- The nationalist politics in the US and Europe has created a new legitimacy to dismiss perspectives and artistic expression of ‘others’. Together with traditional repressive regimes, the new global culture of silencing others has taken freedom of artistic expression to a new low, Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said when launching the Freemuse report assessing the global state of artistic freedom 2018. Freemuse warns of the emergence of a new global culture of silencing others, where artistic expression is being shut down in every corner of the globe, including in the traditionally democratic West:
- Our research and analysis show that those in power anywhere share a will to silence those with whom they disagree, dislike, fear or simply see as different.
In 2017, 48 artists were serving combined sentences of more than 188 years in prison. Spain imprisoned 13 rappers – more musicians than any other country. On average, one artist per week in 2017 was prosecuted for expressing themselves. Egypt, Russia and Israel accounted for one-third of violations against LGBT artists and audiences. Seventy per cent of violations against women artists and audiences were on the grounds of indecency, a rationale used in 15 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. And artists from minority groups suffered violations of their artistic freedom in a near 50/50 split between countries in the global North and South.
Freemuse launched the report Thursday 15 March 2018 online and at an event in Stockholm, Sweden, in partnership with PEN Sweden.
- The consequences of these violations against art and artists are incalculable. Artists challenge authorities by their creativity and by their power to convey sharp observations and ideas that many people share. When authorities silence artists, it affects a wide group of readers, listeners and audiences, Anna Livion Ingvarsson, Secretary General of Swedish PEN, said.
SafeMUSE Project manager Jan Lothe Eriksen took part in the launch in Stockholm and commented to the Norwegian Musicians´ Union magazine Musikkultur after the launch:
- We can see some new trends that are quite gloomy. The emergence of right-wing radical thinking has made it legitimate to harass and silence free artistic expressions. This is triggered by, among others, Trump, but we also find it in Europe, he says.
Read the whole State of Artistic Freedom 2018 report at Freemuse.org