India: Author gives up writing after book burning protests

23 January 2015

Four years after its publication, Perumal Murugan’s novel ‘Madhorubhagan’ (‘One Part Woman’) has come under attack for blasphemy from religious and political groups. In December 2014, the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, “National Volunteers’ Organisation”) burnt copies of the book, demanding the arrest of both the author …

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Japan: Exhibition of Unfreedom of Expression

23 January 2015

“Is Japan a nation of free speech? How much freedom of expression do people enjoy in this country?” asks Reiji Yoshida and Kazuaki Nagata in an article in The Japan Times about an ‘Exhibition of Unfreedom of Expression’ which is on display in a small gallery in Tokyo until 1 …

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Singapore: New American freedom of art award

21 January 2015

The Indonesian artist FX Harsono received an inaugural Freedom of Art award in Singapore on 20 January 2015. It was presented to him by the U.S. ambassador to Singapore and the director of Art Stage Singapore. The Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art honours an artist or curator from Southeast …

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India: Writer faces death threats and book burning

14 January 2015

Condemning the death threat to writer Perumal Murugan and burning of his book ‘Maadhorubhagan,’ members of Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists’ Association staged demonstration saying the threat by caste and religious outfits and the burning of Murugan’s book ‘Madhorubhagan’ were nothing but an attempt to crush freedom of expression. » Sourced …

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USA/North Korea: Americans flocking to see ‘The Interview’

2 January 2015

Sony initially called off the release of the film, citing threats of terror attacks against US cinemas. The American president Barack Obama criticised the decision, and by the end of December 2014, the movie then premiered in a number of US cinemas. “Freedom prevails”, wrote a cinema on its billboard. …

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USA: Sony Pictures cancels film premiere after intimidation and threats

22 December 2014

Sony Pictures has cancelled the premiere of a US$44 million comedy film about the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader, ‘The Interview’. The cancellation comes after the hacking of Sony’s computer system and threats of terror. In June 2014, North Korea called the movie an act of war and promised …

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China: Writers arrested in new wave of repression, alerts PEN International

16 December 2014

PEN International has joined PEN American Center and the Independent Chinese PEN Center in expressing alarm over a new wave of arrests of writers, journalists, publishers and civil society activists in China in recent weeks, apparently for their public support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. PEN International reported …

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Japan: Artist imprisoned over ‘obscene’ kayak design

15 December 2014

                    When Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi began to make plaster casts of her genitalia and show them in exhibitions, she accepted some people might be upset. But she could not have imagined she would end up in prison. Megumi Igarashi has …

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Afghanistan: Theatre performance attacked by suicide bomber

13 December 2014

On 11 December 2014 a 17-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up inside a school auditorium in Kabul where a theatre play condemning suicide bombing, ‘Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion’, was being presented by students of Kabul University’s Cinema and Theatre Department of Fine Art Faculty Several persons were killed by …

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China: Tibetan folk singer sentenced to two and a half years in prison

8 December 2014

On 27 November 2014, the Intermediate People’s Court in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, sentenced the well-known folk singer and music producer Pema Rigzin to two and a half years in prison and a fine of 50,000 yuan (US$ 8,130) for composing, releasing, and distributing music with alleged political overtones. Pema Rigzin, …

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