During 2013, the human rights organisation Freemuse registered 19 musicians killed, 7 abducted, and 18 music creators imprisoned. There are many reasons for organising the annual ‘Music Freedom Day’ 3rd of March, which puts focus on musicians’ rights to freedom of expression.
“These are some of the statistics for 2013, which Freemuse publishes today, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of cases of persecutions and attacks, not to mention thousands of censorship cases, are never reported,” says Freemuse Director Ole Reitov.
» Read more: Freemuse Annual Statistics
The Music Freedom Day events around the world are self-organised by artists, cultural operators and media operators – from Australia via Pakistan over Africa and Europe to USA. The programme is expanding from day to day, and an overview continuously updated at www.musicfreedomday.org.
This year activities include Dina El Wedidi, one of Egypt’s leading new artists performing in Oslo, Norway; Moroccan fusion rocker Réda Zine leading his band Voodoo Sound Club in a concert in Bologna, Italy; while some of Zimbabwe’s most outspoken artists enter the stage in Harare and exiled musicians from Sudan perform in Cairo.
In Pakistan, a conference and performances will take place in Islamabad and Peshawar – cities which have experienced numerous attacks on musicians and music activities.
The Bahraini composer Ahmed Ali Al Ghanem has dedicated a piece to the day and made it available for musicians at noteflight.com
In some countries the music events will start already on 1st of March. Broadcasters in many countries join the event. The Catalan radio programme ‘Les Rutes del So’ will already tonight play music of banned artists, the legendary Serbian resistance broadcaster Radio B92 will focus on the situation for musicians in Sudan, NRK Norway will focus on Tibet and Roma musicians, while byte.fm in Germany is finishing off Music Freedom Day radio activities with a programme on 9th of March.
“It is important to focus on the situation for musicians in Tibet and Sudan, but the situation in Mali also continues to affect music life in serious ways. Threats and attacks on musicians are once again increasing in Pakistan, and women are still banned from performing in public in Iran and Saudi Arabia,” says Ole Reitov.
Music Freedom Day provides a platform for artists, broadcasters and cultural organisations to discuss mechanisms of censorship. At freemuse.org numerous artists are interviewed about censorship and self-censorship.
Religious topics and issues of homosexuality are still very controversial to address in many countries. In a Freemuse video interview, one of Africa’s legendary rappers, Didier Awadi from Senegal, speaks openly about how he refrains from addressing religious issues, while exiled Palestinian rapper Khaled Harara talks about the political abuse of religion as a power tool: freemuse.org
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» PDF: press-release_MFD2014
» Microsoft Word-document: press-release_MFD2014
Joining Music Freedom Day 2014:
ALICE SPRINGS – AMMAN – BAHRAIN – BARCELONA – BOLOGNA – BUDAPEST – CAIRO – HARARE – ISLAMBAD – JALALABAD – LJUBLJANA – NEW YORK – OSLO – PESHAWAR – STOCKHOLM – WOODBRIDGE – YAOUNDE
– www.byte.fm – www.hibridoradio.com – radio.nrk.no/serie/jungeltelegrafen – www.onadesants.cat – 8ccc.com.au/v-for-world – www.947thepulse.com