Articles



ARTICLES PUBLISHED BY FREEMUSE



Latests articles:



Pakistan: The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on (01 March 2013)
Kidjo: Fight against censorship by supporting artists who are silenced (18 December 2012)
Russia: Interview with released Pussy Riot member (12 November 2012)






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Somalia: Music ban on radio stations was expected
On 3 April 2010, the commander for Hisbul Islam in Mogadishu issued a 10-day ultimatum to radio stations to stop broadcasting music or face Sharia-based penalties
By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays
07 April 2010
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
By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays
11 February 2009
Somalia: 30 musicians lashed by religious militia 12 years ago
Somali woman singer tells the untold story of how, in 1996, local Islamic court’s militia raided a concert in Mogadishu, and sentenced the musicians to 20 lashes each
By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays
10 June 2008
Somalia: Dilemmas facing Somali music and musicians
Somali musicians struggle with financial hardships and self-censorship issues, and some are dying of hunger and diseases in Somalia
By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays
23 April 2008
Musicians and Censorship in Zimbabwe
Article prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe, April 2005
By Albert Nyathi
12 May 2005
Mali: The day the music stopped
Report from Northern Mali, including an interview with the Malian music festival director Manny Ansar who remains confident that no one can kill Malian music
By Andy Morgan
25 October 2012
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
By Andy Morgan
28 February 2011
Algeria: Matoub Lounès – Berber Guerilla of Pop
The story of the legendary Algerian singer who was assassinated in 1998. Chapter from ‘Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today’ (May 2004)
By Andy Morgan
01 October 2004
Kidjo: Fight against censorship by supporting artists who are silenced
Under the headline ‘Songs of Freedom’, singer Angeliqe Kidjo writes about music censorship and the power of music in The International Herald Tribune
By Angelique Kidjo
18 December 2012
Iran: ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’
Excerpt from Chapter 8 in the report ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’ published by Article 19 in September 2006. Chapter 8 is about music in Iran:
By Article 19
05 October 2006
Myanmar/Burma: Music under siege
Music provides a rallying point for the masses during political upheavals in Burma. An excerpt from the book ‘Shoot the Singer’: Chapter 6
By Aung Zaw
28 October 2005
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
By Austin Dacey
24 August 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
By Austin Dacey
17 July 2009
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
By Bronwen Robertson, Small Media
05 July 2011
USA: Government Arbiter or Catalyst for the Arts?
Historical perspective on government funding for the arts. Article.
By Cynthia Tse Kimberlin
05 November 2002
Turkey: New sound of Kurdish music after ban was lifted
Aynur Dogan, once banned because of her Kurdish ethnicity, is perhaps the most recognizable of many Kurdish singers creating a new sound in Turkey
By Daniel Bax
03 April 2006
Iran: Daniel Pearl: Status of music in Iran 2000
Link to an article in which Daniel Pearl describes the status of music in Iran in 2000. He interviews the Iranian pop singer Alireza Assar and composer Fouad Hejazi
By Daniel Pearl
04 September 2007
Afghanistan: Wajiha Rastagar
Interview with Afghan singer Wajiha Rastagar about how she sees the present situation in the country today
By Dr Samay Hamed
30 May 2005
Malaysia: In League With Satan? – The Malaysian Black Metal Ban
A personal account by ‘Ed On 45′, the editor of The Devil On 45 Zine which is published in Ireland
By Ed On 45
23 September 2009
Russia: Interview with released Pussy Riot member
Index on Censorship had the exclusive opportunity to interview Pussy Riot member Ekatrina Samutsevich who was freed by a Moscow court on 10 October 2012.
By Elena Vlasenko
12 November 2012
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.
