Danish free speech advocacy group Freemuse has released its annual report, “Art Under Threat,” documenting the state of global artistic freedom in 2016. The report showed a sharp rise in attacks and censorship, with 1,028 violations of artistic freedom throughout 78 countries, up 119 percent from 2015.
Freemuse divides attacks on artistic freedom into “serious violations”—including killings, abductions, attacks, imprisonments, prosecutions and persecutions/threats—and acts of censorship. Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China, Malaysia, Syria, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan led in serious violations, while Ukraine, Kuwait, China, Egypt, India, Russia, Turkey, the U.S., Pakistan, and Iran accounted for the bulk of censorship cases.
The report reflects on the effects of rising populism and nationalism on artistic expression and cultural diplomacy. For instance, the Russia-Ukraine and India-Pakistan cases show how conflicts create hostilities against cultural exchange. 2016 also marked a startling increase in governments, specifically those of China and Turkey, attempting to censor and prosecute artists and art outside their own borders.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."