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Twenty-two countries take up World Music Freedom Day on 3 March

Tahrir Square's
Tahrir Square's "revolutionary singer" Ramy Essam was one of this year's participants in World Music Freedom Day

Issra Wasfy

From New York to Cairo, from Istanbul to Accra: Music Freedom Day 2012 was marked on 3 March across 22 countries to advocate musical freedom of expression worldwide.

The day provides an opportunity to recognise the hundreds of musicians who are imprisoned, censored and persecuted because of their music or song lyrics, says the organiser Freemuse, an international organisation advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers.

In Cairo, Tahrir Square's "revolutionary singer" Ramy Essam spoke - and sang - about how little has changed after Egypt's uprisings. "The earnings of the 18 days started to decrease right after we left the square," lamented Essam, who became one of the stars of the revolution with his songs calling for Mubarak to step down. He said that he could no longer sing freely in Tahrir Square like he did during the sit-in last year.

IFEX member the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) teamed up with the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) to appeal to Ghanaians to protect and respect the free expression rights of musicians. In Ghana, musicians like Jewel Ackah and Daddy Lumba have faced threats, insults and intimidation for composing songs for political parties of their choice during elections campaigns.

This year, Freemuse created seven special Music Freedom Reports that look at music censorship in seven countries, including West Papua, Azerbaijan and Pakistan. Check them out here.

Find out how other people celebrated Music Freedom Day here.
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  • MFWA-MUSIGA statement marking Music Freedom Day

    In Ghana, musicians have faced threats, insults and intimidation from opposing political party activists for composing songs for political parties of their choice during election campaigns.

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