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Censored and imprisoned artists speak out

24 October 2012

PRESS RELEASE – sent to Danish press (in Danish language) on 23 October 2012

The “brain” behind the Russian Pussy Riot campaign and experts from a wide range of freedom of expression organisations arrive these days to Oslo to meet with persecuted and censored artists from around the world.

Because on Thursday opens the first world conference on artistic freedom of expression. It lasts for two days and is organised by the Danish-based Freemuse in cooperation with the Norwegian Fritt Ord Foundation.

“The response has been absolutely incredible,” says Ole Reitov from Freemuse: “World-renowned artists like Larissa Sansour and Burmese Zarganar come because it’s the first time someone tries to show the extent of abuse of the artistic freedom of expression.”

One of the themes of the conference is religion and censorship, where, among others, the famous American stand-up comedian Azhar Usman, known as Bin Laughin, will perform an act and then participate in a conversation about the limits of freedom of expression in relation to religious satire.

In another session the battle for public space will be discussed: who decides what art which is allowed to be shown at places such as Tahrir Square in Cairo, and in a session about death threats against artists, a Pakistani actor will be telling about how he was kidnapped and threatened to put an end to his career.

“Attacks on artists is unfortunately still a neglected phenomenon,” says Ole Reitov, who is the conference’s programme coordinator: “Yes, the world has heard of Pussy Riot and Salman Rushdie, but there are artists imprisoned in many countries, and censorship without possibilities of appeal is dailyday in the lives of thousands of artists. Therefore, it is important to get this on the international agenda.”

The title of the conference is ‘All that is banned is desired’. Around 300 registered attendees will assemble in the new opera house in Oslo, where the conference will be covered by, among others, Dutch TV, Italian radio and many Scandinavian media.

Freemuse has since 1998 defended musicians and composers’ rights. Recently, Freemuse took the initiative to launch a global network of artistic expression under the name artsfex. On Saturday representatives of leading artists and free speech organisations will come together in Oslo to officially launch this artsfex network.

The World Conference on artistic expression is supported by the Swedish Postkodlotteri, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and Fritt Ord Foundation.

Contact
• Ole Reitov, programme coordinator, Freemuse: +45 2323 2765
e-mail: ole.reitov @ freemuse.org

• Bente Roalsvig, project manager, Fritt Ord Foundation: +47 91613340 (mob) +47 23014643 (Office)
e-mail: bente.roalsvig @ freely-ord.no


Conference website
artsfreedom.freemuse.org

Press photos for download
artsfreedom.freemuse.org/press

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Censurerede og fængslede kunstnere taler ud

“Hjernen” bag den russiske Pussy Riot kampagne og eksperter fra en lang række ytringsfrihedsorganisationer ankommer i disse dage til Oslo for at mødes med forfulgte og censurerede kunstnere fra hele verden. På torsdag åbner nemlig den første verdenskonference om kunstnerisk ytringsfrihed. Den varer i to dage og arrangeres af dansk-baserede Freemuse i samarbejde med norske Fritt Ord.

“Der har været helt utrolig respons,” siger Ole Reitov fra Freemuse: “Det er verdensnavne som Larissa Sansour og burmesiske Zarganar, som kommer, fordi det er første gang nogen forsøger at vise omfanget af overgreb på den kunstneriske ytringsfrihed.”

Et af temaerne  på konferencen er religion og censur, hvor blandt andre den berømte amerikanske standup-komiker Azhar Usman, kendt som Bin Laughin, optræder for derefter at medvirke i en samtale om grænserne for ytringsfrihed i forhold til religionssatire.

I en anden session diskuteres kampen om det offentlige rum: hvem bestemmer, hvilken kunst som må findes på pladser som for eksempel Tahrir Square i Cairo, og i en session om dødstrusler mod kunstnere fortæller en pakistansk skuespiller om, hvordan han blev kidnappet og truet til at gøre en ende på sin karriere.

 

“Angreb på kunstnere er desværre stadigvæk et overset fænomen,” fortæller Ole Reitov, der er konferencens programkoordinator: “Jo, verden har hørt om Pussy Riot og Salman Rushdie, men der sidder kunstnere fængslet i mange lande, og censur uden muligheder for appel er dagligdag for tusindvis af kunstnere. Derfor er det vigtigt at få dette på den internationale dagsorden.”

Titlen på konferencen er ‘All that is banned is desired’. Godt 300 tilmeldte samles i det nye operahus i Oslo, hvor konferencen dækkes af blandt andre hollandsk tv, italiensk radio samt mange skandinaviske medier.

Freemuse har siden 1998 forsvaret musikere og komponisters rettigheder. Senest har Freemuse taget initiativ til at starte et globalt netværk for kunstnerisk ytringsfrihed under navnet artsfex. På lørdag samles repræsentanter for ledende kunstner- og ytringsfrihedsorganisationer for officielt at lancere dette artsfex-netværk.

Verdenskonferencen om kunstnerisk ytringsfrihed støttes af det svenske Postkodlotteri, det norske udenrigsministerium og Fritt Ord Fonden.

 

Kontakt
• Ole Reitov, programkoordinator, Freemuse: +45 2323 2765
e-mail: ole.reitov @ freemuse.org

 

• Bente Roalsvig, projektleder, Fritt Ord Fonden: +47 91613340 (mob), +47 23014643 (kontor),
e-mail: bente.roalsvig @ fritt-ord.no

Konference website
artsfreedom.freemuse.org

Pressefotos til download
artsfreedom.freemuse.org/press

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