News 2004

Googoosh: Iran's Daughter
Googoosh was Iran's most famous and beloved pop diva, until she was silenced following the 1979 Islamic revolution. The award winning documentary on Googoosh is now out on DVD
14 December 2004
Wal-Mart is sued over rude lyrics
The parents of a 13-year-old girl are suing US supermarket giant Wal-Mart over a CD by rock group Evanescence that contains swear words. Wal-Mart has a policy of not stocking CDs which carry parental advisory labels
11 December 2004
Pride and prejudice: 'anti-gay' stars refuse to apologise
Their gigs have been cancelled all over the world and their names withdrawn from awards. But Jamaica's dancehall stars refuse to apologise for - or even stop singing - songs that encourage the murder of gay people. Extensive article from The Guardian
10 December 2004
Musical responses to 9/11: From Conservative patriotism to radicalism
This article poses the question: What would a suitable American popular music response to the events of 9/11 sound like? Read the chapter by Martin Cloonan, from the book "9/11 - The world's all out of tune"
09 December 2004
Musical responses to 9/11: List of allegedly 'banned' songs
A list of "lyrically inappropriate" songs banned from some US radio stations in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks in 2001
09 December 2004
Turkey: Ferhat Tun
Ferhat Tun
08 December 2004
Breaking the Silence: Afghanistan documentary out on DVD
Breaking the Silence - the award winning documentary from 2002 by Simon Broughton on music after the fall of the Taliban is now available on DVD
06 December 2004
Pakistan: Two South Indian dance teachers stand up to ban
For the past 53 years, Indu and Tehreema Mitha have been doing the impossible in Pakistan: teaching South Indian dance to Muslim girls in a country where Islamic clergymen will not allow girls to dance
05 December 2004
Zimbabwean rapper Maskiri banned
Maskiri says his latest album has been banned from the airwaves because of what State radio bosses considered offensive content
30 November 2004
The Hot Sound of Hate
Hundreds of bands in America and Europe produce Hate Music. In September Panzerfaust Records launched Project Schoolyard, a plan to snag kids 13 to 19 by distributing 100,000 free CDs of such bands as Day of the Sword, H8 Machine and Final War.
29 November 2004
City demands 'anti-gay' music ban
Brighton will be the first UK city to demand that retailers ban albums with "anti-gay" lyrics. The City Council voted unanimously to write to the managing directors of Virgin Megastore, HMV and MVC condemning the music. The council do not have the power to force the stores not to sell the music
27 November 2004
No apology from 'anti-gay' singer
Reggae star Sizzla has refused to apologise for his lyrics advocating violence against gay men, despite his UK tour being cancelled after protests. Sizzla is not allowed into the UK while the Home Secretary examines concerns raised by gay rights group OutRage!
25 November 2004
City seeks 'anti-gay' album ban
The first UK city-wide boycott of albums with "anti-gay" lyrics is being considered in Brighton. Councillors want music retailers like HMV, Virgin Megastore and MVC to stop selling albums with homophobic lyrics in its Brighton branches
23 November 2004
Reggae stars 'help to spread HIV'
International Development Minister Gareth Thomas fears that discrimination against homosexuals is deterring people from being tested for HIV. "A number of artistes are effectively contributing to the spread of HIV by producing reggae and rap songs actually encouraging discrimination"
22 November 2004
Censor and be damned? The link between violent music and violent behaviour
"The UK Home Office has decided that Sizzla cannot come to the UK to play at this time." Scotland on Sunday about the current debate on homophobic lyrics
14 November 2004
Zimbabwe: Moyo under fire for using billions of taxpayers' money to sponsor own band
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has squandered at least Z$2-billion of public funds in recording and launching music group PaxAfro's first CD, and in hosting music concerts aimed at sprucing up the Zimbabwean government's battered image
14 November 2004
Kenya: Are musicians composing "dirty" songs just to please listeners?
