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The right to artistic freedom


"Nadia Plesner's drawing Simple Living(2007) was inspired by the artist's reaction to mass media prioritizing between world matters and celebrity gossip. Sued by Louis Vuitton, Nadia Plesner fought to include references to status symbols in her art works, and was declared by a court in the Hague to be free to exhibit the drawing." With the courtesy of the artist.

In her fifth thematic report (A/HRC/23/34), the Special Rapporteur focused on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creation, which includes the right of all persons to freely experience and contribute to artistic expressions and creations, through individual or joint practice, to have access to and enjoy the arts, and to disseminate their expressions and creations. This report addresses laws and regulations restricting artistic freedoms as well as economic and financial issues significantly impacting on such freedoms. The underlying motivations are most often political, religious, cultural or moral, or lie in economic interests, or are a combination of those. The Special Rapporteur studied in detail the international framework on possible limitations to artistic freedom, and also stressed positive obligations of States in support of the right of people to enjoy the arts and their artistic freedoms. The Special Rapporteur encouraged States to critically review their legislation and practices imposing restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity, taking into consideration their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil this right.

Public consultation on the right to artistic freedom, 6 December 2012

Note verbale and questionnaire

Responses to the questionnaire

Side event, 3 June 2013

Further developments:

Presentation by the Special Rapporteur at the European Parliament, Artistic freedom, Brussels, 2 October 2013

Useful links:

ARTerial
Article XIX
ArtsFreedom
Coalition for Cultural Diversity
ECSA - European Composer and Songwriter Alliance
Freemuse
NCAC - National Coalition Against Censorship
Observatoire de la liberté de création
Pen International
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression