How we advocate

12 September 2016

Art is not a crime. That is why Freemuse defends the right to artistic freedom worldwide. We advocate and take action to free artists, change repressive laws and fight censorship.

We use our thorough research and documentation of violations of artistic freedom to influence governments and decision-makers to change laws and practices that limit artistic expression. We work with international bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council, special procedures and special rapporteurs, UNESCO and EU institutions to secure the right to artistic expression, as guaranteed by international human rights conventions, is respected and that violations are monitored.  

We take action on behalf of individual artists and audiences whose rights to artistic freedom have been violated. We campaign for the release of imprisoned artists in collaboration with other artists, local groups and lawyers, and our international network of human rights and cultural organisations standing up for artistic freedom. We also work behind the scenes in cases where public attention jeopardises putting the artist further at risk.  

When the situation forces an artist to leave their country, we work with art residencies and so-called safe havens to help secure the artist can continue their artistic work in a safe environment.  

In 2011, we created The Freemuse Advocacy and Campaign guide. Available in Arabic, EnglishFrench and Pashto, the guide suggests a number of practical actions organisations and individuals can take locally and internationally to support artists at risk, including advice for artists seeking refuge.

In a limited amount of cases, Freemuse can provide direct financial assistance to musicians whose needs cannot be addressed by advocacy and other non-financial efforts alone. Cases include musicians who need medical treatment following an attack, face jail time and require legal defense, or must flee the country because of death threats or threat of imprisonment.  At the moment, Freemuse unfortunately does not have the resources to offer financial assistance to other artists.

Want to help us defend artistic freedom? Here are a few things to get started:

  • Make sure artists are never silenced. Follow Freemuse on Twitter and Facebook and help us share threatened artists’ art and stories.
  • Sign up to our newsletter (insert link) to stay informed about key developments.
  • Become a Freemuse member. (insert link)
  • Donate to Freemuse to secure we can continue our work. (insert link)
  • Care for artistic freedom in a specific country or region? Sign up for our latest country specific alerts here. (insert link)
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