News 2009

USA: Banned music showcased in concert series in New York
A concert with the exiled Pakistani singer Haroon Bacha on 9 December 2009 marks the start of 'Impossible Music Sessions' in New York showcasing banned music
09 December 2009
Iraq: Violence against singers continues
In Iraq, the clerics have conflicting opinions about music prohibition, writes Wisam Tahir from Nasiriya in an article published in The Herald Scotland
09 December 2009
Iran: More than 20 musicians banned from radio
Government-owned radio stations in Iran have been ordered to stop broadcasting certain singers' music and certain songs, reported Ilna and Iran Human Rights Voice.
30 November 2009
Cameroon: Lapiro de Mbanga wins global award
Imprisoned musician Lapiro de Mbanga is the 2009 winner of the 'Freedom to Create' Imprisoned Artist Prize
25 November 2009
Lapiro de Mbanga
Video interview with the imprisoned musician Lapiro de Mbanga from Cameroon
25 November 2009
Myanmar/Burma: Two musicians arrested, another released after torture
Singer Nyi Paing and songwriter Min Satta have reportedly been arrested by Burmese authorities, while the singer Htoo Htoo Chay has been released after torture
16 November 2009
UK / Chile: Concert to commemorate singer Victor Jara
A concert by Steve Tromans and his band entitled 'Last Words of Victor Jara' is performed in Birmingham on 11 November 2009
11 November 2009
Western Sahara: Aziza Brahim shortlisted for Freedom to Create Prize
Western Saharan singer and musician Aziza Brahim is shortlisted for the 2009 Freedom to Create Prize in the Main Prize category
11 November 2009
Kuwait: Member of parliament wants music teaching banned
MP Mohammad Hayef Al-Mutairi wants music teaching to be banned from schools in Kuwait because he considers that music is prohibited under Islam
11 November 2009
Turkey: Ferhat Tun
Ferhat Tun
09 November 2009
Spain: Gilberto Gil joins Freemuse at festival against censorship
Brasilian legend Gilberto Gil is headlining 'Festival against censorship' in Bilbao in Spain in November 2009 - Europe's leading festival against censorship
09 November 2009
Pakistan: Music stores are rebuilt in Swat valley
In the north-western Pakistani valley of Swat, the Taliban's ban on all forms of artistic expression has been lifted, and culture now makes a comeback
04 November 2009
Iran: 12 'satanist' musicians reportedly arrested in Orumiyeh
An Iranian newspaper reported that 12 musicians accused of promoting satanism have been arrested in northwest Iran
02 November 2009
Palestine: Singer kidnapped and beaten by gunmen
Palestinian singer Khalid Faraj was kidnapped, beaten up, and thrown in a field in Gaza by unidentified gunmen
28 October 2009
Newsletter no. 3 / 2009
Freemuse Newsletter no. 3 / 2009
26 October 2009
Cameroon: Lapiro shortlisted for global award
High profiled panel points at imprisoned musician Lapiro for the final shortlist of The Orient Global Freedom to Create Prize
26 October 2009
Freemuse: Meet Freemuse at WOMEX - the annual World Music Expo
On 29 October 2009, Freemuse organises a network-meeting at Womex - the world's largest trade fair and expo for world music
26 October 2009
Denmark: Controversy over Jamaican reggae star's concert
City council politicians and a Copenhagen music venue threatened to cancel a concert with reggae star Sizzla after a newspaper had quoted anti-gay viewpoints
21 October 2009
Tunisia: Freemuse receives international award
The International Music Council awarded Freemuse the 'IMC Inaugural Musical Rights Award' for its "courageous global programme advocating freedom of musical expression"
19 October 2009
Ethiopia: Unanswered question of censorshiip at Teddy Afro's first concert
Was it self-censorship or restrictions that held Teddy Afro back from playing his two most controversial songs at his triumphant 'back-in-freedom concert'?
