the launch. …

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Cameroon: Lapiro de Mbanga

17 May 2014

Musician Lapiro de Mbanga comments on his situation in the prison, and on his cause   In September 2008, Lapiro was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a huge fine. Sharing a cell with more than 50 persons, Lapiro’s health has deteriorated as hygiene conditions and food are substandard. This video …

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Egypt should abolish censorship of the arts

23 April 2014

AFTE and Freemuse publish an extensive study on censorship of artistic expression in Egypt. The 84-page report ‘Censors of Creativity’ reveals that the Egyptian government needs to reform the current legislative and institutional apparatus of censorship. “Several conservative restrictions imposed on artistic creativity contravene human rights standards and basic liberties,” …

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Report: Religious extremism disastrous to music in Pakistan

17 March 2014

Since 2001, 12 women have been reportedly killed because of their direct involvement in music in North Western Pakistan. Approximately 600 musicians suffered due to the closure of Dabgari Bazar during the MMA government. Around 50 Sufi shrines have been reportedly attacked and an estimated 150 attacks on CD shops …

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Artists are truth tellers risking their lives for us

14 March 2014

Our consideration of the human rights in any country should include the freedom of artists to express their heart, writes Deeyah Khan – a critically acclaimed music producer, composer and an Emmy award-winning documentary film director – in this statement she submitted to the United Nations in March 2014. Video …

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Senegal: Didier Awadi speaks about self-censorship

1 October 2013

You can criticise presidents but not religious leaders, says Didier Awadi, one of Africa’s leading artists, to Freemuse Didier Awadi, for decades considered one of Africa’s most respected and outspoken artists, has criticized neo-colonialism, corrupt presidents and politicians. But even outspoken artists consider the fine balance between what may be …

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Swedish city offers Gaza rapper safe city residency

19 September 2013

Video interview with rapper Khaled Harara from Palestine who the Swedish city of Gothenburg has announced will be offered a ‘safe city’ residency for two years. In April 2013, the 26-year-old rapper Khaled Harara came to the Freemuse secretariat in Copenhagen. Having toured Denmark, he was afraid of returning to …

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Index on Censorship: Self-censorship stifling UK artistic expression

4 June 2013

Widespread self-censorship and fear of causing offence is suppressing creativity and ideas in the United Kingdom, according to a conference report published by Index on Censorship, ‘Taking the Offensive’. There are multiple pressures on artistic freedom of expression and censorship has become a major issue for the arts sector in …

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Freemuse speaks at Human Rights Council

3 June 2013

On 3 June 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, Freemuse made its first oral statement in the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Commenting on the newly launched UN report on artistic freedom and creativity, Freemuse Programme Manager Ole Reitov said: “The problems faced by artists are well described. Your analysis …

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Download and distribute the conference report

25 March 2013

Written by Robin Denselow, a British writer, journalist and broadcaster who reports for The Guardian, BBC tv and radio, this report is a catching, touching and enlightening publication about the current state of freedom of expression among artists around the world.

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Freemuse report: Music, Culture and Conflict in Mali

28 February 2013

    ANDY MORGAN: ‘Music, Culture and Conflict in Mali’ In relationship to Music Freedom Day 2013, Freemuse publishes a very extensive documentation of how music has been affected in Mali.The 64-pages report, ‘Music, Culture and Conflict in Mali’, is written by Andy Morgan — one of UK’s most respected …

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Conference videos online now

4 December 2012

The video material from the first world conference on artistic freedom of expression, ‘All that is banned is desired’, held in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012, is now available online – whole sessions as well as interviews with some of the artists and speakers. So this is the moment when …

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Freemuse: Manu Chao supports Freemuse campaign

28 August 2012

      “Freedom of expression is important to anyone and we must fight for it. I am supporting the work of Freemuse and I’m here to help,” says singer Manu Chao in a comment to the current Freemuse campaigns for persecuted and imprisoned musicians and composers worldwide. Headlining the …

