News 2011

Senegal: Freedom of speech record under fire
Senegal's enviable freedom of expression is under threat. Musicians are being harassed and recieve death threats for expressing their opinions through their music.
22 December 2011
Morocco: Call for immediate release of rapper
Several web sites has published a call for immediate release of rapper and pro-democracy activist Mouad 'L7a9d' (El Haked) Belghouate
22 December 2011
Turkey: Ferhat Tun
Kurdish singer Ferhat Tun
16 December 2011
Morocco: Surprise hearing of Mouad El Haked
After being held in custody for three months, the court in Casablanca opened the case of El Haked on 6 December 2011 - without informing his lawyers or his family
16 December 2011
Mauritania: Rap artist injured by grenade
Rap artist Abou Fall, aka Abou Ngabou, was injured by a grenade during a protest march.
16 December 2011
Bahrain: Imprisoned for playing revolutionary songs in her car
Fadhila Al Mubarak has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for participating in peaceful protests and for playing a revolutionary CD in her car.
15 December 2011
Indonesia: Punk concert raided by the police
Police detained 65 punk fans attending a charity concert in the Aceh province. The teenagers had their heads shaven, and were thrown into pools of water for "spiritual cleansing".
15 December 2011
Morocco: El Haked is unlawfully kept in detention
Moroccan rapper El Haked is still kept in detention, waiting for the judge to set a date for his trial
05 December 2011
Newsletter no. 3 / 2011
Freemuse Newsletter no. 3 / 2011
25 November 2011
Afghanistan: Freemuse workshop in Kabul
At a workshop in Kabul participants from all over the country identified some of the key problems that make life difficult for Afghan musicians and composers.
25 November 2011
Austin Dacey, USA: Expanding the boundaries
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
25 November 2011
Ramy Essam
Video interview with singer and composer Ramy Essam from Egypt
24 November 2011
Belarus: Concerts cancelled with short notice
A concert with Zmicier Vajcjushkevych at a caf
24 November 2011
Iraq: Musician shot dead in 2007, remembered on Day to End Impunity
Each day from 1 until 23 November 2011, IFEX highlighted a story of a journalist, writer, musician, artist or free expression advocate who was killed on that day
23 November 2011
Iran: Singer Arya Aramnejad arrested again
On 8 November 2011 singer Arya Aramnejad was arrested, beaten and taken to solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry's detention centere in Sari
23 November 2011
Freemuse Award 2011: Ramy Essam honoured in Stockholm
On 21 November 2011 the Egyptian singer Ramy Essam received the Freemuse Award 2011 at a ceremony in S
21 November 2011
Fuat Talay
Turkish musician Fuat Talay explains (in Danish language) about his personal experiences with music censorship in Turkey which led to his imprisonment and exile
21 November 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi congratulates Freedom to Create Prize winner
A specially recorded congratulatory message for Win Maw from Burma's pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi
20 November 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Win Maw receives Freedom to Create Imprisoned Artist Prize
Burma's famous musician and human rights activist Win Maw received the 2011 Freedom to Create Imprisoned Artist Prize in absentia
19 November 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Awareness concert and award nomination for imprisoned singer
Concert event on 26 November 2011 in Thailand for Win Maw, imprisoned in Burma since 2008, and now shortlisted for the Freedom to Create Prize
16 November 2011
Pakistan: Taliban campaign against music still in full swing
Militants bombed or torched more than a dozen music shops in the second week of November 2011 in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province and North Waziristan
16 November 2011
China / Tibet: How singers sidestep an oppressive law
In a review of a concert by three Tibetan musicians performing in London, Samuel Ivor describes how hidden messages are conveyed in the Tibetan folk music
15 November 2011
Pakistan: Freemuse network will document attacks on musicians
At a two day workshop held in Islamabad 12-13 November 2011 a Pakistani network was set up in support of musicians and composers at risk
15 November 2011
New Zealand: Controversial American hip-hop group's concert cancelled
The Big Day Out festival removed the American rap group Odd Future from the festival's Auckland lineup due to objections from locals over the group's homophobic lyrics
15 November 2011
Norway: Rap duo threatened with violence
The rap duo Prayaz from the Norwegian capital Oslo sing about violence against women, and they are themselves threatened with violence because of that, reported NRK
14 November 2011
Uzbekistan: Official ban on use of religious themes in art
The Uzbek national security service (SNB) has issued a strict warning to the country's leading artists against using religious themes in their work
14 November 2011
Malawi: Broadcaster bans two songs for 'un-Malawian words'
Because of erotic lyrics with "sensitive and un-Malawian words", Malawi Broadcasting Corporation has banned a Zambian and a Nigerian hit song
14 November 2011
Egypt: 'The Voice of the Street' in Cairo could not be silenced
Despite censorship and harassment from the Egyptian military regime, the biggest ever line up of Arabic rappers made Friday 4 November 2011 'a night to remember' in Cairo
10 November 2011
Israel: Women sing out in musical protest against orthodox prohibition
In response to the Jewish orthodox prohibition against women singers, street protesters will stand in public and sing, to make their voices heard
09 November 2011
Belarus: Prosecutor wants singer prosecuted for insulting the president
Singer Sergej Michalok is reportedly going to be sued by a Belarusian prosecutor for his remarks against president Alyaksandr Lukashenka
07 November 2011
Comrade Fatso
Video interview with hip-hop artist and rapper Comrade Fatso from Zimbabwe
03 November 2011
El G
Video interview with hip-hop artist and musician El General from Tunisia
03 November 2011
Pakistan: Under the censorship radar, anti-establishment songs flourish
Using humour and satire, song writers increasingly enjoy a new sense of openness and freedom of speech in Pakistan nowadays, reported Times of India
02 November 2011
Sweden: The conference 'Right! Freedom of Music & Speech'
Questions about censorship and repression are investigated at the international conference 'Right! Freedom of Music & Speech' held at S
02 November 2011
Spain: Sixth festival against censorship in northern Spain
Tuareg musicians, exiled Sierra Leonean musicians, and many more, are heading for Bilbao in Spain to attend the annual Festival against Censorship, 'Zentsura At!'