14 October 2009
Cameroon: International lawyers support imprisoned singer Lapiro
Freedom Now, a US based lawyers' advocacy organisation, is now officially monitoring singer Lapiro de Mbanga's case
07 October 2009
India: Political party promises to ban Western music
The Bharatiya Janata Party in the Indian state Haryana has promised voters that the party will ban Western music if it comes to power
05 October 2009
USA: City council discusses ban on hip-hop
A councilman in Fort Myers, Florida, is seeking to have hip-hop music banned at the Harborside Events Center and other venues in Fort Myers
05 October 2009
Somalia: Rule no 1: "Music should not be aired"
On 15 September 2009, the newly appointed information officer in Belet-Hawo town published a list of edicts the Al-Shabaab want to see implemented in the media
05 October 2009
China: Ministry makes new push to control online music
The Chinese ministry of culture implements new censorship rules for online music providers by 1 January 2010 to ensure that lyrics are "acceptable"
05 October 2009
Cuba: Rapper momentarily taken into custody
Rapper El Aldeano of the popular Cuban rap group Los Aldeanos was detained at 11:00 am on 28 September 2009. He was released later the same day
30 September 2009
UK: Somali festival in London focuses on arts censorship
This year's Somali Week Festival in London, held on 23-31 October 2009, will focus on censorship of art and artists
23 September 2009
Guyana: Ban liftet on 'gangsta' dancehall star
Several countries in the Carribean have barred the Jamaican dancehall artist Mavado citing that his lyrics advocate violence. In Guyana, the goverment lifted the ban
23 September 2009
Turkey: Pop star both condemned and praised for political statement
A statement in favour of a new plan on how the Turkish government should approach the Kurdish issue turned fans of the popular Turkish pop diva Sezen Aksu up against her
14 September 2009
Turkey: American music video banned for 'explicit sexual content'
Justin Timberlake and Ciara's music video for the song 'Love Sex Magic' was banned in Turkey due to its explicit sexual content.
14 September 2009
Malaysia: Muslims barred from hip-hop concert
A concert in Malaysia on 25 September 2009 by the American hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas is only open to non-Muslims, by order from authorities
07 September 2009
USA / Jamaica: Buju Banton has US tour canceled by promoters
US concert promoters canceled shows by Buju Banton after protests from gay rights advocacy organisations over the singer's homophobic song lyrics
07 September 2009
Zimbabwe: No end to music censorship in Zimbabwe
Hosiah Chipanga and Raymond Majongwe speak about their recent experiences with music censorship in the "new" Zimbabwe under a coalition government.
07 September 2009
Iran / UK: 'The exile factor' in The X Factor tv show
Iranian singer Behrouz Ghaemi fled Iran to pursue his singing dream in the UK. On 29 August 2009 he became famous overnight in a tv-show watched by 11.8 million viewers
07 September 2009
Colombia: Young hip-hop singer killed
The 20-year-old singer Pacheco of the hip-hop group C4 was shot by gunmen in August 2009
01 September 2009
Turkey: Artists make joint statement and petition against oppression
Berna Yılmaz and Ferhat T
01 September 2009
Germany: Network to study law, culture and censorship
In August 2009, an international graduate network in the interdisciplinary study of law and culture was launched in Germany
26 August 2009
Pakistan: Marked for death by the Taliban
Interview with an exiled Pakistani singer in the US who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for the safety of his family at home in Pakistan
24 August 2009
Russia: Punk fans and bands claim to be persecuted and silenced
Is the Russian punk band PTVP censored from radio and tv because of their anti-government stance, or simply because they play aggressive punk music?
