Zere Asylbek has been the recipient of several death threats over her attire in the music video for her song Kyz (Girl), which was written to generate public debate on gender inequality and women's rights in Kyrgyzstan. In the video
Asylbek is seen wearing a jacket and bra.
Freemuse calls for Kyrgyz authorities to ensure the safety of Asylbek and launch a criminal investigation into the threats. Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said:
It is Zere's right to use art to express herself and the issues she sees as critical for women without fear of being persecuted, threatened or harmed in any way. The government of Kyrgyzstan must protect freedom of artistic expression and ensure
that she is safe and can continue to have this important public conversation in her own country.
In a 19 September interview with Asylbek, the singer told Freemuse that there was a recent, famous case in Kyrgyzstan in which a girl, named Burulai, who was bride kidnapped--an ancient tradition where girls are kidnapped and forced into
marriage--died under police custody. The girl was left alone in a police station with the kidnapper who subsequently killed her. She explained that cases such as this and the general situation for women in the country is what inspired her to
write and perform her song.
Asylbek shared on her Facebook page some of the threats she's received as private messages via social media. One message she received on Instagram reads: If you don't remove the video and don't apologise to the Kyrgyz people, we will kill you
soon. This will be the first and last time. Another private message reads: I will gladly join and cut your head off.
Israel's public broadcaster has apologised to listeners after playing part of an opera by German composer Richard Wagner on 31 August 2018.
Classical music radio station Kol HaMusica (the Voice of Music) said its editor erred in choosing to play the final act of Wagner's Goetterdaemmerung (Twilight of the Gods) opera, which goes against the broadcaster's long-standing
directive not to play any music by the controversial 19-century figure, who was Adolf Hitler's favourite composer.
Wagner's music has been unofficially banned in what is now Israel since 1938. In addition to composing music, Wagner also wrote a pamphlet called Judaism in Music, in which he said that the Jew was incapable of artistic expression.
They are hardly the most controversial of bands, with their upbeat songs and wholesome Scandinavian image -- but it appears that even Abba have fallen foul of PC sensibilities.
The Swedish band has changed the lyrics to some of its classic hits to make them more acceptable to today's PC world. Tracks rerecorded for this summer's blockbuster movie, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, have been altered to remove any hint of
inappropriate relationships between young girls and older men.
The biggest change comes in the 1976 song When I Kissed The Teacher , about a female student besotted with her male teacher. It originally featured the line:
One of these days, Gonna tell him I dream of him every night. One of these days, Gonna show him I care. Gonna teach him a lesson alright.
But the film version changes the teacher's gender and the emphasis:
What a mad day, Now I see everything in a different light. What a mad day, I was up in the air. And she taught me a lesson alright.
Ex-Radio 1 DJ Mike Read commented:
Rock 'n roll was founded on young love and you can't rewrite history ....BUT... you can see why people have started looking at songs and asked, Should we still be playing that?
The Montreal International Jazz Festival has explained its decision to censor a show featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves.
Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont said the decision to abruptly cancel SLAV partway through its run was made for a mix of technical and human reasons, including security concerns raised by the escalating vitriol surrounding the show. He
also said that the show's star, Betty Bonifassi, had broken her ankle and indicated she was no longer able to continue.
He said that while many protesters were peaceful, the festival and the theatre where the show was performed were concerned by the aggression of some protesters and the rising division and anger surrounding the show. He said Bonifassi's decision
to not continue was prompted both by her injury and the criticism.
Dupont said the festival and the production company would absorb what he said would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses associated with cancelling the show, including paying the performers.
SLAV, one of the hottest tickets at this year's jazz festival, was the subject of protests claiming 'cultural appropriation' of black culture and history. It was described as a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs and a journey through
traditional Afro-American songs, from cotton fields to construction sites, railroads, from slave songs to prison songs.
Black activists denounced the show and its mostly-white cast, and U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the festival in protest.
Amid a storm of international media attention, the festival announced Wednesday it was cancelling the remaining performances and apologizing to anybody who had been hurt.
