The State of Artistic Freedom 2019 – Whose Narratives Count?

March 26 2019

Freemuse and The Fritt Ord Foundation invite the public to the launch of the new report “The State of Artistic Freedom 2019”. The event will take place at Fritt Ord, Uranienborgveien 2, Oslo on Tuesday 26 March 2019 at 10am – 12pm.

Freemuse will officially unveil The State of Artistic Freedom 2019, an analysis of 673 cases of violations of artistic freedom that occurred in different cultural spheres in 80 countries throughout 2018.

Please register by emailing Philip Toscano at Freemuse:

The report identifies key challenges for artists’ freedom of expression and points out violation patterns and trends. In addition, it provides analysis of legal, political and social developments occurring in different countries that have significantly impacted the state of artistic freedom and creativity.

Key findings include:

  • 19 artists were sentenced to jailor imprisoned using counter-terrorism legislation in four countries: Spain, Turkey, Israel and Egypt.
  • Four artists were killed: two in Pakistan, one in Brazil and one in Bangladesh. A further 14 artists were attacked.
  • Musicians targeted: 2 killed, 16 prosecuted, 36 imprisoned, 24 detained, 6 attacked, 31 persecuted, 44 sanctioned/fined, 14 received threats or were harassed.
  • Censorship was practiced in at least 60 countries, affecting 1,807 artists and artworks.
  • The top reason artists were targeted was for expressing political opinions in their country, mainly for being critical of governments.
  • There were 70 documented cases of silencing that involve the theatre in 2018.


Welcome/Introductory Remarks:

  • Knut Olav Åmås, Executive Director, The Fritt Ord Foundation
  • Marianne Hagen, State Secretary, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur (video message)
  • John Peder Egenæs, Director, Amnesty International Norway
  • Maria Arnquist, Program Officer, Sida

The State of Artistic Freedom 2019 Presentation:
  • Srirak Plipat, Executive Director, Freemuse

Expert and Artist Discussion on Artistic Freedom:

  • Hanan Benammar, Artist, Ways of Seeing
  • John Peder Egenæs, Director, Amnesty International Norway
  • Katya García-Antón, Director and Chief Curator, Office for Contemporary Art Norway
  • Helge Lunde, Executive Director, ICORN
  • Pia Maria Roll, Director, Ways of Seeing

The panel discussion is moderated by Ingerid Salvesen

Freemuse is an independent international organisation advocating for and defending freedom of artistic expression. Freemuse believes that at the heart of violations of artistic freedom is the effort to silence opposing or less preferred views and values by those in power—politically, religiously or societally—mostly due to fear of their transformative effect. Its work includes monitoring and documenting violations of artistic freedom, as well as exposing laws and policies that enable and sustain these violations. Freemuse’s approach is human rights-based and provides an international legal framework, as well as lays out the principles, for accountability, equality, non-discrimination and participation.

The event will be in English.
Link to the Facebook-event