01 November 2011
Iraq: Bomb explosion at a music store kills 32
Two bomb attacks at a music store in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad killed 32 people on 27 October 2011
01 November 2011
Iraq: Radio station closed for playing music "contrary to local morality"
The radio station Al-Sada has come under severe pressure. On 26 October 2011, a provincial council decided to close the station because its music was "contrary to local morality"
01 November 2011
Iran: Musicians are losing hope
Members of the Iranian electronic rock band The Casualty Process spoke in the US about being censored and suppressed by Iranian religious authorities
01 November 2011
Egypt: Ramy Essam's concert at Cairo University abrubtly closed
On 26 October 2011, Ramy Essam's concert at Cairo University was abrubtly stopped by the Dean of the university.
27 October 2011
Bahrain: Freemuse appeal: Stop persecution of artists
In a letter to the Bahraini Minister of Culture, Freemuse has protested against the sacking of cultural workers and artists following the popular uprisings in the country in March 2011
26 October 2011
Turkey: Campaign for Kurdish singer and activist Gazin (Raziye Kızıl)
A petition addressed to the Turkish Prime Minister to free Gazin who was sentenced to one year in prison for having sung two Kurdish songs
26 October 2011
Bahrain: Open letter calls for support to Bahraini artists
A group of Bahraini artists and intellectuals have published an open letter to UNESCO Artist for Peace Missa Johnouchi from Japan, who performed in Bahrain
26 October 2011
Syria: 35 top artists reported to have left the country
Within just three months, 35 artists from the first row of stars in Syria have decided to move to recidences outside of the country, reported
26 October 2011
Book by John Street: 'Music and Politics'
This is the first book to examine systematically music's political power. A guide to how musicians make politics and politicians manipulate music
26 October 2011
Turkey: Acquitted from 12 years' prison charge for political music album
Turkish rock musician Yaşar Kurt's dissident song 'Korku', released in the late 1990s, resulted in his trial for treason where he was acquitted from a 12 years' prison sentence
25 October 2011
Freemuse Award 2011
Egyptian singer Ramy Essam who provided the soundtrack for the Arab Spring at Tahrir Square will receive the Freemuse Award 2011 at a ceremony in Sweden
25 October 2011
Nepal: Police disrupts Tibetan culture show
Tibetans in Nepal are facing increased restrictions on cultural performances. Recently a programme by a Kathmandu-based group was broken up by the Nepalese police
24 October 2011
Turkey: 10 months in prison for chanting slogans at a concert
A 10 months sentence to three young men who had been chanting slogans at a Grup Yorum concert in Dersim in 2007 was confirmed by Supreme Court's 9th Office
18 October 2011
Turkey: One year in prison for singing two Kurdish folk songs
Raziye Kızıl (Gazin) was sentenced to one year in prison for having sung two Kurdish songs and is also faced with an extra five-year prison threat
18 October 2011
Jamaica/Antigua: Arrest of reggae musician sparks censorship debate
The arrest of dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, who is charged with murder, has sparked a debate over whether restrictions should be placed on of music with violent content
12 October 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Authorities release political detainees in an amnesty
The popular satirist Zarganar is among dozens of political prisoners who have been released on 12 October 2011 as part of a wider amnesty. No news yet about Win Maw
12 October 2011
China: Beijing's censors cancel opera's world premiere
A new opera about Sun Yat-sen, China's first president, was canceled shortly before its scheduled opening in Beijing because its music allegedly displeased the authorities
12 October 2011
China / Tibet: Young Tibetan singer arrested by Chinese authorities
The singer Hortsang Lhalung Tso is reported to have been detained by Chinese authorities in Tsoe-town of Sangchu county in the Amdho region of eastern Tibet
11 October 2011
Libya: Musicians for the first time on national radio
Three weeks earlier, guitarist Fuad Ramadan could have been arrested for performing most of his songs in public. Now he is for the first time invited to perform on national radio
11 October 2011
United Kingdom: Ban on abusive chants by football fans
The British football club Tottenham Hotspur has vowed to ban fans guilty of offensive or abusive chanting. The Scottish government is considering a law about it
05 October 2011
Turkey: Convicted for having lyrics by Grup Yorum on computer
On 22 September 2011 union official Berivan Doğan was convicted to ten months imprisonment for having the lyrics of Grup Yorum's songs on her computer
05 October 2011