The renowned Quebec playwright Robert Lepage who directed the show criticized the decision to cancel it, calling it a direct blow to artistic freedom. He said in a statement that actors pretending to be someone else is at the very heart of
When we are no longer allowed to step into someone else's shoes, when it is forbidden to identify with someone else, theatre is denied its very nature, it is prevented from performing its primary function and is thus rendered meaningless.
The war on drill rages on. Some of its most popular videos have been banned from YouTube. 1011, a prominent rap group, is now banned from making music with any mention of death or injury, and must inform police about all upcoming videos and
In June, the police gained a court order that effectively bans drill music being made without their permission. However, even if YouTube has deemed the genre as too explicit or dangerous, it's not too explicit for Pornhub, where some drill videos
are now being uploaded.
DJ and presenter Tim Westwood's broadcasting of drill artists is turning up on Pornhub. His Crib Sessions with BSIDE , 1011 , and Zone have appeared on the adult film site, after being pulled down from YouTube, alongside a host of 1011's music
videos which made their way onto the site over the weekend.
Award winning rappers Farid Bang and Kollegah will not face prosecution over lyrics that referenced Auschwitz and the Holocaust .
A few people were offended when Kollegah and Farid Bang compared their bodies with those of Auschwitz prisoners, and also by a suggestion that they were doing another Holocaust.
However, prosecutors have said their artistic freedom was guaranteed by the constitution, and while the rap lyrics were deemed offensive, they did not amount to Holocaust denial or incitement of violence.
Dusseldorf prosecutor's office spokesman Ralf Herrenbruck told German media that while the words may have been vulgar, misogynistic and homophobic, it would not be possible to bring charges, saying it was neither an endorsement nor a
trivialisation of the Nazi regime and its genocide. A statement explained:
The comparison of a concentration camp inmate with their own body may be tasteless, but it does not represent denial of the Holocaust.
The two 'offending' lines from their latest album J BG3 (Young, brutal, good looking 3).
One track includes the words: My body is more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates.
Another has the lyric: I'm doing another Holocaust, coming with the Molotov.
Five gang members caught with machetes and baseball bats have been banned from making drill music glorifying violence.
Members of the 1011 gang were jailed or detained for conspiracy to commit violent disorder, in Notting Hill.
The Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs), thought to be the first of their kind, bans the group from mentioning death or injury in songs or on social media. Three leaders will also be required to inform police of new music videos and upcoming
Recorder Ann Mulligan at Kingston Crown Court issued the three-year CBOs, following an application by the Metropolitan Police's Trident gang unit.
Mic, a rapper and producer form north London, said the order sets an ugly precedent. He said:
There is a censorship problem in the country. There are a lot of young musicians in this country whose only outlet for expressing themselves is music. It might be violent but what do you expect in the Britain we're in right now?
Turkey's state media censor, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), fined two music stations last week over what it deemed explicit content in the lyrics of the song Wild Thoughts by American musician DJ Khaled and singer
Rihanna as well as Sex, Love & Water by Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren.
According to Hürriyet daily columnist Cengiz Semercioglu, Turkish music stations have been cutting or censoring foreign music videos, including sexy dance scenes, for a long time now. However, this is the first time that RTÜK has decided to issue
fines over the English lyrics. To understand them, one has to know English very well, Semercioglu added. The most obviously censorable lines from Willd Thoughts are:
Ayy, I heard that pussy for the taking
I heard it got these other niggas goin' crazy
Yeah I treat you like a lady, lady
Fuck you 'til you're burned out, cremation
Make it cream, yeah, Wu-Tang
Throw that ass back, bouquet
Call me and I can get it juicy
Semercioglu also said since RTÜK has started to issue fines over lyrics, TV and radio stations might not be able to find any songs to play and might even have to drop several movies from their lineup in order to avoid fines.
Last week, police arrested a Turkish rapper known as Ezhel for lyrics in his songs that "promoted drug use." Prosecutors were asking for up to 10 years in prison for the artist, whose real name is Ömer Sercan Ipekcioglu since the Prime
Ministry was receiving complaints about his videos on YouTube, the state agency wrote.
Spotify recently shared a new policy around hate content and conduct. And while we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn't spend enough time getting input from our own team and
key partners before sharing new guidelines.
It's important to note that our policy had two parts. The first was related to promotional decisions in the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies. As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to
interpretation. We created concern that an allegation might affect artists' chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future. Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.
