New US visa policy could stifle outspoken artists on social media

Social media profiles are now required to obtain a visa

Advocacy groups in the US are concerned that the State Department’s new visa policies introduced on 31 May, which require almost all applicants to submit their social media profiles, email addresses and phone numbers from the past five years, could force artists to self-censor.

“We are concerned that artists who use social media to build audiences will be punished for their creativity and rejected entry to the US for the very thing that makes them so important to our society.”

 

“[This] new policy is unlikely to provide any real security benefit and instead conjures up the way authoritarian governments seek to limit the free exchange of ideas,” says Thomas Melia, the Washington, DC director of the non-profit organization PEN America, which focuses on freedom of expression. “We are concerned that artists who use social media to build audiences will be punished for their creativity and rejected entry to the US for the very thing that makes them so important to our society,” says a spokeswoman from the New York-based National Coalition Against Censorship.