June 2016 theme: Censorship vs freedom of expression

Musicians in Africa and other parts of the world often find themselves at the forefront of popular movements, or as a mouthpiece for people who are otherwise silenced. Authorities, realizing musicians’ power to influence political change, often crack down on their freedom of expression by censoring music. At the other end of the spectrum, in relatively ‘free’ societies, musicians often push the limits of what is deemed acceptable, often at the risk of offending sensitive listeners and/or authorities. Understanding how to negotiate issues of censorship versus freedom of expression is therefore vital for musicians in any country. For this reason, we have chosen it as our theme for the month of June 2016.

Censorship vs freedom of expression. Photo: dunyanews.tv
Censorship vs freedom of expression. Photo: dunyanews.tv

Unlike our September 2015 theme that explored the music-related media industries of various  African countries in general, this month we have compiled content that speaks specifically to the theme of censorship versus freedom of expression. Below is a list of relevant content published on the site over the past year or two that is representative of this ongoing debate. This includes overview texts from certain countries where musicians are restricted to varying degrees in what they can or cannot say (such as Eritrea, Rwanda and Ethiopia), news articles of prominent recent cases of censorship, examples of musicians who are not afraid to speak out in the political arena, as well as some academic resources concerning South Africa’s historical legacy of censorship.

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