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by World Music Network June 08, 2012


Freemuse - The World Forum On Music And Censorship

Freemuse is an “independent international organisation which advocates freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide”. With the all the good work they are providing for musicians in need, they deserve as much attention, support and awareness as possible.


The organisation is based in Denmark where it was founded after the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship in Copenhagen in 1998. Their website has been a platform ever since for the musical freedom of expression, some of the artists listed on the website include Aziza BrahimBjörk and Ali Farka Touré. You can listen to 'the banned', and read about up to date news on artists and other musical events related to freedom of speech. Freemuse is involved in several international campaigns for musicians in need, gives press conferences and lectures world wide and publishes reports, articles and a bi-yearly newsletter.

Each day, Freemuse receives several alerts such as the recent attack on rap artists in Angola, or a video on the internet announcing a death threat to Iranian singer Shahin Najafi. In order to help artists under threat, Freemuse does not only provide advice and legal support, it also sends out alerts to regional network members or human right defenders to help with the investigation of cases. Some cases are closed within freemusetwo weeks, others need unfortunately more time.  The organisation is able to do so through funding from several organisations such as Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), The Sigrid Rausing Trust and Roskilde Festival Charity Society; “much of the funding goes into …. “invisible” work, which in some cases may save lives, but doesn’t make any headlines”. 

Below, an interview with Azerbaijani singer songwriter Azer Cirttan (also pictured above) on the contradictions of the Eurovision songfestival which took place last month in the capital Baku, whilst many Azerbaijani artists fled the country or were exiled. Azer Cirttan's concerts were cancelled and fled the country with his family to find greater freedom of speech.