Français | Español

Report on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creation

14 March 2013
Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
To the Human Rights Council at its 23rd session


"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.

For her 2013 report to the Human Rights Council, 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.

The Special Rapporteur addresses the multi-faceted ways in which the right to the freedom indispensable for artistic expression and creativity may be curtailed. She reflects upon the growing worldwide concern that artistic voices have been or are being silenced by various means and in different ways.

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 encourages States to critically review their legislation and practices imposing restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity. States should take into consideration their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil this right. The Special Rapporteur notes that more discussion is urgently needed on this issue.

Learn more about the rights related to artistic freedom and creativity


In order to assess achievements and challenges related to the right to artistic freedom, the Special Rapporteur prepared a questionnaire and sent it to States, United Nations agencies, academics and civil society organizations.

Read the note verbale and questionnaire

Inputs received

Member States of the United Nations

National human rights institutions

Individuals and civil society organisations

Other contribution

Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights
Recent thematic reports
Issues in Focus
Contact Information

Alexandra Xanthaki, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Telephone: +41 22 917 96 30
Fax: +41 22 917 90 06

Subscribe to the mailing list

To subscribe to the Special Rapporteur's mailing list, please send an email to, with the title "mailing list of the Special Rapporteur".

Others Involved
External Links