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UNESCO focus on artistic freedom

11 November 2015

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Artistic freedom will be in focus at two UNESCO events in Paris in November and December 2015. Freemuse Director Ole Reitov has been invited to take part in both events as a panellist and expert.

On Friday 13 November 2015, Denmark, Norway and Sweden together with UNESCO’s Secretariat will organise a discussion panel on efforts to improve the status of the artist and artistic freedom.

Contrary to common belief, artistic freedom is grounded in two of UNESCO’s normative instruments: the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist – and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

This year a report on the implementation of the 1980 Recommendation will be presented at the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference. While the Recommendation covers a wide range of issues that affect the social and economic status of the artist, this report focuses on significant contemporary issues such as artistic freedom, digital technologies and the Internet, mobility of artists and social protection.


UNESCO report launch
At another event on 16 December 2015, UNESCO’s new global report to monitor the implementation of the 2005 Convention will be launched at the Paris headquarters. The report includes a specific chapter on artistic freedom written by Freemuse Director, Ole Reitov, and includes a proposal for a complete new monitoring system for artistic freedom.

“It is an important milestone for artistic freedom as this reminds all state parties to the convention that they are obliged to promote and protect artistic freedom,” says Ole Reitov. “We provide states and monitoring CSO’s with a tool that enables them to assess whether the states have lived up to their obligations or not.”

According to UNESCO the forthcoming discussion panel aims at “revitalising efforts to improve the status of artist and freedom of expression.” The countries supporting and co-organising the event wish to “raise awareness about the topic at the global level and provide an opportunity to discuss the findings of UNESCO’s reports with a particular focus on artistic freedom.”

Culture experts participating in the UNESCO General Conference, together with independent experts and artists, are invited to participate.

The organisers say “the discussion is expected to provide inspiration for future strategic action and priorities of relevant stakeholders in this field.”

According to the programme, the key questions to be discussed are
• Is the freedom of artistic expression understood and protected as part of the broader system of fundamental rights?
• How to monitor artistic freedom as part of UNESCO’s periodic reporting system of the 1980 Recommendation and 2005 Convention?


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» Read more: UNESCO media release



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