24 August 2009
Somalia: Religious groups stop music at weddings with violence
Somalia experiences an on-going struggle over the right to listen to music and dance to it. These are the latest two reports in international media
24 August 2009
Russia: 'Government fights outspoken musicians, says rock singer
Music censorship exists in full glory in Russia, the lead singer of the Russian rock group Televizor, Mikhail Borzykin, told
24 August 2009
Ferhat Tun
Video interview with singer and musician Ferhat Tun
19 August 2009
Ethiopia: Teddy Afro free at last
On 13 August 2009, the Ethiopian singer Teddy Afro was finally released from prison. Freemuse caught up with him the following day where he gave this short interview
18 August 2009
Nakaaya Sumari
Video interview with Nakaaya Sumari - a popular Tanzanian singer - about music censorship and the role of music as a tool for communication
12 August 2009
Pakistan: Lahore feels under siege
Pakistan's performing artists face deadly occupational hazards. Lahore's music festival, and theatres across the city are bombed in co-ordinated overnight raids
31 July 2009
Nepal: Goverment ban on songs that 'promote civil war'
Nepal Television has banned a music video based on Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai on the charge that the song 'encourages civil war'
31 July 2009
Poland: Religious groups protest against Madanna-concert
15 August 2009 the American superstar Madonna is to perform in Warsaw but this has upset religious groups because it is the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary
29 July 2009
Saudi Arabia: Religious conservatives create setback for Saudi musicians
Saudi Arabia is seeing several reversals for proponents of freer access to film and music, reported AFP, Reuters and BBC News on 19 July 2009
27 July 2009
Iraq: Conductor in delicate negotiations with religious leaders
The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra has negotiated performances in 2010 in the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, where conservative religious values dominate
23 July 2009
Iraq: First rap concerts in Baghdad
"They say that this is something that is banned by religion. But I do what I want to do," an Iraqi rapper states in a report from one of Baghdad's first rap concerts
20 July 2009
France: Censorship row over festival's ban on rapper
When the rapper Orelsan was taken off the poster of a major French music festival in the last minute, he became centre of a national debate over censorship
20 July 2009
Iran: Five-year prison sentence for performance of Koranic verses
The Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo has been sentenced - in absentia - to five years in prison for disrespecting religious sanctities
17 July 2009
Iran: Music gives hope
Austin Dacey's article about the underground music scene and the system of music censorship in Iran, based on an interview with the rock band Kiosk
17 July 2009
Turkey: Singer Ferhat Tun
Police brutality against the Kurdish-Turkish singer Ferhat Tun
14 July 2009
Cameroon: Lapiro is the one who has to pay for all
In this complicated case, there are problems of leadership, tribalism and politics. Lapiro de Mbanga's case is a political persecution in disguise, writes journalist Jen Bell
09 July 2009
Pakistan: 800 music shops bombed over three years
"No doubt this is the most critical phase in the history of our province," writes journalist Shaheen Buneri about the situation for artists in north-western Pakistan
09 July 2009
Nigeria: Proceedings against composer of banned song
The singer Ala was arrested in Kano on 4 July 2009 for his song 'Hasbunallahu' which was banned by a mobile court judge linked to the Kano State Censorship Board
09 July 2009
Cameroon: Interview with Lapiro de Mbanga
"This is the trial of the voiceless," said singer Lapiro de Mbanga when he was interviewed just a few hours before a court hearing on 24 June 2009 in Douala, Cameroon
03 July 2009
Cameroon: Interview with human rights advocate about Lapiro's case
"This was an unfair trial. Now there must be lobbying actions," said Dr Hilaire Kamga is president of NHRC, New Human Rights Cameroon, about Lapiro's court case
03 July 2009
Cameroon: Lapiro's case taken to Supreme Court of Appeal
"We are full of hope", said Lapiro de Mbanga's lawyer, Me Augustin Mbami, in an interview about which procedures are to be undertaken next, after losing the Appeal Court
02 July 2009
Cameroon: Singer Lapiro de Mbanga loses appeal court
Cameroon power system strikes back at the popular singer Lapiro de Mbanga. It seems obvious that he has not got a fair trial, says Freemuse programme officer
