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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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Sweden: Freemuse Award ceremony 2016 in the Eurovision Village

9 May 2016

Two Freemuse Award winners shared the stage when Lavon Volski received the 2016 Freemuse Award in Stockholm on 8 May 2016. The event took place on stage in Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården – which currently has been transformed into the ‘Eurovision Village’. “Belarus has a winner, but…” Stockholm city hosting the Eurovision …

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China: British heavy metal band forced to alter show

4 May 2016

Iron Maiden have become the latest band to change their live performance in order to satisfy the Chinese government. The metal veterans played two shows in China – in Beijing and Shanghai – in the last week of April 2016. The band had to change lyrics and drop special effects …

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Jordan: Ban on performance by Lebanese band reversed

4 May 2016

Jordan is permitting the popular Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila to perform, thereby lifting an earlier ban imposed amid claims that the group’s songs – which are promoting religious and sexual freedom – “violate local customs and religious beliefs.” Khalid Abu Zeid, a regional politician who initially announced the ban …

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Nordic Ministers of Culture declare support for artistic freedom

4 May 2016

“Artistic and creative expressions, as an integral part of the human right to freedom of expressions, is critical both to the development of cultures and to the functioning of democratic societies,” said a declaration by the Nordic Ministers of Culture adopted at a seminar on 2 May 2016 during the World …

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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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