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MU Supports Art Not Evidence Campaign

The campaign believes that art, and particularly rap music, should be protected as a fundamental form of freedom of expression, and should not be used to unfairly implicate individuals in criminal charges.

Published: 04 January 2024 | 4:34 PM
Silhouette of a rap artist on stage. He performs to the crowd against smoke and bright lights.
The MU believes that to use art as evidence in criminal proceedings represents a dangerous precedent, and jeopardises creativity. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The MU’s Executive Committee has recently agreed for the Union to support Art Not Evidence, and sign the campaign’s open letter to the Secretary of State for Justice.

The campaign’s mission is to fight for a fairer criminal justice system by advocating for a restriction on the use of creative and artistic expression as evidence in criminal trials. The MU believes that to use art as evidence in criminal proceedings represents a dangerous precedent, and jeopardises creativity.

Through collaborating with musicians, community groups, and human rights organisations, Art Not Evidence campaigns for law reform and promotes the decriminalisation of rap music and creative expression more broadly. It does this with the hope of creating a more equitable and inclusive society that respects the freedom of artistic expression for all.

We are so pleased to be supporting the Art Not Evidence campaign

The MU has previously campaigned on issues related to racial profiling, including recent work with the Mayor of London’s Office and the Metropolitan Police, and successfully carried TUC and STUC motions highlighting discrimination in visa applications for musicians from the Global South.

Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary says: “We are so pleased to be supporting the Art Not Evidence campaign. This is an important piece of the puzzle in tackling race discrimination in the music industry, and highlights another way in which systemic biases act to specifically target Black artists, fans and music of Black origin.”

Elli Brazzill, founder and chair of the Art Not Evidence campaign said: "Art Not Evidence is thrilled to have the Musicians Union supporting our campaign. The use of creative expression as evidence in UK courts has already created countless miscarriages of justice for rap artists and sets a terrifying precedent for the future of freedom of expression for all musicians.

“We are excited to work together with the MU and their members to spread awareness of this injustice throughout the industry so we can further collaborate and devise solutions to protect the right to artistic expression.”

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