25 June 2009
Cameroon: New verdict, same prison sentence to Lapiro
Lapiro de Mbanga's sentence of three years imprisonment and the fine of FCFA 280 millions was confirmed at a court hearing on 24 June 2009 in Douala, reported Jen Bell
25 June 2009
Pakistan: 'Musicians are in panic', says popular singer
Musicians, singers, and other art performers are in panic. We are all at risk, Zeek Afridi, an up-and-coming singer fromm Peshawar, told correspondents of Radio Liberty
23 June 2009
Iran: Musicians respond to the crisis
Despite a general ban, rock music has become one of the most vibrant forces for critiquing the various ills of Iranian society, writes music researcher Mark LeVine
23 June 2009
Afghanistan and Pakistan: Understanding the Taliban's campaign against music
Ethnomusicologist John Baily and Freemuse executive director Marie Korpe speak about the Taliban's campaign against music and musicians in Afghanistan and Pakistan
23 June 2009
Newsletter no. 2 / 2009
Freemuse Newsletter no. 2 / 2009
18 June 2009
Freemuse: Presentation in one of the most deadly places for musicians
At one of Latin America's biggest music festivals, Ollinkan in Mexico, Freemuse gave a 40 minutes powerpoint presentation
18 June 2009
Nigeria: 11 songs banned by Kano State Censorship Board 

A chief magistrate in Kano has banned listening, sale and circulation of 11 Hausa songs, described as obscene, confrontational and immoral
18 June 2009
Senegal: Popular singer boycotted and threatened by religous groups
A documentary film shows the controversy over Youssou N'Dour's 2004-album 'Egypt' which became subject of a boycott because of its mix of music and Islam
17 June 2009
Freemuse: Young Arab leaders discussed music censorship
Music censorship in the Middle East and North Africa was in focus at a Stockholm seminar on 12 June 2009, rounding up a 'Young Leaders' training programme
17 June 2009
Visa report highlighted but serious problems remain
While visa issues continue to create controversy, the Freemuse white paper 'Visa / the discordant note' plays an essential role in various international fora
17 June 2009
UK: Visa system forces Russian ballet company to cancel shows
A Russian ballet company has been forced to cancel its 2009 programme after failing to obtain UK visas for its dancers in time
17 June 2009
UK: New visa rules threaten dozens of concerts and festivals
A report reveals that more than 20 major arts events have been cancelled or badly affected by new UK visa regulations
17 June 2009
Protest petition: African artist's tour cancelled due to blocked visas
A petition 'against EU visa discrimination of musicians' was started after the European tour of Zimbabwean Mokoomba was forced to be cancelled
17 June 2009
Freemuse: Artists' voices embarrassingly missing at major conference
500 freedom of expression activists met in Norway in early June 2009 - but the artists' voices were missing
17 June 2009
Zimbabwe: Duo charged of insulting the president: one year in hiding
One year ago, two Zimbabwean musicians were charged of singing 'insulting' songs. Their lawyer and producer say the country is not yet safe for the duo to come out of hiding
10 June 2009
Zimbabwe: Radio ban on singer for attacking government officials
The music of 56-year-old Sungura musician Hosiah Chipanga has been banned on national radio, Radio Zimbabwe, wrote the newspaper ZimDaily on 7 June 2009.
10 June 2009
Nigeria: Kuti's nightclub in Lagos closed by authorities
Presumably angered by the activism of the Femi Kuti, authorities have closed the legendary nightclub and concert hall in Lagos he runs together with his family
10 June 2009
Chile: Ex-soldier confessed to shooting singer Victor Jara
On 26 May 2009 a former army conscript, Jos
08 June 2009
Iran: Rock concert raided, 104 arrested
A concert in Shiraz was raided by an Islamist militia, and 104 people arrested, on the grounds of being 'immoral', reported Jam-e Jam newspaper on 27 May 2009
08 June 2009
Iran: Film about Iranian music censorship awarded, musicians exiled
The Iranian film 'No One Knows About Persian Cats' was awarded at Cannes Film Festival. But two of the musicians which it features now must go in exile
27 May 2009
Cameroon: Singer Mbanga - Flurry in the court room
Singer Lapiro found himself leaving the court's witness box on 13 and 15 May 2009 without a verdict. The adjournments of his case appear to be never-ending
25 May 2009
Jamaica / Denmark: University thesis on dancehall reggae and homophobia
A university thesis which analyses Jamaican music culture in a postcolonial context was published in Danish language in March 2009.