By Elie Chalala
21 September 2011
Iran: Exiled Iranian musician responds upright to death threats
This interview with Shahin Najafi and Günter Wallraff took place five months after a death sentence was issued against the singer Shahin Najafi
By Elke Safaei-Rad
24 October 2012
Zimbabwe: Censorship of Locally Recorded Music
Article prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe, April 2005
By Emmanuel Vori
12 May 2005
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
By Eric Nuzum
03 June 2004
Cuba: Censored rap group thrives on YouTube
While songs of Los Aldeanos are banned on Cuban radio stations, YouTube has instead become their channel for expressing themselves
By Esteban Israel, Reuters
19 May 2010
Women and Music Censorship – Past to Present
Examples from all over the world of the censorship of female music during the centuries
By Eva Fenn, Freemuse
25 April 2005
Afghanistan: Female musicians put their lives in danger
A report from a music school in Kabul is a story about the kind of difficulties and dangers female musicians face in present day Afghanistan. They must work in secret
By Fariba Nawa, San Francisco Cronicle
15 January 2008
Turkey: A personal letter from musician Ferhat Tunç
A personal letter from Kurdish-Turkish musician Ferhat Tunç who was appointed a ‘Freemuse ambassador’ in September 2007, about his relationship with the organisation
By Ferhat Tunç
25 September 2007
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç continues his struggle
Despite death threats and continuous court cases, Turkish singer and writer Ferhat Tunç continues to critisise the Turkish court system and the government
By Ferhat Tunç
25 June 2007
Turkey: Testimony – the trials and arrests of Ferhat Tunç
“1986: Arrested for political reasons. One week of interrogations, degradations and torture in the notorious prison camp DAL.” Read the personal testimony of Turkish singer and human rights activist Ferhat Tunç
By Ferhat Tunç
19 October 2004
Music & Islam – what’s the big fuss?
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to attack musicians and music shops, but what is the position on music in Islam?
By Freemuse
04 September 2012
Freemuse: The case of Pussy Riot – behind the scenes
Summing up: A talk with Freemuse’s Campaign Officer about how Freemuse has worked on the case of Pussy Riot since three members of the band were detained in March 2012
By Freemuse
30 August 2012
North Korea: Three years in prison for simply singing a wrong song
Because she had sung a South Korean folk song and taught it to four others in 1992, North Korean Ji Hae Nam (Hae-Nam Ji) was imprisoned for three years and tortured
By Freemuse
09 June 2008
World-wide: Calls for censorship of ‘indecent’ songs
Where to draw the line and when to actually ban a song because it is considered indecent, profane, immoral or offending against the recognised standards of propriety?
By Freemuse
30 April 2008
China: Country profile
In China, the censorship authorities act with the aim of protecting its citizens against “mental contamination” and its government against criticism.
By Freemuse
25 April 2008
The burning music question in Islam: prohibited or not?
The burning music question: Music… is it or is it not allowed in Islam? Can we get it straight?
By Freemuse
09 August 2006
USA/UK: Deeyah speaks out about the unspeakable
Freemuse hands the microphone to Deeyah – a pop singer and an activist with a serious message. She has placed herself in the crossfire of today’s most controversial, religious issues
By Freemuse
09 August 2006
Algeria: Souad Massi – exiled voice of Algeria
Algerian singer and guitarist Souad Massi is a celebrity with a growing global following. Her music was banned in Algeria which she fled in 2000
By Freemuse
17 January 2006
Turkey: “Keep Roj TV!” Turkish musicians protest
Turkish musicians signed a petition against attempts to ban the Denmark-based Kurdish Roj TV. The Danish government has been under diplomatic pressure to effect its closure.
By Freemuse
17 January 2006
Syria: ‘Silenced voices’
In Syria, music is a mirror which shows the soul of the listener. A few young musicians perceive a magic language of sound which can touch the heart and make new thoughts spark. And this is exacly where their problems start…
By Gabriela M. Keller
07 November 2006
China: Culture, Legislation and Censorship
Excerpts from the article “Chinese Cultural Laws Regulations and Institutions” by Gao Shuxun (ed.)
