Book: How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

howfreeisfree25 Authors, 14 Countries: The e-book was produced as part of the Artwatch Africa project that aims to defend freedom of creative expression on the continent, and who better than the artists themselves to share their creative environment, their questions and their experiences. Themes like freedom of artistic expression, subversive art and political responsibility of artists are discussed.
English version can be downloaded for free at Arterial Network, French will follow soon.

Source: Arterial Network

Update: Jelili Atiku cleared of charges

On Monday the 18th of July 2016, Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku (see ACAR blog entry from February 5) , poet Adeola Goloba and 4 others regained their freedom as the Ejigbo Magistrate Court struck out all criminal charges instituted against them by the Nigerian Police. According to a press release by Ayodele Ganiu, National Coordinator for the Arterial Network Nigeria, Atiku’s release, “is a victory for artistic freedom; not only in Ejigbo or Lagos State, but the whole of Nigeria. It shows immense progress for freedom of expression in the country.”

Sources and details: Arterial network, Artafrica

Artist-Scholar Residence for Refugees at Northwestern University (USA)

The School of Communication at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL offers a nationally or internationally recognized media maker, screenwriter, playwright, theatre artist, and/or scholar with screenings, productions, distribution, and publications, via recognized venues/outlets, to be in residence as an artist-scholar at Northwestern University. Eligibility: Applicants must be facing or have recently fled from immediate, severe, and targeted threats to their lives and/or careers in their home countries or countries of residence. Appointment ideally starts January 1, 2017 for up to a year (although start date and length are negotiable).

Deadline for application: September 26, 2016, all details here (PDF)

Cairo: Detention for “Street Children” theatre group

A North Cairo court decided oatfa_shware_sizedn 2 July 2016 to renew the detention of satirist troupe “Street Children” for yet another 15 days. This latest renewal is the group’s fifth such consecutive ruling totalling 75 days in detention as they await ever-delayed court proceedings pending ongoing investigations. Five of the group’s six members were detained in May, with one later released on bail. The sixth member is being investigated but has not been arrested. The men are accused of using social media to “insult” state institutions, inciting demonstrations, disturbing public order, spreading false news and incitement to topple the regime. The group posts online satirical music videos shot on the streets that lampoon Egyptian politics. One week before their arrest, the group released a video mocking President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and calling on him to leave office.
Local artists and activists created an online petition  on Avaaz calling for the members’ release and to drop all charges against them.

update: On 1st August the Giza Criminal Court rejected satirist troupe Street Children’s second appeal against their lengthy pre-trial detention and further extended their detention by yet another 15 days, meaning that the four members of the group have been in detention for 105 days awaiting an investigation or even a court date. (Freemuse)

Sources: ArtsfreedomHuman Rights Watchahramonline

Open letter: ITI concerned about attacks on culture and freedom of expression in Brazil

Since several months the provisional government in Brazil is closing down or totally restructuring the ministries of culture, of women’s rights and of racial equivalence.  In an open letter (version in Portuguese), signed by General Director Tobias Biancone, the ITI declares its solidarity with their colleagues in Brazil in their protests and expresses: “We want to express our deep concern for the limitations in the artistic freedom and our support for our colleagues and all the artists. They prove that culture is an important weapon in the fight for democracy and freedom.”


Pakistan: The war on living arts in Swat

A new report on thswatreport-cover200e effects of war and repression of musicians, performers and the public of the Swat Valley, Pakistan, has been published by Freemuse and Peshawar-based Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation (PCF). Who is protecting and supporting the living arts after a conflict? After the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was overthrown, a renewed wave of terrorism began on the Pakistani side of the border. The report shows the huge impact conflicts have on the living heritage, the music, dance, cinema and other artistic expressions and the general publics right to acces arts and culture. The artistic life and the cultural industry is still suffering immensely after the Taliban were ousted from the Swat Valley more than seven years ago.
Download (PDF):  “Study on effects of war and repression of musicians, performers and the public of Swat, Pakistan”

Source: Freemuse