20 May 2009
Iran: Rock band tells its story of censorship and imprisonment
The Iranian rock band Font, winner of Britain's first-ever Immigrant Song Contest, were imprisoned in August 2007 merely for performing their style of music.
18 May 2009
Iran: Film about music censorship shown on Cannes Film Festival
Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi launches a two-hour film about music censorship in Iran which features banned musicians and singers
15 May 2009
UK / Israel: Cancellation of show causes censorship row
A London-performance of a group of 19-year-old Israeli soldiers turned singers was cancelled because the owners of the theatre hall claimed it was 'political'
04 May 2009
Turkey: Yet another Kurdish song cleared in court
On 21 March 2009, a broadcasting editor of a local radio station D
29 April 2009
Grenada: Government rejects popular Jamaican artist
The government of Grenada has denied performance work permits to popular Jamaican Dancehall artist Vybz Kartel and his band.
28 April 2009
Pakistan: Singer shot dead by her brothers
The popular Pashto singer Shamim Aiman Udas was murdered on 26 April 2009. According to her husband, she was killed by her own brothers
28 April 2009
Pakistan: Four men shaved as punishment for listening to music
In Buner district a young man told that Taliban militants had shaved the heads and moustaches of him and three friends for listening to music in the evening of 25 April 2009
28 April 2009
Pakistan: High Court imposes ban on 'immoral songs'
On 27 April 2009 the Lahore High Court imposed a ban on songs by two Lahore singers, deeming them 'indecent' and 'against the values of a Muslim society'
28 April 2009
Indonesia: Religious group protests against new Buddha Bar in Jakarta
The hip French lounge chain Buddha Bar is under pressure to close its only Asian branch, a club in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, amid protests by Buddhists
28 April 2009
Pakistan: 'Taliban have hijacked Islam', says Freemuse ambassador
In an article published by Washington Post, Freemuse ambassador and singer Salman Ahmad and filmmaker Karam Pasha criticise the Taliban of hijacking Islam in Pakistan
28 April 2009
Newsletter no. 1 / 2009
Freemuse Newsletter no. 1 / 2009
23 April 2009
Pakistan: Music has died in the Swat valley
Musical expressions are completely banned and ruthlessly discouraged in the newly founded Taliban state of Swat in north-western part of Pakistan
23 April 2009
Sweden: Eurovision Song Contest winner creates controversy
In Sweden the country's mezzo soprano winner is claimed to be 'unfitting' for mainstream radio formats
23 April 2009
Cameroun: Singer Mbanga faces endless hearings
False evidence, delays and rumors appear to play an essential role in keeping the popular singer Lapiro de Mbanga in prison
23 April 2009
Cambodia: Ministry outlaws obscene songs
The Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has outlawed all songs with 'rude or obscene meanings' in an attempt to reduce the number of rapes and sex crimes
15 April 2009
China: Western music industry accepts Chinese censorship
Music banned by the Chinese authorities will not be available at a new free Internet music download service launched earlier this week by Google Inc. and major music companies
15 April 2009
Palestine: Palestinian youth orchestra disbanded
Palestinian authorities has disbanded a youth orchestra and barred its Arab conductor, Wafa Younes, from a West Bank refugee camp
15 April 2009
USA: American pop singer pressured to rerecord song
When American pop singer Britney Spears' hit song 'If U Seek Amy' risked censorship on radio stations because of a double entendre in the chorus, she rerecorded the song
15 April 2009
Afghanistan: Afghan idol: 'My life is under threat'
Lima Sahar charmed her way into the third spot of the 2008 version of the wildly popular 'Afghan Star' competition. Now in exile, she fears for her life
01 April 2009
Pakistan: University's musicology department threatened by student's organisation
The musicology department at Punjab University in Lahore has moved out of the university after a religious student group threatened with 'dire consequences'
25 March 2009
Afghanistan: Music programmes lead to arrest
