Moroccan Artist Has a Bad Rap With Authorities

October 17, 2015

Officials have repeatedly prevented rapper Mouad “El Haqed” Belghouat from performing in Morocco. Generally speaking, Arabic hip hop comes in two categories. There are rappers in the Gulf who like to brag about how great it is to be really, really rich. Then there are artists in places like...

Iranian Filmmakers Defiant in Face of Censorship and Control

July 26, 2015

Despite censorship, female directors are determined to join with their male counterparts to bring Iranian cinema to the world. *  Female filmmakers in Iran are taking incredible risks in the face of censorship and government control to...

The Great Firewall of China

June 03, 2015

The battle to define China's international image as a reservoir of culture, innovation and talent is taking place through online music videos. China has always been a land of contrasts. The most obvious example of this is the rampant capitalism under a nominally communist government. Another...

India Doesn’t Need a Nanny

March 26, 2015

Indian society benefits from a meaningful and frank dialogue on women's rights, not censorship. It was in the mid-1980s that Margaret Thatcher famously spoke of denying terrorists the "oxygen of publicity." True, this was and is easier said than done. Terrorists — or even everyday criminals...

War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

December 06, 2014

Propaganda is no longer an “invisible government” – it is the government. Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do The New York Times and The Washington Post...

Burning, Banning, and Banishing: Spectacles of Intolerance in South Asia

September 03, 2014

Banning and burning books makes for colorful spectacles to which the notion of rationality vis-à-vis free expression falls casualty. December 25 is a date with sacred value for the Dalit community in India, as it is so for Christian communities all over the world. On December 25, 1927, Baba...

Gray Areas: Book Banning and Censorship in China

August 15, 2014

In modern China, the struggle for free expression is a complicated game fraught with ambiguities. China is no stranger to the scrutiny of cultural critics and human rights activists. The country’s leadership is well-known for restricting free expression in the arts and literature openly and...

Book Burning and Censorship in Revolutionary England

August 10, 2014

During the English Revolution, authorities could no longer burn people, but they could still burn their books. What historians chose to write about is often informed not just by their intellectual interests, but also by present-day concerns. Sometimes those connections are drawn subtly. But on...

Chile and Romania: Censorship in Dictatorships

August 01, 2014

Dictatorships enforce control in every realm of life, including the arts. Dictatorships enforce a program for the arts, as they do for all other domains of human life. The divergent regimes of Augusto Pinochet — who governed Chile between 1973-90 with a right wing military government that...

Literary Censorship: A Nigerian Case Study

July 15, 2014

In Nigeria, close monitoring of the arts and literary scenes by authorities dates back to military rule. When the film adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s literary masterpiece, Half of a Yellow Sun, was announced, many Nigerians cheered. For those who had read the book, it meant seeing Olanna...

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