UN to Host Forum on ‘Defending Artistic Expression’ in March 2015


The United Nations Working Group on Promoting Freedom of Opinion and Expression is organizing a special open event on Defending Artistic Expression set to hold on March 6, 2015.

This event is led by Article 19, International Centre Against Censorship and scheduled for 10:00 – 12:00 at Palais des Nations, Geneva in Room XXIII. It is a key side event at the Human Rights Council’s 28th regular session at the United Nations in Geneva which is to hold March 2 to 27, 2015.

The event will discuss the concerns regarding censorship of artistic expression by different governments and organizations. A panel of experts, moderated by Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, Ambassador Maria Leissner, and Senior Director for Law and Policy at Article 19, Barbora Bukovska, will bring together the following speakers:

  • David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, United Nations
  • Issa Nyaphaga, Performance artist, Cameroon
  • Zunar, Political Cartoonist, Malaysia
  • Nadia Plesner, Artist, Denmark
  • Nathalia Kaliada, Co-Founder of Belarus Free Theatre, Belarus

The event is open to the public. Representatives of diplomatic missions, non-governmental organizations and media active in Geneva are welcome to attend.

Artists play a critical role in all societies, exercising freedom of expression in its most direct form to exchange ideas, transmit culture, inspire, pose questions, and to give a voice to the voiceless. Art transcends linguistic and cultural barriers, and in the digital age its reach is unprecedented. Art today is one of the most powerful tool to challenge the status quo and rebuke authoritarianism, to stand up for human rights, and to defiantly evoke freedom where repression seeks to dominate.