Editorial from The Nation on explicit lyrics: "Many people have accused the media of contributing to moral decadence by glorifying music with raunchy lyrics and giving minimal airtime to those with positive messages"
12 November 2004
US school talent show draws Secret Service
The band, named Coalition of the Willing, was to perform Bob Dylan's song "Masters of War" - but some students and adults who heard the band rehearse called a radio talk show Thursday morning, saying the song the band sang ended with a call for President Bush to die. So the Secret Service was called to the school to investigate
12 November 2004
Afghanistan pulls cable channels
Cable TV channels showing raunchy Bollywood movies and foreign music videos have - again - been taken off air in Afghanistan by the government
12 November 2004
Haiti: Members of the popular band RAM arrested
Haitian police detained three members of the popular band RAM late on the night of Nov. 4 as they were on stage performing a song called "Justice!" at the Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince, witnesses say
10 November 2004
South Korea: Protest music returns to be remembered
Until the late 1980s, music that criticized the government was prohibited. Undeterred, students and laborers working outside the universities wrote songs and spread them remarkably from city to city by word of mouth. A new album traces the protest music of South Korea
10 November 2004
'Kill Bush' rappers rapped by US
Gatans Parlament - a Norwegian rap group that criticised US President Bush by setting up a website whose name means "Kill him now" is in trouble with US authorities. Gatans Parlament, or Street Parliament, has defended the exercise as a satire
04 November 2004
'Anti-gay' lyrics inquiry starts
The government is considering banning reggae star Sizzla from the UK. Meanwhile detectives are investigating claims that lyrics penned by eight leading reggae artists incite violence against homosexuals and are therefore illegal.
03 November 2004
Middle East: Hip-Hop on the frontline
The rap form allows a powerful voice for political invective, and is being used on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. But for Arab countries and the Middle East, the influence and performance of hip-hop lights a few fuses
02 November 2004
Zimbabwean gospel diva Fungisai Zvakavapano denied UK visa
A London-based Zimbabwe news website quoted a British Embassy official as citing fear that she might not return to Zimbabwe after her tour as a reason for refusing her a visa
02 November 2004
Adults only! New book on censored album covers
With focus on original LP- and CD covers of the past 50 years, a German book and exhibition documents the history of rock- and pop music that has evoked public discussions or even been censored
25 October 2004
Iran: Concerts cancelled
Bureaucratic obstacles have turned into a kind of musical oppression in Iran, reports Shadi Vatanparast from the Iranian web-magazine
21 October 2004
Denmark: Religious fundamentalists obstruct concert
A concert on 9 October, in Copenhagen, Denmark, arranged by the Somali network in Denmark was blocked by a group of religious fundamentalists. According to reports, the group told the musicians that "music is the work of the Devil"
21 October 2004
Pakistan: Grenade kills four listening to music at wedding party
Grenade thrown into a wedding ceremony at Peshwar, killing four and injuring 35 people. The guests were listening to music
15 October 2004
La Rumeur: accused of inciting violence
The French group from the Paris outskirts helped to redefine the hip hop scene in France.... but faced crippling legal court cases as a consequence
11 October 2004
Repression against musicians of Belarus
Open letter from Belarusian musicians concerning political pressure being placed on musicians who allegedly oppose President Aleksandr Lukashenko
08 October 2004
United Arab Emirates: Satellite music channel bans "demeaning songs"
The Arab satellite music channel Nogoom has decided to ban the airing of songs that are classified as "inappropriate for the average viewers"
07 October 2004
Iranian hardliners cancel embassy music concerts
A series of concerts organized by foreign embassies in Iran have been cancelled, apparently due to increased curbs on cultural events by the Islamic republic's hardliners
05 October 2004
CRAG Report: The Missing Cuban Musicians
No Cuban bands have been admitted entry into the U.S. since November 2003. New report on the situation for cultural exchange between Cuba and the U.S.
05 October 2004
Mexico's forbidden songs
Extensive article and interview with Elijah Wald, member of the Freemuse Advisory Board, on the Mexican "narco corridos" (drug ballads), which are often accused of glamorising drug trafficking and gangsterism
05 October 2004
Turkey: Censorship Past and Present
A historical approach to the nature of censorship. Article.
