PRINCIPLES OF DOCUMENTATION
Freemuse annual statistics document violations of artistic freedom in the past year, from 1 January to 31 December. We focus on music, visual arts, cinema/films (fictional), theatre (including performance art), literature (fiction) and dance. The statistics cover artists who are attacked, persecuted, killed, abducted, prosecuted, imprisoned (including detention) or censored. The statistics also cover attacks and censorship of artistic expressions, venues and events.
Freemuse verifies each case based on a combination of open sources, including incidents reported in international and local media, as well as information Freemuse receives and collects from network partners and stringers around the world.
We consider a case “confirmed” only if we are reasonably certain that an artist was targeted in reprisal for her or his artistic work.
Freemuse conducts its own independent research to determine the motive. When authorities make up false accusations, such as economic fraud or drug possession, in an attempt to silence an artist, the case is included in the statistics. Artists killed in a car accident or prosecuted for an actual crime unrelated to their artistic work are not included. When the motive of persecution is unclear, Freemuse considers the case “unconfirmed” and continues to investigate, but does not include it in the statistics.
When artists have faced multiple violations of their artistic freedom for the same incident, we count the most serious violation in our statistics. If an artist is threatened and attacked while abducted the case is only counted as “abducted” in the statistics. If an artist is detained, prosecuted and then consequently imprisoned for the same incident, the violation is only counted as “imprisoned”. If an artist is “abducted” in one incident, and “threatened” in a separate, unrelated incident, then those are registered as two separate cases.
“Attacked” refers to artists or arts events being physically attacked. If an artistic event is attacked then that is registered as one attack; however, if several artists were individually targeted or injured during the event then those incidents are registered as individual cases of being “attacked”.
The category of “imprisoned” artists includes artists who were detained or put in prison for their artistic work during the calendar year, as well as artists who were imprisoned in years previous, but remained behind bars during the whole or part of the year. If an artist was in prison during the year, later released and then imprisoned again for their artistic work, then those incidents would be registered separately as two incidents of imprisonment.
The “censored” category contains various kinds of incidents, such as concerts being stopped and fans arrested; films, books and music being censored and banned; and works of art being removed from exhibitions. In the case of blacklists, if Freemuse is able to obtain a blacklist, then we count each artist or art work in that list as an individual case of censorship. However, if Freemuse reports on a blacklist, but cannot obtain the official list, then we register the blacklist as one case of censorship and continue to investigate to obtain a copy.
When a festival, cultural event or exhibition that hosts a variety of art forms is censored or attacked, Freemuse registers the incident as censorship of or attack on “multiple art forms”. When a violation affects artists and audiences globally and cannot be attributed to a particular country, such as an act of censorship by an online company, we categorize such violations as “global”.
Freemuse also tracks who is behind artistic freedom violations. We make a distinction between the following types of violators: “artistic community”, such as curators, event organisers and unions; “government”, including police, military and ministries; “non-state actors”, including civil society organisations, militant groups and religious groups; and “unknown”, for when it is unclear who was behind the violation. When a violator is “unknown”, Freemuse continues to investigate.
In our reporting we make a distinction between acts of censorship and serious violations. Serious violations include killed, abducted, attacked, imprisoned, prosecuted and persecuted/threatened. The distinction is not to say censorship does not have serious consequences, but helps us to better describe the world of artistic freedom.
The statistics do not include attacks on journalists, bloggers and cartoonists working in media/ magazines/blogs. Several of our sister organisations such as PEN International, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists and the umbrella organisation IFEX document and monitor these violations. Our statistics also do not cover attacks on documentaries and nonfiction literature.
TO EXPLORE OTHER AREAS OF THE ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016 REPORT CLICK ON THE SECTIONS BELOW:
THE ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016
FULL REPORT HERE