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Pakistan: Punjabi film banned

5 April 2016

Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has banned Indian Punjabi film ‘Ambarsariya’ for “strong references” to the country’s research and analysis wing of its intelligence agency, reported The Express Tribune on 1 April 2016. The film’s distributors appeal to have the full board review the film again was granted, …

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Israel: Proposed ‘loyalty bill’ to impact on artistic expression

22 March 2016

The Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, wants to make allocation of funding of arts projects conditional upon the recipient’s loyalty to the Jewish state. At the end of January 2016, Miri Regev, Israel’s minister of culture and sport, proposed an amendment – dubbed the “loyalty in culture” bill – that would …

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Pakistan: Two Bollywood films banned

17 March 2016

In the continued practice of Pakistan banning the release of Indian-made films, ‘Ishq Forever’ and ‘Neerja’ are the two latest films that will not be given screen time in the country, according to multiple sources. Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) determined romantic drama ‘Ishq Forever’ to be “objectionable”, …

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Qatar: Poet Mohammed al-Ajami released from prison

16 March 2016

The government of Qatar has released poet Mohammed al-Ajami after four years imprisonment when Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani unexpectedly pardoned the poet, U.S.-based non-profit Freedom Now reported on 16 March 2016. The case brought significant international attention to the poet and the Qatari government from several international human …

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Egypt: Screening of Israeli award-winning film cancelled

16 March 2016

The Egyptian Culture Ministry cancelled a screening of Eran Kolirin’s film ‘The Band’s Visit’ that was to take place at the Palace of Culture in Beni Suef, 115 kilometres south of Cairo, Misr Journal reported on 23 January 2016. The film was set to be screened on 24 January 2016, …

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Iran: Musical instruments still not allowed on Iranian tv

15 March 2016

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting blurred the musicians playing instruments, reported journalismisnotacrime.com on 12 February 2016. Families around Iran were told they were in for a treat: Iran’s state tv announced it would broadcast a concert by the popular Iranian singer Salar Aghili. But when it came to the event, …

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Turkey: ‘Rocking imam’ blocked from singing in Portugal

15 March 2016

Turkish imam and rock musician Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer has been denied permission to give a concert in Portugal by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, reported several news media on 1 March 2016. Known in Turkey as the “Rockin’ Imam”, Ahmet Muhsin is the imam in the town of …

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Egypt: Several books banned at international book fair

14 March 2016

According to Egyptian news portal Youm7, several books were banned from the 2016 Cairo International Book Fair held in late January/early February 2016 for presenting controversial themes and ideas on topics such as homosexuality and female status. Moroccan author Mohamed Shokri’s ‘For the Sake of Only Bread’ was the first …

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Egypt: Fear of heavy metal returns

8 March 2016

Recent controversies in Egypt over heavy metal music continue to highlight findings in the 2010 Freemuse report “Headbanging against Repressive Regimes”, wherein the music and its fans remain misunderstood and victims of conservative policies and societies. Freemuse Egypt stringer, Shahira Amin, explains the recent events around heavy metal concerts, the role of …

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Music Freedom Day in Pakistan: Call for cultural policy

4 March 2016

Participants gathered with great enthusiasm across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata to celebrate the annual Music Freedom Day, calling on their leaders to formulate a comprehensive cultural policy, reported Sher Alam Shinwari from the city of Peshawar on 3 March 2016. By Sher Alam Shinwari Senior artists, singers and writers at …

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