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FREEMUSEFreedom of Musical Expression
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As Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov explained after the launch of the report at Cairo's Townhouse Rawabet Theatre on May 21, "the censorship practices in Egypt [are] a labyrinth where you know how to enter but do not know how to exit.
It may not be difficult to silence the individual musician but you can't really silence their songs," Freemuse co-founder Ole Reitov told Reuters by phone.
Freemuse was founded in the late 1990s to document censorship in music, raise awareness of the problem and offer support to the musicians and their families.
While huge organizations like Amnesty International campaign on behalf of political prisoners, Freemuse, which has just six full-time and part-time staff and struggles for funding, remains the only international organization dedicated to campaigning against music censorship.
In a recent report for Freemuse, Mark LeVine argues that music plays a role in the Middle East and North Africa similar to the role rock played in the velvet revolutions that toppled regimes in Eastern Europe.
According to a statement Estrella gave to the anti-censorship organization Freemuse, his torturers would say, "We know that you are not a member of the guerrilla, but you are worse, because with your piano, your 'charisma,' you can put the 'negrada' working class into your pocket.
The singer has not been able to perform since the ouster of the former president Mohamed Morsi, except for a small concert launching a report on Censorship and Creativity, which was organised by Freemuse and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression in June.
During the time of the Brotherhood, he could still work," said Ole Reitov, director of Freemuse, "but since the military took over, it has been very difficult.