13:39, February 03 339 0 theguardian.com

2019-02-03 13:39:08
Stop criminalising our musicians

We note the recent conviction of two young musicians, and wish to register our serious concern at the increasing use of so-called “gang injunctions” as a means of policing artistic expression (‘They made us criminals for making music’, G2, 1 February). These injunctions are demonstrably ineffective at tackling youth violence, and present a threat to all our civil liberties. The injunction that precipitated the conviction of these two artists was alarming in its breadth. As with other injunctions used against “gangs” and “gang-related” activity under the Policing and Crime Act 2009, it did not simply prohibit incitement to violence but banned references to individuals, events and places. We’ve seen other injunctions used to ban musicians from even making work that could be seen as “encouraging” violence, again under threat of criminalisation. How many now-celebrated artists and poets and polemicists would survive such limitations?

Incitement to violence is rightly an existing offence, but these injunctions go much further than this. We condemn this suppression: silencing one of the few avenues, through threat of criminalisation, by which young people can discuss the reality of their lives with any hope of being heard. The heavy-handed policing of music, and the structurally racist outcomes that follow from it, are not new. There is also a wealth of evidence to prove that limiting civil liberties in an attempt to appear tough on crime does not work. We call on the Metropolitan police to stop seeking these repressive and counterproductive injunctions. All artists should be afforded the same rights to freedom of speech and creative expression.

Corey Stoughton Acting director, Liberty

Jodie Ginsberg CEO, Index on Censorship

Liz Feteke Director, Institute of Race Relations

Temi Mwale Director, 4Front Project

Richard Garside Director, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Suresh Grover Director, The Monitoring Group

Kevin Blowe Coordinator, Network for Police Monitoring

Ilyas Nagdee NUS Black Students Campaign

Sarah Lasoye Women’s officer, NUS Women’s Campaign

Joshua Virasami Black Lives Matter

Andy Gregg CEO, Race on the Agenda

Jasmine Dotiwala Broadcaster

Paul Gilroy

Harry Stopes London Campaign Against Police and State Violence

Jan Cunliffe Co-founder, Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association JENGbA

Linda Maitland #Grime4Corbyn

Estella Schmid Campaign Against Criminalising Communities

Samantha Asumadu Founder, Media Diversified

Elif Sarican Kurdistan Students Union

Amanda Fernandez Creative Director, FerArts

Crispin Parry British Underground

Lois Clifton Materialist Lawyers

Halimo Hussain Decolonising Our Minds

Miranda Pannell Artists for Palestine

A Singh Consented

Drilliminster Drill artist

Saskilla Grime artist

Mykaell Riley Principle investigator, Bass Culture Research, University of Westminster

AWATE Rapper

Matt Foot Solicitor, Birnberg Peirce and Partners

Rachel Harger Solicitor, Bindmans LLP

James Mehigan Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Michael Etienne Barrister

Malia Bouattia Activist and journalist

Dalia Gebrial Editor, Novara Media

James Butler Head of audio, Novara Media

Paul Field Writer and Lawyer

Ash Sarkar Journalist

Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper Department of geography, King’s College London

Dr Lambros Fatsis Lecturer in sociology and criminology

Tanzil Chowdhury Lecturer in public law, Queen Mary’s University London

Dr Kojo Koram Lecturer, Birkbeck School of Law

Remi Joseph-Salisbury University of Manchester

Sivamohan Valluvan University of Warwick

Dr Marika Rose University of Winchester

Dr Luke de Noronha Associate Lecturer, Birkbeck College

Jas Nijjar Brunel University London

Dr Musab Younis Lecturer in international relations, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Naaz Rashid University of Sussex

D Sita Balani Lecturer, King’s College London

KeremNis¸ancıog˘lu Lecturer, Soas, University of London

Prof Virinder Kalra University of Warwick

Dr Fatima Rajina Lecturer, Kingston University

Leon Sealey-Huggins Lecturer, University of Warwick

Karis Campion University of Manchester

Dr Majed Akhter King’s College London

Dr Sam Burgum Sheffield University

Dr Amber Murrey University of Oxford

Dr Monique Charles

Dr Robert Jeffery Sheffield Hallam

Dr Sofia Mason

Dr Asim Qureshi Researcher

Ope Adegbulu Lecturer

Timesh Pillay

Dharmi Kapadia Lecturer

Prof Vron Ware Kingston University

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