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The Use of Legitimate Tools for Illegitimate Restrictions of Artistic Expression

December 9, 2021 @ 10:15 am - 1:00 pm

The aim of this workshop is to discuss the connection between human rights, cultural rights, and freedom of artistic expression. It addresses the issue of the protection of artistic expression under existing international human rights instruments. The focus is put on mechanisms through which governments suppress artists’ voices by abusing legitimate grounds for restricting freedom of expression, including the protection of public morality, safety, or order. Authorities in many countries tent to routinely interfere in the sphere of arts and culture by scrutinising artistic and creative expressions and misusing different notions – such as insult of religious sentiments, public officials, or state symbols – to censor, prosecute and in other ways silence artists. The workshop includes the analysis of cases of violation of artistic freedom which exemplify repercussions against artists who challenge political elites in their country or question deeply rooted social constructs on gender, sexuality, nudity, blasphemy, etc.

Jasmina Lazović is a human rights activist and Freemuse Programme Coordinator Global Monitoring. She has extensive experience in advocating for the improvement of laws on human and minority rights throughout the Western Balkans region. Prior to joining Freemuse, Jasmina was often involved in organising festivals using arts and culture to raise awareness about human rights violations.

Required reading:

State of Artistic Freedom Report 2021, Freemuse, February 2021, Copenhagen, pp. 29-87.


Painting the Rainbow: How LGBTI freedom of artistic expression is dined, Freemuse, December 2020, Copenhagen, pp. 41-62.

Creativity Wronged: How women’s right to artistic freedom is denied and marginalised, Freemuse, November 2018, Copenhagen, pp. 26-35.

Suppressing artistic expression through blasphemy laws, Freemuse, May 2021, Copenhagen.

Partner organisations:

Freemuse: https://freemuse.org/

Swiss Young Academy, project The Future of Human Rights: https://swissyoungacademy.ch/en/laufendeprojekte/projekt1/

Marie Skłodowska
Curie Actions, research project ONTOMUSIC
: https://msc.hypotheses.org/ontomusic

| Taking the Humanities on the Road:


Registrations to: michael.toggweiler@wbkolleg.unibe.ch


Mittelstrasse 43, 3012 Bern, Room 216
Mittelstrasse 43
Bern, 3012
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