United Kingdom: Four musicians suspended over Israel-Palestine row
In September 2011, four members of the London Philarmonic Orchestra were suspended for nine months after calling to cancel a concert with the Israel Philarmonic Orchestra
05 October 2011
Malaysia: Political music video banned
Malaysia's Minister of Culture has deemed the video for the song 'Undilah' unsuitable for broadcast because it has contents which 'offends certain segments of society'
04 October 2011
Germany: Norwegian band censored by German publisher
When the Norwegian band Honningbarna wanted to release their debut album in Germany they were told by their publisher to leave the song 'Free Palestine' out
03 October 2011
Cuba: Singer Pablo Milan
Songs of the famous Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milan
03 October 2011
Cuba: Two hip-hop musicians arrested
Julito and El Primario, two Cuban hip-hop musicians who started the label Sin Censura Records (Without Censorship Records), were arrested at an anti-government protest
03 October 2011
United Kingdom: Music by torture survivors express protest, love and hope
Stone Flowers, a British song-writing and performing project with 21 refugees who are also torture survivors - launched their debut album on 25 September 2011
03 October 2011
Guyana: Singer banned by National Broadcasting Association
The Guyana National Broadcasting Association announced on 21 September 2011 that the Jamaican dancehall singer Vybz Kartel has been banned from public airwaves
27 September 2011
US visa issues: Two orchestras forced to cancel their concerts
An American festival had to cancel two shows and two workshops by international artists due to visa problems and alleged embassy discrimination
26 September 2011
Syria: Ibrahim Kashoush - Silencing the singer
A compilation of articles and excerpts revealing aspects of the late singer Ibrahim Kashoush's life, and how his body was found.
21 September 2011
Pakistan: Bomb blast destroys music and video market in Peshawar
Six people were killed and over 37 injured in a bomb explosion on 19 September 2011 that targeted a music and video CD market in Peshawar
21 September 2011
China: 'Super Girl' music tv-show suspended by government censors
One of China's most popular televised talent shows, 'Super Girl' has been put under yearlong suspension by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television
21 September 2011
USA: Controversy over album cover with photo of World Trade Center attack
The cover of Steve Reich's new album 'WTC 9/11' stirred up such controversy that he asked the publishing company, Nonesuch, to withdraw the image. Nonesuch complied
15 September 2011
Afghanistan: First rock music festival
Afghanistan's first rock music festival, 'Sound Central - The Central Asian Modern Music Festival' is an advocacy event for freedom of expression at a critical time.
14 September 2011
Pakistan: Broad instability spelled an end to art in Swat Valley
World Policy Institute has published an in-depth article about the development for artists in Swat Valley since 2007, written by Shaheen Buneri
14 September 2011
Morocco: Rapper allegedly set up and arrested
24-year-old rapper El Haked (real name: Mouad Belghouat) was set up by authorities and then arrested, wrote the journalist and political activist Ghassan Wa
13 September 2011
South Africa: Anti-apartheid song declared 'hate speech'
On 12 September 2011, South Africa's high court banned the ruling ANC party from singing the old anti-apartheid song 'Shoot the Boer'
13 September 2011
Turkey: Prisoners punished with visitor-ban for singing a folk song
Berna Yılmaz and Ferhat T
12 September 2011
Angola: Two rappers among group of protestors arrested
Two rappers are among 25 youth activists who were put in detention for having called for democratic and economic reforms in anti-government protests on 3 September 2011
07 September 2011
Kazakhstan: Rapper forced to cancel concert for striking workers
Takezhan Oteghaliev, famous rapper in Kazakhstan, was pressured into canceling a concert in support of striking oil workers in western Kazakhstan
05 September 2011
D.R. Congo: Censorship commission's music ban leads to arrest
A tv programme director was arrested for having broadcasted an allegedly 'immoral' music video with the Congolese band Za
05 September 2011
Canada: Ban lifted on Dire Straits' song 'Money For Nothing'
The ban on the 25-year-old song 'Money for Nothing' has been lifted by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, and Canadian radio stations can resume playing the song
02 September 2011
Iran: New music censorship law
Mohammad Mirzamani, the General Director of the Music Office in the Ministry of Culture in Tehran, told that a new music censorship law is being prepared by the ministry
02 September 2011
USA: College bans national anthem because of too violent lyrics