By Gao Shuxun
01 August 2003
Zimbabwe: Banned singer released her third protest music album
Exiled Zimbabwean singer Viomak released her third protest music album, ‘Happy 84th birthday President R.G Matibili (Great Son of Malawi)’ on 21 February 2008
By Harriet Chigege
29 February 2008
White Noise Music – an international affair
Hate Music. The story of modern racist music, covering cases from UK, Sweden and USA. Paper from the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship, 1998
By Heléne Lööw
01 January 2001
Nepal: Limitations on public performances for exiled Tibetans
Tibetan refugees living in Nepal face different kinds of limitations of their music – some inflicted on them by Nepalese officials, others self-inflicted “cultural considerations”
By Helle Sørensen
04 August 2003
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
By Helo Magazine and others
15 August 2011
Finland / Sweden / Norway: The destruction of a minority’s music culture
Ethnomusicologist Ilpo Saastamoinen shares his insight and personal experiences with the oppression of Sámi music culture
By Ilpo Saastamoinen
21 April 2008
Belarus: Longing for change
Due to blacklisting in their homeland, the Belarusian folk-rock band Krambambulya held three exile concerts in Lithuania to celebrate the release of their new album
By Ingo Petz
16 May 2012
Belarus: Interview with Belarusian singer Lavon Volski from NRM
Interview with Belarusian singer Ljavon Volski. He is the lead singer in the rock and punk band N.R.M., based in Minsk
By Ingo Petz
28 March 2006
Spain: Censorship of Basque musicians
Over the past two years censorship of Basque musicians in Spain has steadily increased
By International Basque Organisation For Human Rights
28 January 2004
China: Canto-pop Censorship in China & Singapore
An edited version of a part of a thesis entitled ‘Three Decades of Canto-pop: Hybridization, consolidation and Innovation’, written for University of Liverpool in 2005
By Ivy Man
04 September 2007
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
By Jamie Kim
01 November 2011
North Korea: Jason Carter – ‘The Colour Of Silence’
Excerpts from British guitarist Jason Carter’s diary, ‘The Colour Of Silence In The Axis Of Evil’ – about his first performance in North Korea
By Jason Carter
24 April 2007
Chile: Country profile
Excerpt from ‘A Survey Of Censorship And Restrictions On Music In Spanish America’
By Jens Lohmann
25 February 2002
Argentina: Country profile
Excerpt from ‘A Survey Of Censorship And Restrictions On Music In Spanish America’
By Jens Lohmann
25 February 2002
Cuba: Country profile
Excerpt from ‘A Survey Of Censorship And Restrictions On Music In Spanish America’
By Jens Lohmann
25 February 2002
Mexico: Country profile
Excerpt from ‘A Survey Of Censorship And Restrictions On Music In Spanish America’
By Jens Lohmann
25 February 2002
Dominican Republic: Country profile
Excerpt from ‘A Survey Of Censorship And Restrictions On Music In Spanish America’
By Jens Lohmann
25 February 2002
Guatemala: Country profile
Excerpt from ‘A Survey Of Censorship And Restrictions On Music In Spanish America’
By Jens Lohmann
25 February 2002
China: Jeroen De Kloet traces the politics of rock in China
Fuelled by the new sounds that entered China’s illegal doorways, new bands started to experiment with different sounds.
By Jeroen De Kloet
06 July 2010
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
By Jessica Hundley, Los Angeles Times
22 August 2011
Somalia: Silent airwaves – This is the sound of censorship
Article about the situation in Somalia after the music died when, on 14 April 2010, radio stations in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu were ordered to cease playing all music.
By Jessica Saxton
08 December 2010
Limits of Musical Freedom
Which kinds of limits are there to the freedom of musical expression in the world today?
By Johan Fornäs
07 February 2002
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.
By Johannes Frandsen Skjelbo
20 May 2009
Ghana: Country profile
A brief overview of the history of music censorship in the West African country Ghana during the last hundred years
By John Collins
06 March 2006
Sierra Leone: Interview with Daddy Saj
Freemuse interviewed Daddy Saj in August 2007 to learn more about his imprisonment and about music censorship in the country
By John Sahr Sahid, Freemuse
29 August 2007
Myanmar/Burma: ‘Will censorship of music end?’ asks BBC reporter in Rangoon
BBC News’ Jonah Fisher has interviewed Ye Ngwe Soe, lead-singer of the punk band No U Turn, one of the best-known acts on the Rangoon punk scene.
By Jonah Fisher, BBC News
13 April 2012
Jonas Otterbeck: Islamic reactions to the music of today
A working paper, 22 pages in PDF-format, to be published as a chapter in the book ‘Religion, Media, and Modern Thought in the Arab World’, Cambridge Scholars Press Ltd.
By Jonas Otterbeck
13 November 2007
Iran: The nations’ top singer opted for a life in exile
A sharp voice of political dissent, Marzieh was a celebrated interpreter of traditional Persian music whose career in her native Iran was silenced by the clerical dictatorship
By Julian Nundy
29 November 2010
Korea: ‘The people united’
Music for North Korea’s ‘Great Leader’ and ‘Dear Leader’. Article.