01 October 2004
United Kingdom: Reggae concert banned over lyrics
Jamaican singer Buju Banton has been banned from playing a concert in Manchester after protests over his allegedly homophobic lyrics. Greater Manchester Police cancelled the gig as previous performances "suggest a likelihood of public disorder"
23 September 2004
Cat Stevens denied access "on national security grounds"
US officials identified that the singer, whose name is now Yusuf Islam, was on one of their "watch lists". After an interview, the singer - who converted to Islam in 1977 - was denied entry into the US
22 September 2004
Zimbabwean Censorship Board absent from censorship discussion
"Artists in Zimbabwe do not know what the censorship board looks at when accessing productions, so this was an opportunity for them to know." A meeting in Harare discussed the growing concern about the Censorship Board
22 September 2004
Mixing Pop & Politics: Music Making Change
Forthcoming conference on popular music's important place in the struggle for human rights and democratic freedoms. Panel discussions will examine topics including: Music as a Human Right; Bridging the North / South Divide Through Music; and Musical Activism
20 September 2004
Zimbabwe: Complete control - Music and propaganda in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean government records 'praise music' to replace critical songs. Extensive article on Zanu PF and their use of music as propaganda, past and present
20 September 2004
The world's all out of tune: Popular music after 9/11
"9/11 - The world's all out of tune. Popul
14 September 2004
New US study on cultural exchanges since September 11
U.S Homeland Security and State departments are encouraged to "work together to improve the current visa it is less of a barrier for foreign visitors, artists, and scholars, and for the presenters who invite them"
10 September 2004
Reggae stars dropped because of 'homophobic' lyrics
A collection of articles and background information on Hate Music and the current debate, where Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel, the two controversial reggae acts accused of inciting violence against homosexuals, have been dropped from the UK Mobo Awards show
08 September 2004
Beenie Man banned from MTV gig
Reggae star Beenie Man - recently accused of "lyrics that are an incitement to homophobic murder and violence" - has been banned from performing at an MTV concert after gay activists planned a protest over the singer's past lyrics
04 September 2004
Iranian rapper talks a fine line
Chart-topping Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh targets unemployment, poverty and westernised Iranian girls in his new album, which the culture ministry took four years to approve. The ministry passed it only after he deleted six songs from his original ten
04 September 2004
Protest singer Earle blasts US war
The US singer - whose song about so-called American Taliban John Walker Lindh provoked major controversy in the US and resulted in US media calling him "unpatriotic" and even "a traitor" - is set to release an album which criticises the Iraq war
17 August 2004
USA: Politician seeks musician Bruce Springsteen boycott
Upset with Bruce Springsteen's effort to oust President Bush from the White House, the New York Conservative Party's candidate for the U.S. Senate is launching a "Boycott the Boss" television commercial
16 August 2004
Albums with 'objectionable material' removed from Kansas libraries
The Kansas attorney general has withheld more than 1,600 compact discs from distribution to state libraries because officials determined the albums promote violence or illegal activity, records show
10 August 2004
Iran: Lashes for loud music
The judiciary in Hamedan has ordered that anyone caught playing thumping tunes in their cars should be subject to jail terms or lashes, according to news agency IRNA. "Playing any type of music loud in the vehicles is regarded as a crime and violators will be dealt by legal measures"
09 August 2004
Clerics condemn Kashmir pop song
Religious leaders in Kashmir have sought a ban on a pop song by two Pakistani singers. A line in the song, Kachi Pencil (Fragile Pencil), says God has written the fate of man with a fragile pencil
03 August 2004
Independent record labels unhappy with Sony - BMG merger
Small record labels fear more corporate control: "This merger is not about economic necessity in a changing market, it is about the desire to dominate and to control the outlets at media and retail level"
20 July 2004
Venue expels Linda Ronstadt after political remarks
The singer was booed and removed from a Las Vegas casino for praising film-maker Michael Moore and his film Fahrenheit 9/11 during a show. Ronstadt called Moore a "great American patriot" and "someone who is spreading the truth"
20 July 2004
Elton John attacks new 'era of censorship' in America
The British singer has attacked what he calls a McCarthy-like "era of censorship" in America. Entertainers who speak out against the Bush administration or its policy on Iraq, he claimed, risk scorn and damage to their livelihood
17 July 2004
Rapper Jadakiss Blames Bush for Sept. 11
"Why" - the new single by US rapper Jadakiss, with the words "why did Bush knock down the towers?" - has gotten him the most mainstream attention, and criticism, of his career. MTV and several radio stations are playing the edited version
16 July 2004
Prince Says He Wants Less Explicit Lyrics
"I have a responsibility to (young fans) to perform in a manner that I would like my children to be performed in front of"
16 July 2004
Eminem to start censorship-free radio station
Eminem has personally come under fire many times for his lyrical content, with the FCC even penalizing radio stations for daring to play his music. The yet-to-be-named channel will feature Eminem and other artists hosting shows uncut and uncensored
12 July 2004
Hip-Hop Cops: US put Hip-Hop under surveillance
A collection of articles on the latest developments in a nationwide effort to place every aspect of hip-hop culture under state surveillance
08 July 2004
Spot buys: The new payola?