A 1,000-student college in Indiana State has banned 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at all sporting events because the national anthem's lyrics are too violent and glorifying war
31 August 2011
UK: Ban on steelbands in Leeds Carnival parade due to unrest
Out of "fear it may cause trouble", traditional Caribbean steelband music has been banned from the 44th Leeds West Indian Carnival parade, reported Yorkshire Evening Post
29 August 2011
China: 100 songs on culture ministry's internet blacklist
100 songs that harm 'national cultural security' have been placed on an internet blacklist by China's culture ministry, reported BBC News on 24 August 2011
29 August 2011
Pakistan: Threats from the Taliban sends sarod player into exile
Asad Qazalbash, Pakistan's only accomplished sarod player, has left the country due to a declaration by the Pakistani Taliban that music is un-Islamic
22 August 2011
Iran: How they rocked in Tehran before the revolution
On the occassion of two new albums with music of Kourosh and Googoosh, Jessica Hundley wrote an article for Los Angeles Times about music in Iran before the revolution
22 August 2011
Mozambique: Hip-hop artist Azagaia arrested
On 30 July 2011, rapper and musician Azagaia was arrested by the Police of Criminal Investigation. The arrest took place a few hours before a concert
18 August 2011
Cameroon: BBC radio interview with singer Joe la Conscience
"I am the most banned artist in Cameroon today. The radios are afraid to play my music," Joe la Consience told BBC in August 2011.
17 August 2011
USA: 'Footloose' - dance film about a town where rock music is banned
The story of 'Footloose' follows the young dance maniac Ren McCormack, a boy who comes to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned
17 August 2011
Denmark: iTunes 'censorship story' became news breaker for Danish pop band
A song entitled 'Dum' ('Dumb') by the Danish pop band Superspark was renamed 'D*m' when it was released on 15 August 2011 in Apple's online music store iTunes
17 August 2011
Algeria: Tunesian singer expelled and banned by Algerian authorities
"After the two concerts in Algiers and Bejaia, the Algerian authorities have expelled me and banned me from reentering Algerian territory," wrote the singer Bendir Man
15 August 2011
Afghanistan: They play rock music in Afghanistan - and get away with it
The multinational rock trio White City from Kabul explains what it involves to play rock music in today's Afghanistan
15 August 2011
Egypt: State broadcaster allegedly banned songs of Hany Shaker
Two of the famous Egyptian singer Hany Shaker's latest songs allegedly have been banned from broadcasting by the country's public service radio and tv channels
15 August 2011
China: Controversial rap song banned and deleted from websites
On 29 May 2011 a rap song dedicated to a Mongolian herder who was brutally killed was banned and removed from all Chinese Internet sites immediately after it was posted
10 August 2011
Egypt: BBC radio interview with singer Ramy Essam
Listen to BBC's interview with Ramy Essam, the Egyptian singer-songwriter who became famous for turning protesters chants into catchy songs in January 2011
10 August 2011
Iran: Government bans famous Ramadan singer
The 70-year-old singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian's beloved Ramadan song 'Rabbana' is banned by the Iranian authorities, reported BBC's Karen Zarindast from Iran
08 August 2011
Sweden: Death threats to DJ for Facebook debate about gender issues
A seemingly uncontroversial post on the Facebook profile of the night club Slakthuset resulted in death threats against 21-year-old DJ Tova Wellton
08 August 2011
Russia: Minister to censor online music of the youth
Russia's Interior Minister wants to stop young people from listening to music which, according to the minister, undermines traditional values and leads to cultural decay
08 August 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Zayar Thaw barred from singing at a live concert
Zayar Thaw, a famous hip hop singer, was barred by Mingla Taung Nyunt township authorities from singing at a live concert in Rangoon, reported The Irrawaddy
08 August 2011
Pakistan: The Taliban's war on music has done lasting damage
It will take a long time for Swat's musical culture to recover from the Taliban's crackdown on music, reported Shaheen Buneri from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
08 August 2011
Syria: Parents beaten because of their son's music
Pianist Malek Jandali blamed his work for what he said was an attack by Syrian government security forces on his parents on 28 July 2011
03 August 2011
Senegal: Rapper arrested for criticising the president
On 25 July 2011 Senegal's police arrested the rapper Thiat to question him about his criticising of President Abdoulaye Wade. He was released on 26 July.
