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Azerbaijan: Prosecuted writer faces further charges

3 May 2016

The case against Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli, who previously faced charges of ‘hooliganism’ after being detained at Baku Haydar Aliyev International Airport on 30 March 2016, has expanded to include charges of ‘resisting the authorities with violence’. Under Article 315.1 of the criminal code, this is punishable by up to …

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Pakistan: Action movie banned by Ministry of Information

3 May 2016

The action movie ‘Maalik’ has been banned in Pakistan after already having been playing in cinemas for weeks. In social media, the ban has led to a classic ‘freedom of expression’ versus ‘state control’ debate, reported The Express Tribune on 28 April 2016. The chairman of the Central Board of …

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Turkey: How Erdoğan turned the tables on the EU to stifle free speech

3 May 2016

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demands that comedian Jan Böhmermann be prosecuted under Germany’s own laws criminalising insult to foreign heads of state because he has read out an offensive poem. The existence of this law has clearly taken Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German judiciary by surprise, but Merkel …

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Oman: Writer and filmmaker arrested and detained

2 May 2016

Author, poet and film-maker Abdullah Habib has been arrested in Oman. It is being assumed that he was arrested due to one of his post on Facebook, but no one really knows for sure. On the evening of 15 April 2016, the Omani Internal Security Service (ISS) summoned Habib to …

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Germany: Turkey attempts to stop EU funding orchestra performance

2 May 2016

Markus Rindt, the director of the Dresden Symphony, has claimed that Turkey has demanded the European Commission (EC) pull its 200,000 Euros funding from the ‘Aghet’ art project, in which his orchestra will perform a piece on 30 April 2016 marking the 101-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, reported The …

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Belarus: Lavon Volski is a free man in an unfree country

28 April 2016

Since the beginning of the 1980s, the Belarusian rock musician Lavon Volski has been one of the most influential cultural personalities in his country fighting for freedom of artistic expression. In May 2016, he is being honoured with the Freemuse Award 2016. By Ingo Petz For more than 30 years now, Lavon …

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Iran: Imprisoned cartoonist wins appeal, soon free

28 April 2016

Iranian artist and cartoonist Aten Farghadani will be released from prison on 11 May 2016, according to her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi, after an appeals court reduced her original 12-year-and-nine-month sentence down to 18 months, reported IranWire on 25 April 2016. “Miss Farghadani has been acquitted of the charges of ‘gathering …

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China: American pop star tour dates cancelled

27 April 2016

Chinese authorities have allegedly banned US pop star Selena Gomez from performing two dates in the country on her Revival Tour due to photos of her with the Dalai Lama posted on her social media profiles in 2014, reported The New Zealand Herald on 20 April 2016. The singer was …

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Freemuse Award Winner 2016 is Lavon Volski

25 April 2016

Lavon Volski, an icon of Belarusian rock music, is the winner of the 2016 Freemuse Award. His songs are anthems of those who dream of a democratic and free Belarus. Thus Volski since many years has been on the regime’s infamous “black list” of artists never played on national radio …

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