By Keith Howard
24 February 2003
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
By Khaled Mattawa
15 June 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
By Kim Arora
02 November 2011
Iraq: Black Metal’s anti-religious message meets Islam
28-year-old Anahita is the voice behind the black metal solo project Janaza. She is probably Iraq’s first female black metal singer – and possibly the only one
By Kim Kelly
13 August 2012
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
By Kim Seon-joo
07 February 2011
Myanmar/Burma: Interview with exiled musician Mun Awng
Mun Awng is a musician who left Burma to make music freely and in hope of improving the political situation in his country
By Kristina Funkeson
01 July 2008
Zimbabwe: Profile of Thomas Mapfumo – ‘the Lion of Zimbabwe’
Throughout years of struggle, Mapfumo has been an important revolutionary figure in Zimbabwe – fighting with the power of music.
By Kristina Funkeson
27 November 2007
Jamaica: Dancehall star signs the Reggae Compassionate Act
Reggae and dancehall star Buju Banton is the fourth artist to sign the ‘Reggae Compassionate Act’ which is part of the gay rights campaign ‘Stop Murder Music’
By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse
09 August 2007
Iran: About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanistic’ music event
As part of an annual summer crackdown on “immoral behavior” about 230 people were arrested during a police raid on an underground rap and rock concert
By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse
07 August 2007
Sweden: Explicit lyrics cause heated debate about women’s sexuality
After being banned on two regional radio stations, the lyrics of a song by Frida Muranius are debated in newspapers, radio, web forums and court yards all over Sweden
By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse
11 July 2007
Argentina and Uruguay: Miguel Angel Estrella
Article on the Argentinean classical pianist Miguel Angel Estrella who was arrested, imprisoned and tortured in Uruguay in December 1977.
By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse
19 June 2007
The music industry from the perspective of women
About the music industry from the perspective of women, based on interviews with Myriam, a Senegalese rapper from the group ALIF and the singer Ajah Sy
By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse
27 May 2005
Zimbabwe: Blacklisted – My Personal Experience
Article prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe, April 2005
By Leonard Zhakata
12 May 2005
Tanzania – Zanzibar: ‘Give sex or be blacklisted’
Why do we see and hear little of women musicians in Zanzibar? Report from an island where parents and husbands are at the core of strong ‘cultural censorship’
By Lingson Adam, Freemuse
24 April 2008
Tanzania: Political pressure and corruption silence musicians
Interview with Tanzanian musician Muumin Mwinjuma who says political pressure and corruption lead to music censorship
By Lingson Adam, Freemuse
08 April 2008
Tanzania: Self-censorship and fear in the “Island paradise”
Threats and intimidations to critical thought expressed through music have reduced musical creations and performances in Zanzibar to mere entertainment function
By Lingson Adam, Freemuse
22 January 2008
Tanzania: Pressured to stop performing for opposition party
Interview with Tanzanian composer and performer Mzee Seif Thabit who says he has been censored for his alignment with opposition political parties
By Lingson Adam, Freemuse
22 October 2007
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
By Mark Armstrong
09 December 2004
Morocco: Popular musicians silent about imprisoned rapper
In Morocco the rapper El Haked is in prison since May 2012 for his highly political lyrics – but so far very few popular musicians are speaking out about this
By Mark LeVine
08 August 2012
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
By Mark LeVine
03 March 2011
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”
By Martin Cloonan
09 December 2004
UK: Britain at War
Extensive article on how music was “restricted” during the Falkland and Gulf war, with focus on UK legislation and corporate censorship. Presented by Martin Cloonan at the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship, 1998
By Martin Cloonan
01 January 2001
Pakistan: Fear and persecution follows Afghan musicians
The fear and persecution which forced Afghan singers to leave their country now has followed them to their exile in Peshawar in Pakistan
By Marvaiz Khan, Freemuse
04 April 2007
Iran: Gissoo Shakeri – “Voice of women who cannot sing”
Singer Gissoo Shakeri’s works are banned in Iran, but her songs can be listened to on the internet. Interview excerpt from Revolution, and lyrics from one of her banned songs
By Mary Lou Greenberg
06 April 2006