02 August 2011
Lebanon: Brief arrest of singer Zeid Hamdan caused uproar
The arrest of the singer and composer Zeid Hamdan for defamation over a song he wrote in 2008 about the president Michel Sleiman, caused 'Internet shock waves'
02 August 2011
UK / Scotland: Offensive football songs criminalised
Scottish football fans could be imprisoned for up to six years for singing offensive songs if an 'Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill' is passed in the Scottish Parliament
01 August 2011
UK: Public letter calls for a new visa system for leading performers
A campaign to remove short-term visiting artists from the unnecessary bureaucracy nears a policy breakthrough, according to its campaigners
01 August 2011
Algeria: Loun
On 18 July 2011, the criminal court in Tizi Ouzou finally judged the two alleged perpetrators of the assassination of Loun
01 August 2011
Palestine: Dutch street band attacked with tear gas
The Dutch street orchestra Fanfare van de Eerste Liefdesnacht was attacked with tear gas by the Israeli army, reported Palestine News Network on 29 July 2011
01 August 2011
Belarus: State radio reportedly bans politically sensitive song
State-controlled Belarusian Radio is reported to have banned a 25-year-old song titled 'Peremen' ('Change') by the rebellious Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi
29 July 2011
South Korea: In the past two years 2,607 songs have been banned
The South Korean Ministry of Gender Equality & Family has caused distress amongst fans for a series of bans they've made on songs considered 'hazardous media' to the youth
29 July 2011
Turkey: Kurdish singer's concert cut short by protesters
On 15 July 2011 at the İstanbul Jazz Festival the concert of the Kurdish singer Aynur Doğan was interrupted by shouting people in the audience, forcing her to leave the stage
25 July 2011
Turkey: Trial against the Kurdish singer Yılmaz D
The Kurdish singer Farquin (Yılmaz D
22 July 2011
Myanmar/Burma: New censorship restrictions on traditional dance troupes
In order to weed out vulgar jokes about government officials, all Burmese traditional dance troupes are required to perform a full-dress rehearsal in front of a censorship board
14 July 2011
Algeria: New trial for the murder of singer Matoub
A trial about the murder of the singer Loun
12 July 2011
Argentina: One of Latin America's most admired folk singers murdered
The 74-year-old Argentine singer and novelist Facundo Cabral was killed on 9 July 2011 in an ambush on the road while he was on the way to an airport in Guatemala
11 July 2011
Syria: Protest singer Ibrahim Kashoush had his throat cut
Grim video emerged from the Syrian city of Hama purported to show the body of singer Ibrahim Kashoush after his throat had been cut by the security forces
06 July 2011
Iran: Report about cultural censorship in Iran
This report, published by Small Media in July 2011, addresses some of the major concerns in the fields of literature, cinema, theatre and music in Iran
05 July 2011
The Nordic countries: Academic network for reseaching music censorship
Over 40 professors, university researchers and students from the Nordic countries have established a network to provide an informed knowledge about music censorship
04 July 2011
UK: Opera author refused censorship of a character's sexuality
A school and an opera house have pulled out of a 400-person opera production in the last minute as the consequence of a bitter row over a character's sexuality
04 July 2011
Newsletter no. 2 / 2011
Freemuse Newsletter no. 2 / 2011
29 June 2011
Denmark: Meeting about global network for artistic freedom of expression
International artists' organisations are invited to Copenhagen with the aim of creating a global network for the protection of artistic freedom of expression
29 June 2011
Turkey: Prisoners punished for singing political slogans
The Ankara Penal Authority Discipline Board penalized 63 prisoners in Sincan Prison for chanting slogans and singing on 1 May 2011
29 June 2011
USA: Jazz musician suspected as terrorist because of his Arabic name
An American jazz pianist's Arabic-sounding name allegedly made US officials suspect a link between his payment for a performance in Europe and possible terrorist activities
27 June 2011
Anis Dridi
Video interview with singer and musician Anis Dridi from Tunesia
22 June 2011
Mehdi R2M
Video interview with singer and musician Mehdi R2M from Tunisia
22 June 2011
Cameroon: Lapiro back in court
Singer Lapiro de Mbanga has filed a case against the Chief Medical Officer of the Douala Central Prison for having denied him access to medical attention while in prison
20 June 2011
USA: Singer discriminated by anti-discrimination group
Syrian-American musician Malek Jandali was disinvited from performing at an anti-discrimination convention because of a pro-freedom song he was due to perform
15 June 2011
Libya: Anonymity a growing trend among revolutionary singers
Since the 17 February revolution began in Benghazi, new songs by unknown, young singers are being uploaded and distributed almost daily via the Internet
15 June 2011
Abazar Hamid
