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Art under Threat - Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom 2016

Published by Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2017, 46 pages

The new report entitled Art under Threat analyses the dominant threats to artistic freedom including how governments, such as China's and Turkey's, in addition to silencing artists within their own borders, attempt to censor and prosecute artists abroad. The Freemuse report describes how violent militants as well as peaceful civil society groups target artists and audiences by very different means, but with the same intent of stifling artistic expression; how women, as well as LGBT artists, are discriminated against; and how even artist syndicates in some cases play the role of a censor. Claims of defending "traditional values" or "the interest of the state" are, in many cases, driving arguments behind the violations.

Iran tops the list of countries that systematically violated and failed to secure artistic freedom in 2016, followed by Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China and Russia. These six countries combined account for 59% of the total serious violations on artistic freedom registered in 2016.

Freemuse registered 1,028 attacks on artists and violations of their rights in 2016 across 78 countries, continuing a worrying trend of artistic freedom increasingly coming under threat. "When populist and nationalist governments, as well as others in a position of power, forcefully try to secure a single dominant narrative, artists are at increased risk," said Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov. "Artistic expressions do not and should not fit into one frame. A healthy society needs alternative creative voices."

The report is available online at freemuse.org/ and artsfreedom.org/