Hip-hop, black Islamic nationalism and the quest of Afro-American empowerment
Paper from the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship, Copenhagen 20-22 November, 1998
By Mattias Gardell
01 January 2001
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
By Maxwell Sibanda
03 March 2011
Zimbabwe before the elections: Airplay is only for the “patriots”
While the radio keeps rotating songs that praise the current regime, opposition and dissenting voices are silenced, and things fall apart, writes Maxwell Sibanda from Harare
By Maxwell Sibanda
10 March 2008
Zimbabwe: Music industry is dying slowly
Zimbabwe’s current political and economic crisis has destroyed the once vibrant music industry
By Maxwell Sibanda
28 October 2005
Zimbabwe: Music central tool in election
As campaigning for the 2005 parliamentary elections intensified, music became central to the contest
By Maxwell Sibanda
29 March 2005
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
By Maxwell Sibanda
20 September 2004
Zimbabwe: Censorship does not silence music
Many songs of Zimbabwean music star Leonard Zhakata have been blacklisted by the state broadcaster. This has not silenced him, though
By Maxwell Sibanda, Freemuse
03 June 2008
Belarus election: Blacklisted bands play in Poland
The hope amongst the organisers and artists is that music can fuel revolution and bring about democracy in Belarus
By Maya Medich
17 March 2006
Indonesia: Inul Daratista has overcome censorship
Inul Daratista’s music career has overcome bans and censorship. Today she remains one of the most popular dangdut stars Indonesia has ever had.
By Meredith Holmgren
12 December 2005
Cambodia: Of Sounds and Survival – Khmer music
1975-1979 was a period of genocidal censorship throughout Cambodia – the music and musicians barely survived. Today, Khmer artistic cultures are in recovery
By Meredith Holmgren
28 October 2005
Malaysia: Black metal music under attack
Malaysian authorities see the music as part of “black metal cult”
By Meredith Holmgren
28 October 2005
USA: Rap artist Kanye West censored on tv
Rap artist, Kanye West, speaks his mind on live television and gets censored
By Meredith Holmgren
27 October 2005
Chechnya: Recording songs of defiance and survival
The compilation album ‘Songs of Defiance’ was recorded and compiled by Michael Church. In this article he tells how he was arrested while recording a choir in North Ossetia
By Michael Church
21 May 2007
South Africa in 1989: CD album banned for offending Christians
Because of its title, the album ‘Bigger than Jesus’ by Kalahari Surfers was banned in 1989 for blasphemy and for the offending of Christians. The music was later re-released
By Michael Drewett
27 February 2012
Indonesia: Ed Edy and Residivus face jail for singing ‘dog’ about police
One song and the use of one word, ‘anjing’, has left the musicians of Ed Edy and Residivus facing 18 months in prison on the Indonesian island of Bali
By Michael McAuliffe, CBC
26 February 2007
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
By Mik Aidt
20 April 2011
Turkey: Interview with exiled musician Fuat Talay
Baglama-player and singer Fuat Talay speaks about how the Turkish authorities kept him in a police station’s cellar for 23 days, and later on convicted him to 12 years in prison
By Mik Aidt
04 August 2008
Saudi Arabia: Interview with founder of thrash metal band
Faisal Al-Alamy is founder of the Saudi Arabian thrash metal band Octum. They released a demo entitled ‘Fighting For Freedom’ in January 2008
By Mik Aidt
04 June 2008
Saudi Arabia: Musicians’ freedom expanded
There has been a quiet, yet marked increase in cultural activities in Saudi Arabia during the past couple of months. New music bands emerge and blossom on the internet
By Mik Aidt
27 May 2008
Zimbabwe: Protest singer Viomak challenges Mugabe’s regime
Exiled Zimbabwean singer Viomak challenges the Mugabe regime, and she is well aware that by doing so she puts her life at risk
By Mik Aidt
30 October 2007
Crackdown on music in public space
Many cities world-wide are debating whether music in public space is to be considered a form of noise pollution. Some ban, others encourage street performances and music lessons
By Mik Aidt
16 February 2006
USA: Multi-media show about dangers of censorship
‘Freedom Sings’ is a critically acclaimed multi-media presentation which tells the story of almost three centuries of banned or censored music in America
By Mik Aidt
04 November 2005
Governments against dance music
Laws are in place all over Europe, in the USA and in Asia, “aimed at stifling dance music culture”, according to music organisers
By Mik Aidt
14 October 2005
Afghanistan: Bittersweet success of secret girl band
The Afghan girl group, ‘Burka Band,’ continues to receive media attention and draw new fans, even though they are no longer active.
