Austin Dacey, USA: Expanding the boundaries


Amplifying music in the face of censorship

A presentation by Austin Dacey, followed by a debate which took place at the conference ‘Right! Freedom of Music & Speech’ on 21 November 2011 in Stockholm.


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Statement by Freemuse Executive Committee on cultural boycotts

The Executive Committee of Freemuse met in Copenhagen on 30 January 2005. One of the issues it discussed was cultural boycotts. Following an in-depth discussion, the Executive Committee took the following view.

  1. We believe that censorship and cultural boycotts are not the same thing and should be discussed as separate – albeit linked – issues. While cultural boycotts may lead to censorship we do not believe that they inevitably do so.

  2. As an organization Freemuse has not, and does not, support specific cultural boycotts. In general we see boycotts as acts by individuals and recognize the need to judge each case on its merits. Freemuse’s main role here is in monitoring such actions and providing a platform for debating them (see point 4 below).

  3. Freemuse must at all times act within the remits of it Charter. It has not, and will not, act in contravention of this.


The main points of Freemuse’s charter are to:


a) support and publicise the universal principles of human rights as they apply to the rights of musicians and their music as expressed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations:

b) strengthen, assist and monitor human rights issues as they apply to musicians;

c) strengthen, assist and co-ordinate the efforts of FREEMUSE and its members to monitor compliance by nations and communities with the principals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in respect of musicians;

(The full charter can be viewed here)

Freemuse has acted, and will continue to act, as a forum for debate of cultural boycotts. Examples of this include continual coverage of the issue on the Freemuse website, a session at the 2nd World Conference on Censorship and a seminar facilitated by Freemuse at Womex 2003. Within our limited resources, we will continue to provide such a platform and intend to commission work on cultural boycotts and to provide another opportunity to discuss the question at the 3rd World Conference which is planned for 2006.

Freemuse Executive Committee
30 January 2005.

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