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Turkey: New optimism for Kurdish culture though pending cases remain unresolved

10 February 2014

A new report from the organisation Siyah Bant, ‘Freedom of Expression in the Arts and Censorship in Kurdish Region Diyarbakir, Batman’, monitors violations on artistic freedom and concludes that despite the Turkish government’s proclaimed reform efforts much remains to be seen. In November 2013, exiled kurdish musician Şivan Perwer was …

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Turkey: Ferhat Tunc joins Freemuse at conference in Sweden

10 February 2014

The Turkish singer Ferhat Tunç will join Freemuse Director Ole Reitov on 12 February 2014 at an international conference ‘Freedom of Speech – Perspectives and Initiatives’ in Uppsala, Sweden. Ferhat Tunç, a Freemuse Award winner, has faced dozens of court cases in Turkey. He is considered one of the most …

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Iran: Unusual sight of musical instruments on state tv

6 February 2014

On 1 February 2014, musical instruments were shown on Iranian state tv for the first time in three decades. Tv-viewers in Iran found themselves rubbing their eyes in disbelief when a morning programme on state tv broadcast a group of musicians playing traditional Persian instruments, reported The Guardian. For many …

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Tunisia: A hundred drawings for the freedom of one illustrator

5 February 2014

Artists from a dozen countries launched an Internet campaign to free young Tunisian artist Jabeur Mejri, imprisoned since March 2012 for blasphemy in sharing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. The campaign ‘One Hundred Drawings for Jabeur’ is meant to remind the Tunisian lawmakers that the country’s newly adopted …

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Pakistan: Five killed in cinema attacked with hand grenades

5 February 2014

On 2 February 2014, two hand grenades hurled into a cinema hall in Peshawar killed five persons and injured 31. Police were reportedly not surprised – they had been warning cinemas for a while that they needed to step up security. A stampede following the blasts was responsible for many …

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Iran: Actor denied work over resemblance to Ahmadinejad

30 January 2014

Iranian actor Mahmoud Basiri, who resembles former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says that he was banned from acting during the former president’s two terms in office. Basiri said that he had signed contracts to play parts in television shows and had even recorded numerous scenes. But when the television shows aired, …

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Iran: Writers association criticizes state pressure

30 January 2014

Iran’s Writers Association says security officials have prevented the group from holding its monthly advisory meeting. In a recently issued statement, the group says the meeting was due to be held on January 14 at the home of one of the members. But according to the statement, a few days …

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Syria: Music banned in northern province

23 January 2014

In a statement, the organisation The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has “banned music and songs in cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in shop windows,” warning that “whoever violates these rules will subject themselves to the necessary Sharia punishment.” “Songs …

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Saudi Arabia: Palestinian poet jailed for ‘atheism and long hair’

21 January 2014

Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh is in a Saudi prison, allegedly for spreading atheism – and having long hair, Mona Kareem reported for Global Voices. Fayadh’s case is making the rounds in media and on social networks, with condemnations coming from Arab writers and artists from across the region. Some of …

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Turkey: Playwright and author exiled after death threats

20 January 2014

In the days after the Gezi Park protests in 2013, Turkish playwright and author Meltem Arikan found herself at the centre of a government-led hate campaign that left her fearing for her life. Arikan, now living in the United Kingdom, left Turkey because of the vicious and sustained campaign against …

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