By Mik Aidt
13 October 2005
Afghanistan: Musicians unite against censorship
130 Afghans have established a new musician’s organisation, the Afghanistan Music Foundation, to fight against music censorship and oppression of musicians
By Mik Aidt
25 May 2005
Algeria: Cheb Hasni – popular rai hero assassinated
Article on rai singer Cheb Hasni who was assassinated for his music by religious militants on 29 September 1994.
By Mik Aidt
01 January 2001
Kenya: Improved space for political lyrics
Popular Kenyan singer and songwriter Eric Wainaina compliments the government for not trying to strain his freedom of expression
By Morten Bonde Pedersen
29 March 2007
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings’ Policies on Censorship of Music
Article prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe, April 2005
By Musavengana Nyasha
12 May 2005
Iran: Mahsa Vahdat – Singing in the absence of others
Mahsa Vahdat speaks with Naghmeh Taqizadeh from TehranAvenue about the challenges of being a female musician and singer in Iran
By Naghmeh Taqizadeh
18 December 2002
Israel: The Current Wave of the Wagner Debate
The “pro and contra Wagner” debate in Israel is multifaceted and charged with much emotion. Article
By Noam Ben-Zeev
20 May 2001
Tracing the Footsteps – Censorship and Music in Zimbabwe
Article prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe, April 2005
By Nyasha Nyakunu
12 May 2005
Freemuse: The invisible work behind the scenes
It started as another day in the Freemuse office. Then, within hours, we received terrifying pictures of rappers in Angola and Sierra Leone, who had been seriously beaten
By Ole Reitov
01 June 2012
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
By Ole Reitov
13 March 2009
Afghanistan: Interview with Jamshid Matin X
This is an interview with Jamshid Matin X – a presenter and producer for a daily music show and a Top 10 music show – who fled to America because of death threats
By Ole Reitov
01 June 2006
Turkey: ‘Censorship – the Turkish way’
These original documents reveal the methods of official Turkish censorship
By Ole Reitov
06 December 2005
Six articles on music censorship in Zimbabwe
Prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe held Thursday 28th April 2005 at Mannenberg Jazz Club, Harare
By Ole Reitov
12 May 2005
Zimbabwe: A Case of Music Censorship Before and After Independence
Article prepared in connection with a seminar on Music Censorship in Zimbabwe, April 2005
By Omen Muza
12 May 2005
Taiwan, Province of China: History of Holo pop songs censorship
Holo pop songs that were banned during Kuomintang rule took center stage in 2007 during a series of ‘forbidden songs concerts’ sponsored by the Government Information Office
By Pat Gao
22 November 2007
USA: What if they gave a culture war and nobody came?
Extensive article on the history of music censorship in the U.S., detailing the occasions when judicial and legislative authorities have focused attention on popular music as expression
By Paul Fischer
28 January 2003
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
By Rafael Marques
01 March 2004
Jordan: Heavy metal musician: “We were rebels”
Rami Abdel Rahman’s personal account of his experiences as a young metal head in the 1990s heavy metal scene of Jordan
By Rami Abdel Rahman
08 October 2009
Puerto Rico: Censorship on reggaeton genre
The Dominican Republic contemplates a nation-wide ban on Reggaeton. The genre has previously been banned on radio in Puerto Rico, and albums were boycotted
By ReggaetOnline.net & Freemuse
19 January 2006
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
By Richard Marcus
01 June 2011
Iran: Rock artists struggle to breach cultural and bureaucratic barriers
The Iranian culture ministry does not recognise rock music in its permitted music categories, and frequently rejects such work as culturally inappropriate, reports The Guardian
By Robert Tait
29 August 2005
Syria: Interrogated and harassed for listening to metal music
Young people in Syria are interrogated by the secret police if they listen to heavy metal music, writes Romuald Stankiewicz in this personal travel report from the country
By Romuald Stankiewicz
29 March 2010
Mali: Rose Skelton reports from Bamako: Can musical Mali play on?
