New European Democracy Action Plan: no democracy without artistic freedom

11 September 2020


Today, Freemuse submitted a policy briefing to the European Commission welcoming plans for a new European Democracy Action Plan and called for the scope of the Plan to be broadened to include artistic freedom. 

Art and culture is central to democratic societies, cutting across discriminatory barriers and through its different forms, able to engage with all citizens. It can champion and challenge, stimulate conversations and critical thinking.   However, this is dependent on artists being able to create and express themselves freely.

In January 2020 Freemuse released its first report on the State of Artistic Freedom in Europe demonstrating that artistic freedom is under significant duress in the region.  This research strongly suggests that the same set of motivations drive violations of freedom of expression regardless of who is targeted.  As identified by the UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, these motivations can be political, religious, cultural, moral or economic. The same methods deployed to silence dissenting journalists are being used against artists.

In its policy briefing, Freemuse provides insight into its research findings and strongly argues for the European Commission to address this in the Democracy Action Plan.  The provisions on media freedom must be expanded to include artistic freedom if the objectives for the Action Plan are to be met. 

Referring to international human rights standards, Freemuse recalls the indivisibility of the right to freedom of expression and that an attack on any aspect of freedom of expression should be recognised as a threat to all forms and duly addressed.

Freemuse looks forward to further exchanges with the European Commission and other partners in the context of the development of the European Democracy Action Plan. │ 11 September 2020

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