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Belarus: Lavon Volski

7 April 2012

Freemuse interview with musician Lavon Volski, guitarist and vocalist of the group KrambambulyaInterview by Ingo Petz. Filmed and edited by Matvei Saburov   The Belarusian singer and musician Lavon Volski gave an exclusive interview to Freemuse about the current repressions of the Belarusian regime against the independent music scene in the country which since …

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Azerbaijan: Azer Cirttan

29 February 2012

Exiled singer-songwriter Azer Cirttan speaks about censorship, fear and Eurovision   This interview with Azer Cirttan was recorded by Nicklas Wallén in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in February 2012. Explaining what lead up to his decision to leave the country, Azer tells me that the concerts he tried to make were …

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Sing your song

19 December 2011

  Sing your song Documentary film about the obstacles and constraints the singer Majid and his band face as a result of the actions of extremist Islamist groups and the unappreciative attitude of local officials. They all consider art and singing a sin and forbidden.Directed by Omar Falah 15 minutes …

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Austin Dacey, USA: Expanding the boundaries

25 November 2011

  Amplifying music in the face of censorship A presentation by Austin Dacey, followed by a debate which took place at the conference ‘Right! Freedom of Music & Speech’ on 21 November 2011 in Stockholm. Source See more videos from the conference: right11.se/videos     Related reading on freemuse.org Statement …

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Egypt: Ramy Essam

24 November 2011

Ramy Essam comments on music censorship in Egypt.   This interview with Ramy Essam was recorded by Freemuse Web Editor Mik Aidt in Stockholm, Sweden, on 22 November 2011. 18 days at the Tahrir Square in February 2011 catapulted singer and guitarist Ramy Essam to fame. All of a sudden, he was on CCN, …

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Zimbabwe: Comrade Fatso

3 November 2011

Musician Comrade Fatso comments on music censorship in Zimbabwe.   This interview with Comrade Fatso was recorded by Freemuse Web Editor Mik Aidt in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 27 October 2011. Comrade Fatso is one of the most explosive and controversial acts in Southern Africa today. His band is called Chabvondoka, and their music is called …

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Sudan: Abazar Hamid

14 June 2011

Musician Abazar Hamid comments on his situation in exile in Cairo, Egypt, and what it has meant for him to receive assistance from Freemuse. This interview with the exiled Sudanese musician Abazar Hamid was recorded by Freemuse Officer Martin Buch Larsen in Cairo, Egypt, in June 2011. Everything is affected …

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Cameroon: First video interview after Lapiro’s release from prison

8 May 2011

Singer Lapiro de Mbanga was interviewed on 8 May 2011 — his first video interview since he was released from prison in Douala on 8 April after three years imprisonment. Interview by Freemuse Programme Manager Ole Reitov          Cameroon       Interview article in French Cameroon-info.net – 24 June 2011: MBANGA: “Si …

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Freemuse campaign: Visa issues damage the music industry

4 May 2011

If the European countries are serious about honouring their ratification of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity they need to make visa and work permit procedures and the general access to the European market for artists more flexible, transparent and homogenous. “The current system is damaging the music industry,” says …

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Palestine: Darg Team

17 November 2010

Rappers Fadi and Bess speak about freedom of expression in Palestine   Rappers Fadi and Bess speak about freedom of expression in Palestine   Freemuse interview with two members of the hip-hop group Darg Team from Gaza Town — about their experiences with censorship because they use their music to …

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China: Music film about cultural exploitation and resistance

24 September 2010

The film ‘Tibet in Song’ shows Chinese officials and troops persecuting anyone performing Tibetan folk music. It is directed by musicologist and former Tibetan political prisoner, Ngawang Choephel, and has been described as “a story of beauty, pain, brutality and resilience”. ‘Tibet in Song’ is a tale of cultural exploitation …

