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18th January

  Undemocratic censorship...

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China blacklists 55 artists for their political allegiances
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Hocc 06-Our Time Has Come By Denise Ho China has blacklisted 55 artists, mostly musicians, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have participated in pro-democracy movements or expressed political views that China deems objectionable.

Works by some pop artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan disappeared from Chinese major streaming services, reported Global Times.

One artist on the list, Hong Kong singer Denise Ho, started seeing her music disappear from Chinese streaming services in September 2016. Trouble began for the singer in 2014 when she joined the pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign in Hong Kong (also known as the Umbrella Movement) and became the first celebrity to be arrested for her activism in the movement.

Taiwanese punk band Fire EX also made it on the list. The band had created songs for Taiwan's 2014 Sunflower Student Movement that protested a trade agreement with mainland China that protestors claimed would leave Taiwan economically vulnerable to Chinese pressure.

The blacklist also bans film directors and actors, eight Japanese artists, three US artists, one Australian band, one band from the Czech Republic, one Korean band, one Romanian band, and one Chinese band in exile. US punk band Strike Anywhere and Japanese punk rock band Softball were both part of an annual concert in Taiwan that is known for its anti-China stance.

 

27th October

  New Zealand's Electoral Commission on another planet...

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New Zealand appeals court upholds decision that the commission was wrong to censor a parody video about prime minister John Key
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planet key videoNew Zealand's Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court's decision to reverse the ban placed on Darren Watson's song, Planet Key , and its accompanying animated video by Jeremy Jones, which were released during New Zealand's 2014 general election and seen as political advertising rather than a parody on Prime Minister John Key.

The artists are happy with the outcome, but also frustrated with the two-year fight, which included them being threatened with referral to the police. The two men said in a statement:

There is also a sense of frustration at this point, as while the judgment vindicates the men's actions in 2014, it cannot reverse the fact that the Commission's actions prevented their works from being broadcast at the time they were most relevant. Ultimately though, they are hopeful that the decision might mean that other artists seeking to express their political views will receive more liberal treatment than they did, or even that the outcome might compel much-needed reform of the electoral law.

The Court of Appeal said the two men were simply expressing their own political views and not representing a political party.

The country's Electoral Commission told Watson in 2014 to stop selling or promoting the song as they viewed it as promotional political material. Watson took down the song and took the commission to court.

In April 2015 the High Court ruled against the commission's ban. Justice Denis Clifford said that such a ban would impose limits on the right of freedom of expression of the plaintiffs and New Zealand citizens more generally in a manner which, in my view, cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society .

The commission appealed the decision but the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision. The court told the commission it should be more rights-sensitive in its judgment and ordered it to pay Watson's costs.

 

3rd October

  Clubbers vs clubbers...

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Faroe Islands band banned in German clubs over connections with whaling
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tyr valkerieViking heavy metal band, Týr, from the Faroe Islands, have had at least six concerts of their 17-date November European tour supporting Norwegian metal band Sirenia cancelled over lead singer Heri Joensen's participation in the Faroese practice of whaling.

According to heavy metal news site MetalTalk.net, venue owners of club Logo in Hamburg issued the following statement about their cancellation:

It came to our attention only after the official confirmation of the show that the head of the band plays an active part in Grindwaljad [whale hunting] in the Faroe Islands, a practice that we abhor deeply. Such people will naturally not play on our stage.

Týr gigs are no longer listed on the websites of five venues in Germany, including Logo in Hamburg, Postbahnhof in Berlin, Alte Zucherfabrik in Rostock, Café Central in Weinheim and Essigfabrik in Cologne, as well as the Gebr de Nobel venue in Leiden, Netherlands.