India: Film survives censor board controversy after court ruling

16 June 2016

Controversial film ‘Udta Punjab’ (‘Flying Punjab’), which depicts drug use in the northern Indian state of Punjab, will be released on 17 June 2016 with only one cut, ruled the Bombay High Court, after it had been embroiled in a fight over censorship in which the national censorship board called …

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Nordic Ministers of Culture declare support for artistic freedom

4 May 2016

“Artistic and creative expressions, as an integral part of the human right to freedom of expressions, is critical both to the development of cultures and to the functioning of democratic societies,” said a declaration by the Nordic Ministers of Culture adopted at a seminar on 2 May 2016 during the World …

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Turkey: How Erdoğan turned the tables on the EU to stifle free speech

3 May 2016

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demands that comedian Jan Böhmermann be prosecuted under Germany’s own laws criminalising insult to foreign heads of state because he has read out an offensive poem. The existence of this law has clearly taken Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German judiciary by surprise, but Merkel …

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UAE: New dance craze leads to arrest

21 April 2016

A viral hit across the Middle East, reaching over 21 million views on YouTube since December 2015, of Saudi song and dance craze ‘Barbs’ has led many to post themselves on various social media outlets, including two Emirati soldiers who were arrested for performing the dance in uniform, reported The …

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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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Nigeria: Performance artists face new, unexpected charges

11 March 2016

Performance artist Jelili Atiku, along with five other artists, appeared in court on 7 March 2016 for their first hearing related to a public performance piece staged on 14 January 2016, which led to their arrest four days later. At the hearing, the original four-count charge was changed to seven …

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