That's not what Spotify is about. We don't aim to play judge and jury. We aim to connect artists and fans 203 and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that. Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their
decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners. That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist. Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from
implementing a policy around artist conduct.
The second part of our policy addressed hate content. Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As
we've done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We're not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content 203 we're talking about hate speech.
We will continue to seek ways to impact the greater good and further the industry we all care so much about. We believe Spotify has an opportunity to help push the broader music community forward through conversation, collaboration and action.
We're committed to working across the artist and advocacy communities to help achieve that.
A poster for Don Broco's album Technology , seen in February 2018, included an image of a figure in the style of a religious icon, with the face replaced by a snarling dog.
Two complainants, who believed the image to be of the Virgin Mary, objected that the ad would cause serious offence to Christians.
Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
Exterion Media (UK) Ltd did not believe the ad would cause serious or widespread offence to the public, particularly in the context of the product being advertised.
The ASA was concerned by Sony's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA understood that the image in the ad was reminiscent of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, a revered icon of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Christian faith, although it was not an alteration of a specific image. We acknowledged that some
members of the Christian faith would object to the use of the image in an ad, and in particular the replacement of the face with a snarling dog. However, we considered that it was clear the ad was for an album and that the image was being
presented as artwork in that context. We also considered that the image would not be seen as mocking or derogatory towards the Madonna or Christian faith in general, and there was nothing else within the ad which gave that impression. We
concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
UK police are drilling down on a genre of rap music that they claim is driving rising knife and gun crime in London.
YouTube has deleted about 30 of 50-60 targeted by the Metropolitan Police in a dedicated operation against drill music, which originated in Chicago and has become increasingly popular in Britain.
Senior officers say the videos, which frequently contain graphic threats and gun signs, glamourise violence. Detective Superintendent Mike West said the number of videos that incite violence have been increasing since late 2015.
The gangs try to outrival each other with the filming and content -- what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language with gangs threatening each other, he added. There are gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting
they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.
Scotland Yard has compiled a central database of more than 1,400 indexed videos that are used to gather intelligence. Anyone identified in the videos can be targeted with action including criminal behaviour orders that can prevent them from
associating with certain people, entering designated areas, wearing hoods or using social media and unregistered mobile phones.
Det Supt West said that only videos that raise the risk of violence are flagged, rather than drill music in general.
Beginning on May 10, Spotify users will no longer be able to find R. Kelly 's music on any of the streaming service's editorial or algorithmic playlists. Under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy Spotify
is putting into effect, the company will no longer promote the R&B singer's music in any way, removing his songs from flagship playlists like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday, for example, as well as its other genre- or
"We are removing R. Kelly's music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," Spotify told Billboard in a statement. "His music will still be available on the
service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don't censor content because of an artist's or creator's behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does
something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."
Over the past several years, Kelly has been accused by multiple women of sexual violence, coercion and running a "sex cult," including two additional women who came forward to Buzzfeed this week. Though he has never been convicted of a
crime, he has come under increasing scrutiny over the past several weeks, particularly with the launch of the #MuteRKelly movement at the end of April. Kelly has vociferously defended himself , saying those accusing him are an "attempt to
distort my character and to destroy my legacy." And while RCA Records has thus far not dropped Kelly from his recording contract, Spotify has distanced itself from promoting his music.
Earlier this month, Swedish streaming giant Spotify announced, that it would be introducing a policy on Hate Content and Hateful Conduct . The company left the policy intentionally vague, which allowed Spotify to remove artists from its playlists
at will. When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or playlisting it on our service, the company's PR team wrote in a statement at the time. They
added that R. Kelly -- who, over the course of his career, has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct -- would be among those affected.
Now, following a backlash from artists and label executives, Bloomberg reports that Spotify has decided to back off the policy a little. That means restoring the rapper XXXTentacion's music to its playlists, despite that he was charged with
battering a pregnant woman.
Part of the blowback has to do with the broad scope of the company's content policy, which seemed to leave the door open to policing artists' personal lives and conduct. We've also thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not
hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example,
violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.
Spotify says R Kelly will remain banned from its playlists.
