Ole Reitov is a global human rights defender, speaker, moderator, journalist and independent consultant. In 1999, he co-founded Freemuse, the world’s leading organisation defending artistic freedom and acted as Freemuse Executive Director 2013-2017. In this period, he was the Freemuse representative to the UN Human Rights Council and even served as expert consultant to the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Ms. Farida Shaheed.
He was the first person to be appointed 2005 UNESCO Convention Expert on artistic freedom in 2015. His mandate has been renewed from 2019-2022.
Coming from a background as cultural journalist with particular focus on music and cultural policy, he worked globally in for three decades in almost 50 countries for the Danish National Broadcasting (DR), served as foreign correspondent in New Delhi for Swedish National Radio and as expert advisor for UNESCO in Bhutan, Nepal and for Sida in Mali and Botswana.
In 2000-2003, he was Director, Arts and Cultural Support, at the Danish Centre for Culture and Development, CKU, and an active member of INCD, The International Network for Cultural Diversity.
Ole Reitov co-organised and co-produced three world conferences on music censorship and initiated and produced in 2012 the world’s first ever global conference on artistic freedom - All That is Banned is Desired.
He co-initiated two international networks - artsfex - the first international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression and the broadcaster network WMCE for the promotion of world music in European Radio.
Ole Reitov is the world’s most quoted expert by international media on music censorship and repression of artistic freedom.
He has moderated panels on censorship at conferences, festivals and workshops in Istanbul, Oslo, Mexico, Peshawar, Stockholm, Kabul, Berlin, Casablanca, Cairo, Helsinki, Islamabad, Paris, Geneva, Lahore, Bilbao, Jakarta, Bruxelles, Beirut, Harare, Addis Abeba and Dakar.
As a panelist and speaker, he has addressed censorship issues in more than 20 countries on five continents – most recently at World Press Freedom Day in Ethiopia 2019, Ghana 2018, Jakarta 2017, and Helsinki 2016 and at various UNESCO conferences in Paris, Casablanca, Dakar and Brussels.
As a journalist and human rights defender he has met and interviewed an impressive list of personalities such as H.H. Dalai Lama, Zygmunt Bauman, Pussy Riot, Hugh Masekela, Johnny Clegg, Ben Okri, Didier Awadi, Peter Gabriel, Allen Ginsberg, Iqbal Bano, Lata Mangeshkar, Marcel Khalife, Deeyah Khan, Khaled, Rokia Traoré Lapiro de Mbanga and Ramy Essam.