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Lebanon: Authorities ban song on grounds of offending God

17 May 2016

The censorship bureau of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife’s song ‘Kyrie Eleison’ because it “contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, ‘have mercy on us and leave us alone’”, reported CNN Arabic on 12 April 2016. The authorities further stated …

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Egypt: Radio station bans mahraganat song

17 May 2016

Ahmed Sameer, president of Cairo’s Nagham FM radio station, has banned Mahmoud al-Laithi and female singer Bossi’s mahraganat song ‘Bonbonaia’ (meaning candy) from the station, reported Youm7.com on 18 April 2016. Sameer’s order came after Ahmed al-Shenawi’s show ‘My Beloved People’ aired the song, which Sameer said contained explicit lyrics …

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South Korea: Dance group performances cancelled due to Chinese threats

12 May 2016

New York-based dance troupe Shen Yun has felt China’s long reach in South Korea when they found their recent scheduled performances cancelled by court order “explicitly citing threats by the Chinese embassy”, reported The Diplomat on 9 May 2016. The trouble between Shen Yun, the Korean Broadcasting Service (KBS) which …

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Turkey: Art exhibitions cancelled, a troubling trend

12 May 2016

Turkey continues to repress artists from expressing their thoughts and ideas under the guise of a variety of concerns, including national security.  Visual artists, gallery owners, curators and collectives are having their works shut down or are choosing to self-censor under intense pressure from authorities and social groups. Sara Whyatt …

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Egypt: Five members of satirist troupe arrested

11 May 2016

As the climate for artists, journalists, intellectuals and regular citizens who wish to criticise, politicise or simply satirise current Egyptian values and society gets more heated and dangerous, a troupe of young comedians has become the latest group to be targeted by authorities. Freemuse stringer Shahira Amin reports on the recent …

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Turkey: Arbitrary religious repression of rock music

10 May 2016

  On 15 February 2016, The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs issued a fatwa – a religious ban – on ‘sexual music’. Now the big question appears to be who has the authority to decide whether rock music is “arouses sexual desires” or not? The annual calender published by Turkish Directorate …

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Japan: Artist fined for breaking the country’s obscenity law

10 May 2016

On 9 May 2016, a Tokyo district court found the Japanese artist Rokudenashiko (real name: Megumi Igarashi) guilty of breaking the country’s obscenity laws because she produced a kayak modelled on her vagina, reported The Guardian and BBC. She was fined 400,000 yen (US$3,700). In court appearances, Igarashi insisted her …

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Iran: Artist Atena Farghadani released from prison

9 May 2016

The Iranian artist Atena Farghadani, who was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison last June for her satirical cartoon of members of the Iranian government, was released on 3 May 2016, according to Amnesty International. Her freedom comes following a successful appeal in April 2016 to have …

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Oman: Writer and filmmaker released from detention

9 May 2016

Renowned Omani writer, filmmaker and intellectual Abdullah Habib has been released from detention on 4 May 2016, reported Pen International. Habib, 52, was summoned to the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in Muscat on 15 April 2016, where he remained in solitary confinement for 20 days without …

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