Focus on the history of payola, including the current debate in the U.S. on record labels purchasing overnight advertising time at radio chains and using the time for repeated play of singles
05 July 2004
Cuban musicians criticize new U.S. travel rules
A group of musicians has criticized new U.S. regulations that will further limit travel to Cuba, urging the United States to build bridges to the island instead of tearing them down. The musicians tied their comments to the release of the album: Bridge to Havana
02 July 2004
D.R. Congo: Ban on rap music
In June 2004, the Committee of Censorship in the Democratic Republic of Congo censored all Congolese rap groups and foreign music. The reason given for banning rap is that it is 'obscene and violent, and causes the youth to behave badly'
21 June 2004
Ukrainian nationalists: Russian pop hits off buses
Politicians fear that their culture and language are under threat from Russian pop songs
18 June 2004
Myanmar/Burma: Conscripted for Karaoke
Promoting the Burmese governments National Convention, three famous singers are singing a jingle on tv - but news indicate that they were conscripted into singing and possibly blackmailed by authorities
14 June 2004
"Don't stop the music" Youth magazine special on music and censorship
A special issue on of the Danish youth magazine ZAPP on censorship of music, published in October 2004
14 June 2004
Taiwan star silenced by China row
Taiwanese pop singer Chang Hui-mei, better known as A-mei, had to cancel a concert in China after a protest accusing her of supporting independence for the island
13 June 2004
Threatening borders
Visa problems: Fortresses that Western authorities build around their riches dissuad
09 June 2004
Hip-Hop as a Political Tool
Five steps to using hip hop within a political framework and to developing a viable political constituency in the hip-hop generation
08 June 2004
USA: 'Crash into me, baby!'
America's implicit music censorship since September 11. Read the chapter from 'Shoot the Singer!', by Eric Nuzum on how the September 11 terror attacks have affected freedom of musical expression
03 June 2004
Censorship threatens future musicians
Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe) and Freemuse executive director Marie Korpe interviewed by BBC at the launch of the book: Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today
01 June 2004
Afghanistan: The sound of music
After the silence of the Taliban years, Afghanistan is beginning to hum again
27 May 2004
Thomas Mapfumo
"I am the voice of the voiceless.." Video and audio interviews with Thomas Mapfumo on music censorship in Zimbabwe
26 May 2004
Shoot the Singer! Book
'Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today' is the first worldwide presentation of contemporary cases of music censorship
25 May 2004
Malaysia: Malay songs with English lyrics banned
The government of Malaysia has banned songs that contain English lyrics from state-controlled radio and television stations
20 April 2004
Singer 'strips' over censorship
Wearing a "nude suit" on stage to complain about censorship in the US, Alanis Morissette criticised a radio station for forcing her to change strong language in one of her recent songs
06 April 2004
Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee
In March 2004, the Lebanese Surete Generale censored a video clip entitled "Why are You Emigrating?" by Najwa Karam, a well known singer.