A woman from Liverpool has been found guilty of sending a supposedly grossly offensive message after posting rap lyrics on Instagram.
The post referenced lyrics from Snap Dogg's I'm Trippin' to pay tribute to a 13-year-old boy who had died in a road crash in 2017. It is not clear exactly which words were deemed to 'hate crimes' but the words 'bitch' and 'nigga' seem to
be the only relevant candidates.
Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of the woman's Instagram update (on a public profile), which was received by hate crime unit PC Dominique Walker. PC Walker told the court the term the woman had used was grossly offensive to
her as a black woman and to the general community.
The Liverpool Echo reported that the woman's defence had argued the usage of the word had changed over time and it had been used by superstar rapper Jay-Z in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival.
The woman was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and fined £585.
Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order as it was a 'hate crime'.
Offsite Comment: Now it's a crime to quote rap lyrics? Censorship in Britain is out of control.
Brendan O'Neill notes that these are the lyrics she quoted:
Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin.
Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin''.
I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga.'
We now live under a bizarre tyranny of self-esteem, where hurt feelings can lead to court cases, and where the easily offended can marshal the state to crush those who dared to offend them. An unholy marriage between our wimpish offence-taking
culture and a state desperate to be seen as caring and purposeful has nurtured an insidious new censorship that targets everything from comedy and rap to criticism of Islam or strongly stated political views.
Two members of veteran Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ were detained on terrorism charges ahead of show in Georgia last Thursday, after authorities accused them of practising satanism, their record label has said.
According to a statement from Season of Mist, frontman Sakis Tolis was detained alongside his brother, drummer Themis, after being arrested on arrival in Tbilisi on charges allegedly relating to their band name. Sakis explains:
After the regular document check at the border, my brother and I were stopped by the police on our way out from the airport. After some minutes, we were ordered to follow police to another area of the airport under the pretence of further
questioning before entering the country. Instead, we had our passports and mobile phones taken away and were led into a prison cell.
When we demanded to be told the reason for this arrest, we were simply told this information would be 'confidential'. Our lawyers informed us later that we are on a list of unwanted persons [regarded a threat to] national security that branded
us as satanists and therefore suspects of terrorism.
Sakis says the pair were locked in a small and rather dirty cell, and without being permitted any contact to the outside world or legal representation or our embassy for 12 hours, before the promoters of the RedRum event , Sweden's Terror Crew
Promotions and Georgia's Locomotive Promotion, intervened and the band were released without charge.
Due to the hard work of the local promoter, who involved legal experts, journalists, and activists in Georgia, we were finally released, he explains. We are extremely grateful to everybody involved in this process. In the end, we were even able
to perform our show and it turned out to be a fantastic night.
Brit Awards viewers were left baffled after parts of rap star Kendrick Lamar's performance were muted by ITV.
What's the point in having Kendrick Lamar perform on #BRITS if you're going to mute him every other word? tweeted JP, voicing the discontent of many.
Many assumed that Lamar's songs Feel and New Freezer were muted due to bad language. But it seems the main issues were references to drugs and oral sex. Some muted sections featured mentions of bad dope and cocaine white.
The US rapper himself actually changed the most overt bad language in his lyrics - but fell foul of the censor's button for the drug words and oblique slang references to oral sex.
Lamar's performance at the Brit Awards in London was broadcast on ITV on Wednesday almost an hour past the 9pm watershed. Yet the decision was made to mute the audio 10 times during his performance .
Asked about the decision to mute parts of the songs, ITV said the ceremony was broadcast to a wide audience. A spokeswoman said:
We have always used a short time delay and audio muting to deal with language viewers may consider unsuitable.
Lamar's performance also included a man taking a baseball bat to the windshield of an expensive-looking sports car.
On Thursday morning, TV censor Ofcom said it had received 74 complaints from viewers about Lamar's segment - some of whom feared this might incite criminal behaviour and property damage, and some complaining about implied bad language.
BBC music reporter Mark Savage described the car stunt as the evening's biggest metaphor failure, explaining:
His intention was to make a statement about the emptiness of status symbols and the trappings of fame. But, with most viewers unable to hear his lyrics, it came off as 'I'm so rich I can afford to smash up this very expensive car live on TV.'
Update: Ofcom not interested
5th March 2018.
