The State of Artistic Freedom 2019 report was launched on March 26 and informs about 673 cases of violations of artistic freedom that occurred in different cultural spheres in 80 countries throughout 2018. The 2018 report had 553 cases of artistic freedom violations in 78 countries. Growing: violating freedom of artistic expression by counter-terrorism legislation. 19 artist were imprisoned and 10 were detained under the guise of counter-terrorism. Freemuse’s research concludes that nine countries (Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Nicaragua, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the United States) are found to have used anti-terrorism and ant-extremism legislation and measures against artists in 2018.
David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has urged the European Union to bring its Copyright Directive into line with international standards on freedom of expression.
“Article 13 of the proposed Directive appears destined to drive internet platforms toward monitoring and restriction of user-generated content even at the point of upload. Such sweeping pressure for pre-publication filtering is neither a necessary nor proportionate response to copyright infringement online” Kaye said, and added: “Misplaced confidence in filtering technologies to make nuanced distinctions between copyright violations and legitimate uses of protected material would escalate the risk of error and censorship. Who would bear the brunt of this practice? Typically it would be creators and artists, who lack the resources to litigate such claims.”
Source: United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR)
Artists at Risk Connection and Cubalex have announced a white paper on the rise of repression against in Cuba in 2018. Art Under Pressure: Decree 349 Restricts Creative Freedom in Cuba (31 pages, available in English and Spanish) examines the government’s efforts to institutionalize and expand limits on creative expression. Decree 349 was announced in July 10, 2018, and went into effect on December 7 of the same year despite the many concerns expressed by artists and activists in Cuba and abroad. The paper gives examples and experiences with the Decree from independent artists, analyzes aspects and terminology, and takes a look to the history of censorship in Cuba including legal conflicts conflict with the country’s international treaty commitments and obligations.
The EU will simplify procedures for requesting and issuing short-stay visas and will use the visa policy to encourage non-EU countries to cooperate on migration. On January 29th Parliament and Council negotiators informally agreed on a new EU Visa Code, establishing the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for short periods (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). The visa fee will rise from 60 to 80€, with some exceptions and reductions (children, students). Applications could be submitted earlier than now – between six months and 15 days ahead of the trip. Additional facilities are planned for well-known artists and high performance athletes touring in the EU, as well as multiple entry visas for frequent travelers.
The informal deal will now be put to vote in the Civil Liberties Committee. It will also need to be confirmed by the plenary before formal adoption by the Council of Ministers. The changes will be applicable six months after the text is published in the Official Journal of the EU.
Source: European Parliament, see also the text of the proposal of the European Commission from March 14, 2018
Because of the “anti-Iranian politics of Poland” the management of the Dramatic Arts Center canceled the two invited Polish performances “Silence” and “Bad City” for this year’s 37th Fajir Festival (February 11-23).
Source: Iran Theatre
The 29th annual report summarizes key human rights issues in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2017 through November 2018.
The 674-page book reflects extensive investigative and advocacy work that Human Rights Watch staff undertook in 2018, usually in close partnership with human rights activists and groups in the country in question. All countries are listed separate, except collected listed United Arab Emirates and European Union. The report can be downloaded for free or searched by country at the website.