02 April 2004
Germany targets neo-Nazi music
German police have raided the homes of more than 300 people suspected of posting neo-Nazi music files on the internet
24 March 2004
Freedom of Expression Awards 2004
The Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards 2004 took place on 22 March. The Music Award went to Daniel Barenboim & Edward Said. The other nominees were Gorki Luis
24 March 2004
Student expelled for listening to rock music
12 year-old expelled from school for admitting he listened to rock music at home and charged with sending the names of certain rock bands to fellow classmates at school
23 March 2004
Songs of Cuba, silenced in America
"We may think we are isolating Cuba with our embargo and our travel restrictions, but it is we Americans who are becoming isolated," said singer-songwriter Jackson Browne on the US - Cuba visa conflict
22 March 2004
Veil lifts off once-forbidden Kurdish folklore music
The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime has allowed the once-forbidden Kurdish music to spread throughout the country
18 March 2004
USA: New fines proposed in indecency bills
The bills would give the Federal Communications Commission the authority to fine recording artists, air talent and other individuals up to $500,000 for knowingly uttering indecent language on radio and TV
14 March 2004
Australia: New censorship codes imposed
Robyn Riley, Far North Queensland's answer to Tipper Gore, is a shining example of how one person can make a difference. A Christian activist and fanatical letter writer, Riley believes song lyrics cause suicide, murder and teen behavioural problems
01 March 2004
Angola: When the people's silence speaks
A rare, detailed description of the present situation for a number of underground hip-hop artists in Angola. The article features an interview with the 22-year-old rapper MCK
01 March 2004
Clear Channel adopt new decency standards
Clear Channel Communications Inc. has adopted new "decency" standards to make sure that material its radio stations air conforms to local community standards.
27 February 2004
Censorship in Kuwait
An Islamist lawmaker has said he was coordinating with other MPs to ban music education at schools in Kuwait because it was "anti-Islamic and a waste of time."
16 February 2004
Iraq: Traditional Iraqi music under threat
Iraqi musicians have been targeted by some Muslim radicals who want to wipe out many features of secular Iraq, writes
11 February 2004
Fresh Iranian bands ready to rock
A music competition aims at introducing new talent in the Islamic Republic. But when you live and work in Iran, there are certain limitations on forms of self-expression
09 February 2004
"Anti-police" rap CD targeted in Arizona
03 February 2004
Explicit Lyrics & Parental Advisory
Tipper Gore, the PMRC, and the infamous black-and-white logo: Background material and news articles
01 February 2004
Spain: Basque singer suffers from concert prohibitions
The Basque rock singer Fermin Muguruza suffers from concert bans in Spain. Threats from neo-fascist groups was said to be the reason for the cancellations of his concerts
28 January 2004
Spain: Censorship of Basque musicians
Over the past two years censorship of Basque musicians in Spain has steadily increased
28 January 2004
Iran: Women & music censorship
Background material on women in the performing arts in post-revolutionary Iran
20 January 2004
Mariah upsets Malaysian Muslims
Malaysia's Muslim opposition party has called for Mariah Carey to be barred from performing in the country
16 January 2004
Woman singer angers Afghan judges
Afghanistan's supreme court has complained to the government over the appearance of an Afghan woman singing on state television.
16 January 2004
Afghan TV U-turn on women singers
Afghan state television has gone back on a decision to show female singers, saying the country is not yet ready for such broadcasts.
16 January 2004
Pop lyrics and their censors
"Political correctness has imposed a new restraint on free speech." Interview with Freemuse co-chair Martin Cloonan on explicit lyrics and music censorship today
15 January 2004
Afghanistan: Ban on local women singers lifted
More than two years after the fall of the Talibans, state television has broadcast for the first time footage of an Afghan woman singing
14 January 2004
Sarah Jones and FCC
Interview from BBC with the US singer, who has faced several problems in regards to her allegedly controversial lyrics
14 January 2004
Singer Lee Jones attacks Bush
American singer Rickie Lee Jones has attacked the policies of the Bush administration on her latest record - despite the potential risk to her career. "I usually reflect things totally internally. But I think what is happening in America is so disturbing to me, it becomes internal"
07 January 2004
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