Video interview with the exiled musician Abazar Hamid from Sudan who now works and performs in Cairo, Egypt
14 June 2011
Cuba: Forbids punk-rock band from touring in Europe
Authorities in Cuba forbids three members of Porno Para Ricardo from performing at the United Islands music festival in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, on 25 June 2011
10 June 2011
Turkey: Court acquitted singers charged with insulting the president
The 16 members of the Beyoğlu Troupe were sued by Prime Minister Erdoğan on the grounds of the lyrics of a song they performed. On 8 June 2011 they were acquitted
09 June 2011
Lebanon: American pop song banned by Lebanese radio
American superstar Lady Gaga - topping the music charts in 21 countries - has stirred religious controversy for being 'offensive to Christianity'
08 June 2011
Russia: Rock critic faces prison
The Russian rock critic and cultural commentator Art Troitsky is in court facing four lawsuits, including a two-year prison sentence for "criminal slander"
06 June 2011
UK / USA: 'Offending' album title covered with sticker
The British rock band Arctic Monkeys' new album is entitled 'Suck It And See' - a phrase which causes a stir in the US where major stores will cover the offending album title
06 June 2011
Niger: Playing his music he was risking his life
Members of Bombino's band were assassinated by the Niger government, and Salmou Bamaar lived with the knowledge that just by playing his music he was risking his life
01 June 2011
Algeria: Death threats did not silence rapper Solo Montana
In 2008, the young Algerian rapper Solo Montana stopped performing, left Algeria and took refuge in Canada after he had received death threats. Now he is back on stage
01 June 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Interviews with rapper Thaw after his release from prison
The Burmese rapper Zayar Thaw is 'hot news' after he was released from prison. Two exiled Burmese news agencies have published interviews with him
27 May 2011
Burkina Faso: Reggae singer banned for stirring up youth revolt
The singer and radio host Sams'K Le Jah who hosted a weekly reggae show on Ouaga FM has been denied access to the radio because of a song he wrote
25 May 2011
Mexico: Ban on 'drug ballads' in Sinaloa state
The congress of Sinaloa, one of Mexico's 31 states, has banned the performance, interpretation and reproduction of 'narcocorridos' - songs that glorify the drug trade
23 May 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Hip-hop star given amnesty after three years in prison
Zayar Thaw, a prominent hip hop artist and member of the outlawed Generation Wave youth activist group, has been released after to and a half years in prison
19 May 2011
USA/Cuba: Impossible Music Session 4 - Not appearing: Escuadr
The 'Impossible Music Session' no 4 takes place on Friday 10 June 2011 at 8:00 PM in Pfizer Auditorium in Brooklyn, New York, USA
18 May 2011
Syria: 29-year-old musician arrested
Musician Wael Adham Alkak is reported to have been arrested by Syrian authorities at the Syrian-Lebanese border, and has since then been held incommunicado
18 May 2011
Turkey: Three members of Grup Yorum taken into custody
Three members of the music band Grup Yorum were taken into custody in a security operation launched by the police in Istanbul
11 May 2011
Singer and politician Ferhat Tun
A gendarmerie commander reportedly ordered village guards to "break Ferhat Tun
11 May 2011
Sweden: Hip-hop performances cancelled because of controversial lyrics
The hip-hop group Labyrint from Uppsala was stopped from performing in V
09 May 2011
Mexico: 'Drug ballad' singer El Sapo killed in Juarez
The lead singer of a narcocorridos band, 27-year-old El Sapo (real name: Francisco Dominguez Herrera) was executed by gunmen on a parking lot on 6 May 2011
09 May 2011
Cameroon: First video interview after Lapiro's release from prison
On 8 May 2011 Freemuse recorded singer Lapiro de Mbanga's first video interview since he was released from prison in Douala on 8 April after three years imprisonment
08 May 2011
Freemuse campaign: Visa issues damage the music industry
European countries need to make visa and work permit procedures and the general access to the European market for artists more flexible, transparent and homogenous
04 May 2011
Mexico: Ban on 'drug ballads' in Chihuahua state
On 3 May 2011 the congress of Chihuahua, one of Mexico's 31 states, banned the broadcasting of 'narcocorridos' genre of music in radio and tv
04 May 2011
Syria: Danish pop singer interrogated by secret service
Mazen Ismail, a 25-year-old Danish pop singer studying Arabic in Syria, was picked up by an armed guard and interrogated by the Syrian secret service
03 May 2011
China: Rock musician arrested in airport
The Chinese rock musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou was detained for over 12 hours by police in Shanghai's airport, a Hong Kong-based rights group said
29 April 2011
UK: British singer arrested for singing 'Kung Fu Fighting'
Police in Isle of Wight arrested a singer on racism charges after a 32-year-old man allegedly had complained about the singer's performance of the song 'Kung Fu Fighting'.
