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Algerian artists launch petition for freedom of expression

Algerian artists and intellectuals call for freedom of creativity and an end to strict controls by the culture ministry

Ahram Online, Tuesday 22 May 2012
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Views: 1564

Algerian artists and intellectuals has created an open petition calling for freedom of expression. The opening statement petition by the Call for the Respect of Freedom of Artistic Expression and of Cultural Action in Algeria, said, "For many years now, the cultural sector in Algeria has suffered from the hegemonic control of a single authority which stifles creativity, takes over the spaces of artistic expression in their entirety and locks up the field of cultural action: the Ministry of Culture."

Artists oppose the "institutionalisation of artistic events, the limitation of broadcast licenses for films and licenses for events, the patronage policy and invitation cards."

"The Ministry of Culture doesn't hesitate to threaten and intimidate any citizen who does something not officially 'approved'."

The petition concludes: "We, Algerian intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists, artists and writers, the majority of whom are young, ring the alarm and request that the ministry lifts its control over the cultural sector and lets the independent/civil cultural artistic stakeholders undertake their projects freely.

"In addition we urge international organizations… to press the Ministry of Culture to loosen the net around creative forces in Algeria."

The petition was written in French, Arabic and English.

Within 24 hours, 46 cultural activists had signed the petition.  Signatures included a large number of arts journalists, as well as writers, photojournalists, scriptwriters, filmmakers, songwriters, and others.

 

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