New statistics from Artsfreedom.org, a site which tracks art censorship incidents worldwide, demonstrate that attacks and violations against artistic freedom have increased in 2014.
Last year Artsfreedom registered 237 attacks and violations against artistic freedom. Three artists were killed, two artists were abducted, nine were imprisoned, 13 were either persecuted or threatened, 16 were attacked physically, 30 artists were being prosecuted, 33 are still imprisoned from previous years, 41 were being detained and 90 artists were censored.
Artsfreedom is a project of Freemuse, an international organization that advocates for freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide.
The statistics illustrate that censorship does not only exist in the “usual suspects:” The report registers 8 violations in the United States for 2014. That number rose from 5 cases in 2013; one artist was persecuted/threatened and seven were censored. This raises the question of whether the suppression of art – often perpetrated by private institutions – is becoming a greater problem in the United States.
Artsfreedom acknowledges that “many artistic freedom violations are never made publicly known.” So while these findings might be jarring, they are surely incomplete– a reminder that censorship is a continuing problem. It is an ongoing battle that affects the life of individuals as well as whole societies.
The National Coalition Against Censorship has collaborated with Freemuse and Artsfreedom since the launch of ARTSFEX, a global network of organizations dealing with artistic freedom.
On March 3, NCAC will join Freemuse and the music venue Spectrum to celebrate Music Freedom Day. The celebration will include a listening party and live performances. Freemuse established Music Freedom Day in 2007 in support of persecuted, prosecuted and imprisoned musicians. Since the beginning of Music Freedom Day eight years ago, more than 100 partners and collaborators in 36 countries have joined Music Freedom Day.