Following the politics, the indecency has been the second most common ground used to justify violations of artistic freedom. Even though the international human rights law recognises public morality as a legitimate ground for the restriction of the freedom of expression, Freemuse’s research demonstrates that in practice this concept has been arbitrarily used for silencing artists.


The variety of cases Freemuse documented showcase how vaguely defined notions of obscenity, debauchery or vulgarity are used in different national contexts as a rationale for art censorship and sometimes legal prosecution of artists. The visual presentations of nudity and alleged foul language have also been common grounds for censorship exercised on public morality grounds. Quite often, the art censorship has been justified under the pretext of alleged children protection.


Artistic works are removed from public display or the access to them is restricted on allegation that minors’ exposer to this type of art can have detrimental or harmful effect on them. While the international law recognises that children should be protected from exposure to content containing graphic violence or pornography, most of the cases Freemuse documents on this ground deprive children from access to works which address issues such as homosexuality.