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Smashed Hits 2.0

22 September 2010

United Kingdom: Index on Censorship publishes issue on music censorship   Index on Censorship, Britain’s leading organisation promoting freedom of expression, released a magazine issue on music censorship entitled ‘Smashed hits 2.0’ on 8 September 2010. ‘Smashed Hits 2.0’ investigates music and free expression with writing and interviews. The issue is …

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Iran: Music from ‘below the radar’ distributed on free CD

5 May 2010

From a country where music is sometimes considered a crime, a compilation of underground rock, hip-hop and heavy metal music, compiled by the music centre Bar-Ax, was published as a free bonus-CD with the April-May 2010 issue of the British music magazine Songlines, no. 67. The album ‘features brave musicians from Iran,’ …

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CD: Listen to the banned

15 March 2010

Tiken Jah Fakoly about the new Freemuse CD album: ‘CD highlights artists who fight for justice’     The CD ‘Listen to the banned’ has been well received by broadcasters all over Europe. “Some broadcasters have mentioned that not only does the CD feature some important political songs but even …

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Freemuse report on censorship of heavy metal music

25 January 2010

Mark LeVine HEADBANGING AGAINST REPRESSIVE REGIMES – Censorship of heavy metal in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and ChinaReport no. 9Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2010 ISSN: 1601-2127. ISBN 978-87-988163-3-1.    104 pages. Purchase printed version     Right-click to download (On Mac: CTRL-click) Review Metalunderground.com – 4 March 2011: Review by …

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Ferhat Tunc

19 August 2009

Singer and musician Ferhat Tunç from Dersim in the Kurdish part of Turkey speaks about his personal experiences with and understanding of music censorship in Turkey   The Kurdish-Turkish singer Ferhat Tunç was born in 1964 in Turkey’s most eastern region, Dersim. His music has been censored in Turkey, and he …

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Tanzania: Nakaaya Sumari

12 August 2009

  In this interview the Tanzanian singer Nakaaya Sumari explains why she sings about corruption, inefficiency and discrimination in her hit song ‘Mr Politician’. She talks about ‘the inconvenience of truth’, and also about musicians’ self-censorship, and the strong role which music plays as a tool for communication in East …

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Iran: Film about music censorship shown on Cannes Film Festival

15 May 2009

A new feature film about music censorship in Iran features the underground rock band Mirza, the rapper Hichkas, as well as other musicians of varying styles from Persian pop and folk to heavy metal, and women who are banned in Iran from public solo singing. ‘Nobody Knows About the Persian …

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USA: Tao Rodriquez-Seeger

7 March 2009

Singer and musician Tao Rodríguez-Seeger from USA speaks about his personal experiences with and opinion about music censorship Tao Rodríguez-Seeger was born in New York, USA, in 1972. He is a contemporary folk musician who plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, and sings in Spanish and in English. When he was 16 years old, in …

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Human Rights for Musicians

30 January 2009

TEN YEARS WITH FREEMUSE   INTRODUCTION Human rights for musicians — The Freemuse story Ten years of Freemuse – A view from the chair PART I IMPRESSIONS & DESCRIPTIONS Deeyah  — Norway / Pakistan Marcel Khalife  — Lebanon Roger Lucey  — South Africa Ferhat Tun     PART II INTERACTIONS & REACTIONS Introducing …

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This Record Is Not To Be Broadcast

20 December 2008

This Record Is Not To Be Broadcast – 75 Records Banned By The BBC Compiled by Spencer Leigh. This collection brings together 75 recordings which fell foul of the BBC’s red pencil up to the year 1957. Writer Spencer Leigh has spent a considerable amount of time at the BBC’s …

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Pakistan / Denmark: Pervaiz Akhtar

29 October 2008

Pakistani musician Pervaiz Akhtar, today based in Denmark, explains (in Danish language) about his personal experiences with music censorship in Pakistan.   The interview was held in connection with a ‘Concert against music censorship’ which was organised by the Danish Refugee Council in Copenhagen on 24 October 2008. After the …

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Pakistan: ‘The Miscreants’ – The popular culture of war in Pakistan

