Subscribe to FIM Newsletter

Egypt | Freedom of expression undermined once again

Mahraganat concert

President of the Egyptian Musicians’ Union Hany Shaker has once more made the head­lines by depriv­ing sev­er­al of his mem­bers of the right to per­form their art, judged to be incom­pat­i­ble with pub­lic morals.

In 2016, the same Shaker had already exclud­ed six women musi­cians accused of wear­ing inde­cent cloth­ing and per­form­ing las­civ­i­ous pos­es dur­ing their stage per­for­mances. This time, it is a style of music which has come under fire, a style that is increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar in the coun­try: the mahra­ganat, an elec­tric folk music which, to begin with, orig­i­nat­ed in the poor­est districts.

Mr Shaker’s organ­i­sa­tion, which pre­tends to be a “union”, has threat­ened legal pro­ceed­ings against estab­lish­ments which vio­late its deci­sion to ban mahra­ganat from Egypt’s music landscape.

Hany Shaker’s deci­sion vio­lates both the right to free­dom of expres­sion and labour rights

As a sig­na­to­ry of ILO core con­ven­tions, Egypt is sup­posed to guar­an­tee the right of work­ers to organ­ise in unions which are bound to pro­tect their mem­bers from any attack against such right.

Hany Shaker’s deci­sion vio­lates both the right to free­dom of expres­sion and labour rights. In this aspect, it is con­trary to the most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of the inter­na­tion­al labour move­ment and con­tra­venes the oblig­a­tions result­ing from con­ven­tions rat­i­fied by Egypt.

As it did in 2016 for sim­i­lar events, FIM firm­ly con­demns Mr. Shaker’s deci­sion. It urges the Egyptian Musicians’ Union and its mem­bers to dis­as­so­ci­ate them­selves from this deci­sion and express their sup­port for the musi­cians in question.

Additional infor­ma­tion and videos are avail­able here.

Share This