Calling all artists.

Posted: October 18, 2011 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

Calling all individuals, companies and NGO’s involved in film, theatre, music, visual art, literature and dance in South Africa. Have you a story, incident, or comment, to share with regards to constraints of freedom of expression – especially in the arts sector? Or are you and/or your organisation working towards promoting or defending human rights? This may be broader than just the arts community.

I am compiling a fascinating Artwatch Africa Research Project on the status of freedom of expression, human rights, and the pulse of the arts, in South Africa.

Below are some points ( in blue) that I still need some comment on.

Please inbox me or send an e-mail to, if you are interested in participating. It can be as little as listing your company or yourself as an artist, journalist, blogger, poet, etc that works towards promoting human rights in South Africa, to forwarding your stories and comments.


1.National laws
1.1provide information about the country’s ratification of international instruments that promote and protect freedom of creative expression
1.2provide information about the country’s constitution and its protection – or not – of freedom of creative expression
1.3provide information about any existing law that governs/affects freedom in producing or distributing art in all its forms (film, theatre, music, visual art, literature, dance, etc)
1.4provide information about any legal mechanism – national, regional or local – that plays a censorship role with regard to the freedom of creative expression and distribution
1.5provide information about any laws and/or legal mechanism that control to seek to censor the media – television, radio, print, web, etc – thereby potentially impacting directly or indirectly on the arts
1.6provide concrete examples of how artists have been, or are affected by these

2.Religious, cultural and other traditions
2.1provide information about religious and/or traditions laws that impact negatively on freedom of creative expression.
2.2provide concrete examples of how artists have been, or are affected by these

3.Informal forms of censorship
3.1provide information about ways in which artists are censored or have their freedoms adversely affected that are not legally or culturally based e.g. political or other forms of intimidation
3.2provide information about ways in which accessing public funds or other perks are used to intimidate or censor artists

4.Human rights organisations
4.1to provide contact details of human rights organisations active in the country
4.1.1international organisations e.g. Amnesty International
4.1.2national organisations e.g. Lawyers for Human Rights
4.1.3local organisations
4.2to provide contact details of arts organisations working in the field of human rights or in defence and promotion of human rights
4.3to provide contact details of media (journalists, newspapers, bloggers, etc) working to promote or defend human rights

5.Examples of contraventions of freedom of creative expression
5.1provide concrete examples of artists who have suffered under the contravention of freedom of expression by
5.1 political authorities
5.2 religious authorities
5.3 cultural practices
5.4 economic or other forms of censorship
5.5 fellow artists or arts organisations



Artwatch Africa is a project of Arterial Network, an Africa-wide civil society network of artists, cultural activists, creative enterprises, cultural NGOs and others engaged in the development of the African creative sector in its own right, and as a means to contribute to human rights, democracy and the eradication of poverty in Africa. Artwatch Africa – the establishment of which has been made possible by Mimeta Foundation – will monitor and campaign around the practice of, and constraints on freedom of creative expression in Africa.

Responsibility: To ensure thorough and robust mapping of research related to freedom of expression on the continent. To ensure designated countries are equally researched and gaps identified. To ensure research is done in an ethical manner and all sources acknowledged and documented properly. To send comprehensive and timeous progress reports on a weekly basis.

Many thanks,



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