0n 24 March 2009, Afghanistan's attorney general office arrested the manager of Amroz TV because of the station's broacast of certain music programmes
25 March 2009
USA: Censored musicians spoke at Duke University
In its human rights series, Duke University in North Carolina, USA, presented two censored musicians and highlighted freedom of musical expression
25 March 2009
Czech Republic: Bizarre attack on Scottish rock band Primal Scream
Scottish rock band Primal Scream has been accused for "promoting fascism" by the Czech Radio Council in regard to the song 'Swastika Eyes'
25 March 2009
Pakistan/USA: Salman Ahmad: Obama should listen to Pakistani artists
As the Taliban silence music in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, Freemuse ambassador Salman Ahmad denounces the Pakistani peace accord with the Taliban
13 March 2009
Georgia: Song 'too political' for Eurovision Song contest
Georgia has pulled out of the Eurovision Song Contest after organisers banned the country's song for 'mocking' the Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin
13 March 2009
Freemuse Award 2009: video report and interview from Stockholm
Video interview with Tao Rodriquez-Seeger who received the Freemuse Award on his grandfather's behalf on 3 March 2009
07 March 2009
Tao Rodriquez-Seeger
Video interview with singer and musician Tao Rodr
07 March 2009
How Music Freedom Day 2009 was observed in Stockholm
Two seminars and concert in Stockholm on 3 March 2009 became a beautiful, yet serious and powerful manifestation for musicians' human rights
04 March 2009
Iran: 13 musicians arrested in Isfahan
Brigadier general Mer-Abbas Sofivand told a daily newspaper that 13 musicians have been arrested, and 90 CDs seized by police in Isfahan
02 March 2009
Turkey: Acquitted in court case over broadcasting a Kurdish song
A Turkish court has cleared the Kurdish singer Şivan Perwer's song 'Mihemedo' of an accusation of 'inciting hatred and hostility'
02 March 2009
Freemuse Award 2009
Singer, songwriter, activist, environmentalist, and peace advocate Pete Seeger receives the Freemuse Award 2009
26 February 2009
Pakistan: Harmonium player Anwar Gul murdered by militants
On 15 December 2008, a group of musicians were attacked by armed men. Two days later at a hospital in Peshawar, the harmonium player Anwar Gul died from his wounds
16 February 2009
Somalia: Music suppressor elected as president
The Islamist cleric who was elected as Somalia's new president on 31 January 2009 has a long history of silencing musical expression in Somalia, writes Wa'ays
11 February 2009
Cameroun: Musician Lapiro de Mbanga faces new trial
Musician Lapiro de Mbanga faces a new trial on 20 March 2009 because of accusations that a song of his led to the destruction of a banana plantation
11 February 2009
Sardar Yousafzai
Audio interview with the popular Pashtun singer Sardar Yousafzai who on 15 December 2008 was attacked by unidentified militants
04 February 2009
China / Tibet: Singer and music shop owner in Lhasa detained by police
Tenzin, a singer from Amdo who owns a music shop in Lhasa, has been detained by the police and accused of downloading 'illegal music', reported High Peaks Pure Earth
04 February 2009
Gulzar Alam
Audio interview with the popular Pashtun singer Gulzar Alam who escaped an attack on his life on 16 October 2008
26 January 2009
Zimbabwe: Song banned for allegedly criticising ruling party
A song composed by Tongai Moyo, a popular Zimbabwean musician, has reportedly been denied air play by the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, ZBC
26 January 2009
Sweden: Minister of Migration welcomes visa white paper
"The 'white paper' points its fingers at very essential problems," said Tobias Billstr
21 January 2009
Pakistan: Taliban kill dancer in Swat valley
Shabana, one of Pakistan's celebrated dancers, was shot dead on 2 January 2009 after defying the Taliban's ban on music and dance
15 January 2009
Myanmar/Burma: Hip-hop artist released from prison
On 6 January 2009, the Burmese military junta authorities released popular hip-hop singer Yan Yan Chan, who was arrested in April 2008
12 January 2009
Turkey: Popular singer acquitted of anti-military remarks
Singer and tv host B
06 January 2009
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