Ofcom noted a final tally of 89 complaints but were not interested in taking matters further.
The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld a decision to jail a rapper for three and a half years for a song deemed to have glorified terrorism and insulted the crown, sparking a debate about freedom of expression in the country.
The court rejected arguments by little-known rapper Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, stage name Valtonyc, that his songs were protected by freedom of expression laws, when ratifying a sentence handed down last February.
Among the lyrics deemed criminal were: Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country, a reference to violence against police officers in the region by the now-disarmed Basque separatist group ETA.
Valtonyc went on to fantasize about the king having a rendez-vous at the village square, with a noose around his neck. In another track Valtonyc referenced a Spanish politician and aristocrat involved in a corruption scandal about forcing
her to see how her son lives among rats.
The Tourism and Antiquities Police have referred a Russian belly dancer Eicatrina Andreeva, who goes by the name Gawhara, to investigations for wearing a 'non-standard' dancing suit A controversy arose over how the ideal dancing suit should
According to Act No. 430 of the law on the censorship of literary works, the dancing suit should cover the lower body, with no side slits, and should cover the breast and stomach area.
The Russian dancer was arrested over inciting 'debauchery and arousing young people's sexual instincts', as she appeared in a not particularly sexy dancing video that has gone viral.
Accompanied by a translator during her investigations, Gawhara added that she was wearing a dancing suit no different than those donned by many belly dancers in Egypt.
The Tourism and Antiquities Police stated that Gawhara was wearing a non-standard dancing outfit and was featured in a viral video flaunting her body and pointing to private parts of her body in a racy manner, according to the findings of
preliminary investigation previously announced by the prosecution.
Egyptian authorities have arrested another female singer on charges of incitement to debauchery after her music video sparked controversy.
Leila Amer will be detained for four days while authorities investigate the video to the song Boss Oumek (Look At Your Mother) which includes supposedly suggestive dancing and gestures.
Ahmed Mahran, the lawyer who filed a complaint, argues the video poses a great risk to Egyptian society and especially young people.
Musicians' union president Hany Shaker, a male singer known for his conservative stance, last week announced on the private channel Dream TV that Amer had been expelled from the union, effectively ending her career as a musician.
Egyptian female singer and dancer Fatima, popularly known as Eghraa was arrested on 20 December 2017 on charges of inciting debauchery and violating public decency for the viral music video of her song I Want a Man in which she is seen
dancing provocatively in revealing clothing, reported Egyptian news sources .
The artist's trial has been adjourned until 23 January 2018. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison. This is the second time that the singer has been arrested on charges of inciting debauchery and facilitating prostitution,
The Papua New Guinea Office of Censorship has banned three local songs with lyrics deemed as inappropriate for listeners.
Chief Censor Steven Mala revealed that the three songs are Sigarapim saksak, Private Nangu and Meri Sunam by Jaro local.
The ban follows complaints on social media regarding the song Sigarapim saksak and the other two songs.
Chief Censor Steven Mala's description of the songs was harmful and not listener friendly, especially to the younger audience.
The Chief Censor has invited the concerned artists behind the banned songs to have an open dialogue with his office if they feel the need to justify why their songs should not be banned. We don't want be seen as we are just there to penalize any
musicians, we want to work together with them in becoming professionals in the Music Industry and not just allowing them to produce something that is offensive to the public
Life-size pillows of the K-Pop group GFriend have caused 'concern' in South Korea. Goods that are tribute to K-pop girl band GFriend have angered fans because the objects can apparently be used as sex toys.
The life-size bolster pillows, 180 centimetres long and 60 centimetres wide with a full body image of each member colour-printed on top, are the target of a little ludicrous outrage.
A few people whinged that the goods for encouraging fans to hug the objects and perhaps do more than just hugging them.
They claim that the objects reminded them of Japanese dakimakura pillows which are adorned with life size sexy characters from manga or anime.
A few fans on the band's social network site said that they would boycott the band's merchendise. The boycott movement carries the hashtag #GFRIEND_goods_not buying.
Source Music said online it had decided to withdraw the products from sale.
Apparently merchandise has become a new barometer of popularity among K-pop fans and that sales are best not disrupted by anything controversial.