Islamism is on the march and threatening to wipe out the country’s cultural heritage, wrote freelance journalist Rose Skelton in British newspaper The Independent
By Rose Skelton
21 August 2012
Senegal: Musicians at the forefront of protests
In Senegal’s controversial presidential elections, musicians have suffered threats, attacks and arrests, while an increasing number of songs are being shared
By Rose Skelton
13 March 2012
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.
By Rose Skelton
22 December 2011
Senegal: Rappers’ quest for change
During the last seven years, there has been a frightening rise in the number of censorship attempts on musicians, outspoken activists and journalists in Senegal
By Rose Skelton
02 March 2007
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
By Salman Ahmad and Kamran Pasha
28 April 2009
Turkey: Şanar Yurdatapan: ‘There is a lot of work to do for all of us’
In 2012, there were no acticities marking Music Freedom Day in Turkey. “This means the work is not over yet,” wrote Sanar Yurdatapan in his chronicle on the day
By Sanar Yurdatapan
03 March 2012
Turkey: Censorship Past and Present
A historical approach to the nature of censorship. Article.
By Sanar Yurdatapan
01 October 2004
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.
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
07 September 2009
Iran: Arya – the Victor Jara of my homeland
Iranian journalist and poet Sepideh Jodeyri compares the life and music of imprisoned musician Arya Aramnejad with Chile’s revolutionary singer Victor Jara
By Sepideh Jodeyri
12 January 2012
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
By Shaheen Buneri
14 September 2011
Pakistan: The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on
Sher Alam Shinwari set out to investigate what the situation is like in Peshawar on Music Freedom Day 2013. He found stifling sounds of Pashto music amid militancy and hostility
By Sher Alam Shinwari
01 March 2013
Nigeria: ‘Leash on Their Tongues’
Article on how music has been censored in Nigeria. Including the story of Fela Kuti and Femi Kuti and their struggle against political and religious censorship
By Sola Olorunyomi
01 March 2001
North Korea: Exiled because of passion for jazz
Classical pianist Kim Cheol-woong (Cheol Woong Kim) had to flee North Korea to realise his dream of becoming a jazz musician
By Stuff.co.nz
06 April 2006
Somalia: Interview with Somali music shop owner in exile
Interview with Fatma Adow who is one of 25 women who on November 2008 faced the wrath of Somali militiamen the for taking part in a folklore dance galore in Somalia
By Suleiman Mbatiah
10 February 2010
Poland: ‘Censorship was overwhelming’
Article about the radical rock counter-culture in communist Poland, written by Szymon Urbański, himself a punk-rocker of the 1980’s.
By Szymon Urbański
05 February 2010
Myanmar/Burma: Music a vehicle for significant dissent
Nine out of 12 songs on Thxa Soe’s most recent album were banned by Burma’s censorship board. Interview with Thxa Soe in the British newspaper The Guardian
By The Guardian
26 April 2010
Iraq / USA: Interview with exiled oud player
Interview with Iraqi oud player and composer Rahim AlHaj – a former political prisoner of Saddam Hussein who escaped Iraq and relocated to the US, New Mexico, in 2000
By Tom Chandler
26 November 2008
Silence is death – Censorship in the Arab world
‘Freedom of Expression in Music’ conference in Beirut in October 2005 posed many questions but did it reach any solutions?
By Trevor Mostyn
31 October 2005
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
By Vercihan Ziflioğlu
25 October 2011
Europe / USA: Pressure on Muslim women to stay out of music
When a woman tries to break into the growing scene for Islamic hip-hop in United Kingdom she is often intimidated, or even threatened, reported the New Statesman
By Vic Motune, New Statesman
18 August 2008
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
By Wisam Tahir
09 December 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 SpinEarth.tv
By Yuri, SpinEarth.tv
24 August 2009
Zimbabwe: How musicians avoid censorship
In Zimbabwe, musicians manage to evade censorship by creating songs with double-meaning. And sometimes they get away with it, reports Freemuse’s correspondent
By Zenzele Ndebele
28 November 2007
Afghanistan: Music is making a comeback
Central Asia Online reports: After decades of civil war and the Taliban’s ban on music, Afghanistan is trying to resuscitate music
By Zia Ur Rehman
04 July 2012