The State of Artistic Freedom in Europe

January 21, 2019, 12:30 pm | January 21, 2019, 2:30 pm
January 21, 2020
Room ASP 5G305, European Parliament | Brussels
Room ASP 5G305, European Parliament | Brussels

Towards a New Agenda on Freedom of Artistic Expression

Hosted by MEPs Dòmenec Ruiz Devesa and Julie Ward

12:30 – 14:30, Tuesday, 21 of January 2020

room ASP 5G305

Artists may entertain people, but they also contribute to social debates, sometimes bringing counter-discourses and potential counterweights to existing power centres.” The former Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, 2013

Freemuse has documented an alarming scale of violations of artistic freedom and sanctions against artists across Europe. Between January 2018 to October 2019, 179 acts of censorship happened in 27 countries. European cultural values are being challenged by social and political upheavals such as rise populism, shrinking space for civil society and expansion of new unregulated public spaces provided by digital technologies instrumentalised to restrict artistic freedom. This undermines fundamental freedoms of European citizens and the ideals of the European Union diversity and democracy.

Given these emerging developments, Freemuse in collaboration with Culture Action Europe is launching its first European report on the state of artistic freedom. The report first of its kind, outlines the emerging trends found to be particularly challenging in Europe in relation to freedom of artistic expression. At the launch, concrete actions and recommendations will be proposed to the European Parliament ensuring that the right to artistic expression is not only better protected but also crucially better promoted across the continent.


Moderation: MEP Dòmenec Ruiz Devesa

 12.30–12:45 Welcome

  • Welcome by Domènec Ruiz Devesa (MEP)
  • Opening remarks by Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chair of Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

12.45–12.50 Guest speaker: Elizbieta Podlesna, Pychotherapist and civil rights activist

12.50–13.00 Towards a new legal understanding on artistic freedom

  • Louise Haxthausen, UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels.
  • Introduction to the EU legislative framework on freedom of Artistic Expression by Yamam Al Zubeidi, Culture Action Europe.

13.00–13.20 The Freemuse “Security, Creativity, Tolerance and their Co-existence: The New European Agenda on Freedom of Artistic Expression” report

  • Introductory remarks by Jessica Nordström, Swedish Postcode Foundation.
  • Presentation of the report “Security, Creativity, Tolerance and their Co-existence: The New European Agenda on Freedom of Artistic Expression” by Srirak Plipat, Executive Director, Freemuse.

13.20–13:30 Recommendations from civil society with Srirak Plipat, Executive Director, Freemuse, Tere Badia, Culture Action Europe

13:30–14:00 Exchange of views with Members of the European Parliament

  • Anna Julia Donath (HU, Renew)
  • Niklas Nienass (DE, Greens/EFA)

14:00–14:20: Q&A with participants

14.20–14.30: Closing remarks by Julie Ward (MEP)

Light lunch is provided during the meeting.

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