29 April 2011
Middle East: Hip-hop is a soundtrack to the North African revolt
Hip-hop plays a central role in the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya. Rap songs create an important platform for communication creating moral support
20 April 2011
Sudan: Young hip-hop artist detained in 12 days and beaten
In February, a young Sudanese hip-hop artist, Ahmad, was detained for 12 days that included beatings by police, reported McClatchy Newspapers
20 April 2011
China: American folk singer agreed to Chinese censorship
The 69-year-old American folk singer Bob Dylan - famous for his songs against injustice and for civil rights - agreed to perform in China only with a heavily censored list of songs
11 April 2011
Cameroon: Singer Lapiro de Mbanga released from prison
Singer Lapiro de Mbanga was released from New Bell Prison in Douala on Friday 8 April 2011 at 2 pm after three years imprisonment under harsh conditions
08 April 2011
April 2011: Freemuse seeks IT officer for its secretariat in Copenhagen
12 hours per week. Deadline for application: 26 April 2011
08 April 2011
Pakistan: Terror campaign by religious militants against Sufi worshippers
In the sixteenth attack on Sufi shrines in two years, Taliban suicide bombers killed 49 and injured 93 Sufi devotees while they were doing music and meditation
08 April 2011
Afghanistan: Official sacked over concert with singers without headscarves
The organiser of a concert where the singers appeared on stage without headscarves was fired after religious elders had complained that this was inappropriate
08 April 2011
USA: Argentine song-writer won contest for freedom of expression
20-year-old Juliana Castro won the Inter American Press Association's contest for original songs related to violence against the press and unpunished murders of journalists
08 April 2011
Syria: Musicians call for outright revolution
The lyrics to the latest underground anthem of the Syrian uprising are bold and could galvanize a movement that has spread in fits
06 April 2011
Egypt: Musician in the firing line of the Arab Spring
The events on Tahrir Square gave singer Ramy Essam the reputation as one of North Africa's new musical revolution heroes, proclaimed to be 'Egypt's Bob Dylan'.
06 April 2011
Turkey: New court case against Ferhat Tun
The Turkish courts appear to be 'copy-pasting' cases against the popular Kurdish singer Ferhat Tun
30 March 2011
Armenia / Iran: Banned live music thrives in neighbouring country
During the Persian New Year, posters advertising concerts by banned Iranian musicians can be seen all over Yerevan, capital of the ex-Soviet republic Armenia
30 March 2011
Cameroon: Lapiro appears at the Supreme Court
On Thursday 17 March 2011, the musician Lapiro de Mbanga was called to the Cameroon Supreme Court for what appeared to be superflous technicalities
24 March 2011
Zimbabwe: Journalists and musicians discussed freedom of expression issues
Arts journalists and musicians met on 10 March 2011 in Harare at the Book Caf
23 March 2011
Mexico: Bomb attack on singer El Coyote and his band
20-year-old 'narcocorridos' ('drug ballad') singer Gerardo Ortiz escaped unharmed when gunmen fired on his offroad minivan, but his driver and business agent were killed
23 March 2011
Mexico: Gun attack on American-Mexican 'drug ballad' singer
20-year-old 'narcocorridos' ('drug ballad') singer Gerardo Ortiz escaped unharmed when gunmen fired on his offroad minivan, but his driver and business agent were killed
22 March 2011
Pakistan: Anti-music militancy increases in the north-western mountain region
The militants are targeting films and music and everything they see as obscene, and the situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is deteriorating
21 March 2011
Zimbabwe: Music Freedom Day rocked the crowd
In Harare, Music Freedom Day was celebrated in a carnival mood on 3 March 2011 at the Book Caf
18 March 2011
Cameroon: Freemuse visits Lapiro in prison
After years of international campaigning, Freemuse finally managed to have a personal meeting with Lapiro de Mbanga who has been imprisoned in Cameroon since 2008
17 March 2011
Angola: 17 young rap musicians arrested
A group of 17 young rap musicians in Luanda's city centre who were reading poems and distributing pamphlets were held in custody by the criminal investigation police
13 March 2011
Egypt: Protest singer brutally tortured
Ramy Essam, who created a song that was played throughout the Egyptian revolution, appeared with severe marks of torture after being detained by security forces
11 March 2011
Senegal: Group of rappers arrested
The rap group Keur Gui from Kaolack was arrested for organising a "protest road show". They were released four hours later
11 March 2011
Music Freedom Day: Local ownership creates diversity of innovative events
Music Freedom Day 2011: An exiled DJ returns to Kabul, music is smuggled out from Burma, and Freemuse hands over an award to an imprisoned singer in Cameroon
09 March 2011
Cameroon: Lapiro receives award on Music Freedom Day
On Music Freedom Day, 3 March 2011, Freemuse visited Cameroon and handed over a much awaited award to the imprisoned singer Lapiro de Mbanga
09 March 2011
Belarus: List of banned actors and musicians published
Belarusian, Russian and British bands have been put on a "blacklist" of artists banned in Belarus state media, according to bloggers who published a scanning of the list
09 March 2011
Syria: Kurdish singer Bave Selah released
08 March 2011
Commentary from South Africa: Music Freedom from self-censorship Day