20 October 2008

The Australian documentary film director George Gittoes gets up close to the clash of fundamentalism and entertainment, virtual and real, in this off beat doc-drama mix, in which he enters the no-go zone of the Taliban controlled Tribal Belt in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.   Included in the Taliban’s list …

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Colombia: Bellavista Social Club

20 October 2008

Bellavista Social Club es un grupo de rap quienes a través de sus canciones denuncian la situación en la que se encuentran los barrios mas desfavorecidos de la ciudad de Medellín y Colombia.   En este video Don Vito y Medina narran como días después del encarcelamiento del grupo Pasajeros …

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Colombia: Pasajeros

8 October 2008

  Colombian rappers and protest musicians Don Vito and Medina speak about their personal experiences of music censorship in Cobacabana. In this interview they focus on what happened to their colleagues in the band Pasajeros. The interviews were recorded in May 2007.   The band Pasajeros was formed in 1991 …

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China/Cote d’Ivoire/Myanmar/Burma: ‘An Independent Mind’

22 September 2008

Film with Freemuse Award winner Tiken Jah Fakoly, who received the Freemuse Award 2008, is one of the main characters in a new documentary film, ‘An Independent Mind’ — about freedom of speech and how far individuals in different countries will go in order to preserve it. The 90-minutes film …

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Aziza Brahim

19 September 2008

(Western Sahara)   Aziza Brahim is a Sahrawi singer who was born in a refugee camp in Algeria. In this interview she speaks about how and why her music is banned in Western Sahara. Aziza Brahim refers to the Western Sahara territory as ‘the occupied zone’, and in this video …

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Côte d’Ivoire: Tiken Jah Fakoly

4 September 2008

Interview with Tiken Jah Fakoly By Ole Reitov   Transcription of the full interview When was the first time that you realised that your music could be dangerous to the policy makers? I think it was in 1999. I did an album which title was ‘Cours d’histoire’. I was talking …

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Cuba/Netherlands: Film about the underground music scene

1 July 2008

  The documentary film ‘¡Cuba RebelióN!’ is an unusual and very outspoken portrait of the Cuban underground music scene. It’s about the punk-rock and metal musicians rebelling against the bureaucracy and imposed conformity of the Castro regime. By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse The film gives an historical overview of music in …

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Norway: Video interview with Mari Boine

31 March 2008

Norwegian and Sámi singer Mari Boine speaks about her personal experiences with the religious ban of joik singing. The interview was recorded when Mari Boine participated in an event in Norway to mark the annual Music Freedom Day in March 2008.   Mari Boine grew up in an environment where …

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USA: Video interview with Kris Kristofferson

31 March 2008

Singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson speaks about his personal experiences of music censorship. “Kris Kristofferson is not only one of America’s most celebrated and finest singer-songwriters. He is also among the most controversial. He keeps provoking and challenging the political establishment, and he has experienced both media and market censorship, …

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Zimbabwe: Chiwoniso Maraire

18 March 2008

    Songwriter Chiwoniso Maraire speaks about her personal experiences of music censorship in Zimbabwe. She was interviewed together with poet Chirikure Chirikure, and Book Café’s creative director Paul Brickhill. They explain how music communicates hidden messages and why music is an ‘unstoppable force’ in Zimbabwe. Chiwoniso Maraire, Chirikure Chirikure …

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Afghanistan: Sahar Afarin

25 February 2008

  Sahar Afarin is an up-and-coming star. She had her national break-through in 2006 when she recieved the honourary titles ‘Artist of Radio Television Afghanistan’ and ‘Golden Star of National TV’. Click on the photo two times to start the video. In this interview the 21-year-old singer explains how she …

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Afghanistan: Safdar Tawakoli

25 February 2008

  Safdar Tawakoli is a leading Hazara folk singer and dambura player in Afghanistan. Since the 1950’s Tawakoli’s song ‘We are all brothers’ has been famous as a national unity song. It was re-recorded by the singer Farhad Darya in 2002.   Click on the photo two times to start the …

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