Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and seeks to more effectively promote and defend freedom to create.
Since ARTICLE 19 published a report in 2005 entitled Art, Religion and Hatred; Religious Intolerance in Russia and its Effects on Art, artistic expression in
There is no specific law that explicitly bans artists in
Well-known and influential Russian artist Alexander Shchednov was arrested on June 11 by the FSB whilst displaying a collage in an exhibition in the city of
The collage which depicts the coy-looking head of prime minister Vladimir Putin on the top of a woman’s body, has written on it: “Oh I don't know ... a third presidential ... it's too much, on the other hand .”
Shchednov was arrested whilst attempting to hang the collage, and claims that he was questioned and abused for seven hours before being charged with “uncensored swearing in a public place”.
The trial of Yury Samodurov and Andrey Erofeev for organising an exhibition entitled “Forbidden Art 2006” at the
Samodurov and Erofeev face five years in prison on charges of inciting religious and ethnic hatred under Article 282 of the Russian Penal Code. Examples of some of the art works exhibited included a crucified Lenin and Mickey Mouse as Jesus. Incitement legislation is widely used in
Turkish author Nedim Gursel believes that increasing religious conservatism is undermining freedom of expression in
In 2009 a Turkish court allowed a case to be brought against Gursel for “insulting religion” and “inciting hatred”. Although
Gursel is on trial for his book “The Daughters of Allah” against which a case was brought earlier in 2009 on the charges of insulting religion and inciting hatred. The book describes a fictional interpretation of the Prophet Mohammad and his life and joins a number of other publications that are indicted with insulting “Turkishness”.
The designer of the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium, Ai Weiwei, has come under increasing state censorship since the end of the 2008
Ai had also asserted in his blog that Chinese security officers were following him and intimidating his family, friends and colleagues, including his 76-year-old mother.
A highly regarded designer and artist, Ai gave the Chinese authorities grounds for disapproval after he began a campaign to expose the reasons why so many schools collapsed during the 2008
Prominent political cartoonist Mario Robles from the newspaper Noticias Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca was violently assaulted and subjected to death threats in late April by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which controls the
Cartoons serve a specific purpose in political commentary and can often be more influential, further reaching and create a larger impression than written words. Attacking a cartoonist not only impacts on Robles, but also censors political commentary and denies citizens an opportunity to receive information.
Robles has been a political cartoonist for 30 years and has won the state journalistic award six times. In an interview with ARTICLE 19 Robles asserts that two party campaigners attacked and kicked him repeatedly before warning him that he needed to “modify his cartoons” or they would kill him and his family.
According to an International Publishers Association investigation, since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, censorship within the Iranian publishing industry is clearly on the rise, with decisions about what gets published becoming more unpredictable, uncertain and arbitrary.
Although the number of titles is slowly rising, the average print run is now only 3,000 compared to an average of 10,000 in the 1970s. This is entirely due to censorship. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG) never officially bans books. Rather, if an author does not hear within two years, they understand that their manuscript has been rejected.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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