"Buying artists to advance some political party's cause may not be censorship, but more often than not, it will lead to self-censorship," writes Mike van Graan from South Africa
03 March 2011
Egypt and the Middle East: The musicians are taking incredible risks
"Music has become a potent weapon in the struggles for freedom across the Arab world, but let's bear in mind that the situation could change for the worse," writes Mark LeVine
03 March 2011
Music Freedom Day: Meanwhile in Turkey, musicians are persecuted
Singer Ferhat Tun
03 March 2011
Zimbabwe: 2,000 musicians unite in protest on Music Freedom Day
Close to 2,000 music composers in Zimbabwe protest, asking the national broadcaster to stop playing music for six hours on this year's Music Freedom Day
03 March 2011
Turkmenistan: Popular singers sentenced to two years in prison
Two Turkmen singers have each been sentenced to two years imprisonment, reported Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights from Austria
02 March 2011
Music Freedom Day 2011 is marked in more than 20 countries
Musicians, music clubs, cultural institutions, broadcasters and media in 20 countries joins the annual Music Freedom Day on 3 March 2011
02 March 2011
Egypt and Tunisia: The artistic revolution in the Middle East
An article about music censorship and the role of music in the Middle Eastern struggle for democracy was published in The Observer on 27 February 2011
28 February 2011
South Africa: Controversy over whether 'hate song' should be banned
The Irish singer Bono's defense of a controversial song has triggered heated debate. Supreme Court in South Africa is considering whether the song should be banned
25 February 2011
Pakistan: CD markets bombed - once again
The bombings of CD markets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in beginning of February 2011 suggests that militants are again threatening the entertainment industry
24 February 2011
Newsletter no. 1 / 2011
Freemuse Newsletter no. 1 / 2011
23 February 2011
Syria: Campaign for singer who has been arrested by security agents
Syrian security agents are reported to have arrested the Kurdish singer Bave Selah in Aleppo on 24 January 2011. Amnesty International runs a campaign for his release
23 February 2011
Uzbekistan: Rock and rap music denounced as 'evil'
Uzbekistan's state television issued an unequivocal denunciation of rock and rap music, saying it was epitomized by sadism, drug addiction and immorality
23 February 2011
Myanmar/Burma: New Win Maw songs smuggled out of Burma
The singer and human rights activist Win Maw continues his struggle for freedom of expression from the prison. Freemuse received three new songs from him.
16 February 2011
Zimbabwe: Three singers imprisoned
Three singers have been languishing in prison for over a week for allegedly singing a modified version of Mbare Chimurenga Choir's 'Nyatsoteerera' song
16 February 2011
Generation Wave
Audio interview with Generation Wave - a group of Burmese hip-hop artists and activists - about freedom of expression and censorship among musicians in their country
11 February 2011
China/Tibet: Singer Tashi Dhondup released from prison
The Tibetan singer Tashi Dhondup has been released from prison, reported Radio Free Asia on 8 February 2011
11 February 2011
South Korea: Music and oppression in Korea in the 1970s
In the history of Korean music, the 1970s was the darkest era. So many songs were banned, and so many musicians had to give up music, writes Kim Seon-joo
07 February 2011
Libya: Imprisoned Berber musician on hunger strike
Abdullah Ashini - a popular Amazigh Berber singer in Libya - has started a hunger strike in his prison cell
04 February 2011
Turkey: Song lyrics prompt legal action against university students
A trial against 16 members of the Beyoglu Troupe of Actors started on 21 January 2011. The university students are charged with "insult" in connection with the lyrics of a song
02 February 2011
Canada: Old Dire Straits hit song deemed unacceptable for broadcast
'Money for Nothing', a song by Dire Straits, was pronounced unfit for Canadian ears after a lone woman in Newfoundland complained about the word "faggot" in the lyrics
01 February 2011
Turkey: Singer Pınar Sağ ten months in prison for praising revolutionary leader
On 27 January 2011, Turkish folk music singer Pınar Sağ was sentenced to ten months in prison for praising leftist revolutionary Ibrahim Kaypakkaya at a festival in Dersim
01 February 2011
Turkey: Ferhat Tun
The Kurdish-Turkish singer Ferhat Tun
27 January 2011
Tunisia: Released rapper free to perform
Hamada Ben-Amor, the artist who gave voice to the anger that spilled into protests that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, is now courted by music houses
26 January 2011
Tunisia: Rapper allegedly arrested and released
Freemuse has sent a letter to the Tunisian Ministry of Culture requesting information about the reported arrest of the Tunisian rapper Hamada Ben-Amor
10 January 2011
Hungary: Radio station receives censorship notice for broadcasting rap song
Hungary's newly established media authority has opened an inquiry into a small private radio station, Tilos, for broadcasting the song 'Warning, it's on' by US rapper Ice-T
05 January 2011
Germany: Kurdish concerts banned by authorities in Berlin
In Berlin, a concert with the two Kurdish artists Hozan Aydın and Şer
05 January 2011
Turkey: Supreme Court re-opens case against Ferhat Tun
Going to court is becoming a repeatative nightmare for the Kurdish singer Ferhat Tun
04 January 2011
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