11 June 2020: The Egyptian radio station Mazika postponed the release of the song “100 accounts” by singers Ahmed Saad and Hassan Shakosh in the application of the decision of the Syndicate of Musical Professions concerning the music of the Mahraganate, reported Al Mashhad Al Araby.
According to Al Masrawy, the reason that the song was not released was that Hassan Shakosh did not obtain the union’s permit due to him not being a member of the Syndicate of Musical Professions. The Syndicate thanked the radio station and its producer, Mohcen Jaber, for the implementation of the law and executive regulations as well as the rules which guarantee the respect of the public order of the Egyptian State, reported Al Ahram. Mazika has officially announced that it will postpone the release of the song “100 Accounts” until a solution to the artist Hassan Shakoosh crisis with the Syndicate of Musical Professions in Egypt was reached.
The Syndicate of Musical Professions further added to their statement that: “The Union also calls on all partners involved in the art and music industry, such as companies, organisations and satellite channels, to take such positions as examples and to respect the law and the rules of public order of the Egyptian State, in order to preserve the rights of artists in this country and the regulations organising the work and also help to raise the level of the audience’s taste.”
The Syndicates of Artists (music, cinema, television and theatre, and visual arts) has been notably detrimental to artists and their ability to exercise their right to freedom of artistic expression. Syndicate actions can silence dissident artists by refusing them authorisations to perform, blacklist them from working, or cancel their membership on the grounds of treason, threat to state security or insult. Law No. 35 of the Arts Union Law (promulgated in 1978 and amended in 1987 and 2003) defines the modalities of the constitution of Artists’ Unions, as well as their missions and their role in the promotion and management of these creative sectors. The government uses a variety of bodies and individuals (media, unions, lawyers) to take punitive measures against artists for their artworks or because of their political activism.
Read more about the state of artistic freedom in Egypt in the State of Artistic Freedom Report 2020.