June 14, 2024

UVA hosts Freedom Vibes Summit on ‘Safeguarding Creativity on Digital Platforms’

  • May 29, 2024
  • 5 min read
UVA hosts Freedom Vibes Summit on ‘Safeguarding Creativity on Digital Platforms’

By Editor

UNCHAINED Vibes Africa (UVA) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Media and Creativity Committee, in collaboration with Elixir Trust Foundation, have announced the next edition of the highly-interactive programme, Freedom Vibes Summit, which kicks off by 9:30am on Thursday, May 30, 2024 at the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos Island. The one-day hybrid summit has as theme ‘Safeguarding Creativity on Digital Platforms’, and will serve as opportunity to thoroughly discuss and bring to the frontburner trending developments and other pivotal issues bordering creativity, censorship, and policy reforms within the Nigerian creative ecosystem.

Featuring an array of guest speakers from the different government agencies, civil society organizations, lawyers, skit-makers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists and key stakeholders in the creative industry, some pertinent questions that form the basis for the summit include whether artists have the right to use police, armed forces, and other security agencies’ uniforms as costumes in their productions, whether artists really need permission before they can portray them in their productions and what does the law says, whether there are exceptions for artists, and in which areas does the industry need reforms, etc.

“In recent times, there has been a ban on using uniforms of law enforcement and security agencies in movies and skits,” explained UVA’s Executive Producer, Ayodele Ganiu. “According to the police, it is illegal under Section 251 of the Nigerian Criminal Code and Section 133 of the Penal Code to use police uniforms in movies and skits without permission. The police also say that wrong portrayal of the police institution undermines the integrity of the force and dampens the morale of its personnel. Therefore, permission is required before the portrayal, failure of which leads to arrest and prosecution. These threats have created fear in the minds of many artists who want to use their works for correcting the ills in our society.”

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Executive Director of Unchained Vibes Africa, Mr. Ayo Ganiu

Ganiu further acknowledged that while government has a responsibility to enforce law and order, such action must meet national, regional, and international human rights standards.

According to him, “Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the right to freedom of expression provided that, ‘every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impact ideas and information without interference.’ Section 110 of the Criminal Code cited by the police also exempts artistes from criminal liability in wearing uniforms of the security and law enforcement agencies when the purpose is for artistic performance or public entertainment. Practitioners are concerned about arbitrary enforcement of policies and regulation of content as reforms of this nature, in a democracy, require proper engagements with all stakeholders.”

It is against this backdrop that UVA and NBA Media’s Creativity Committee, in collaboration with Elixir Trust Foundation, will bring all stakeholders together through a summit involving skit-makers, filmmakers, musicians, theatre practitioners, comedians, poets, culture policy experts and other practitioners in the Nigerian creative sector and civil society organizations to facilitate meaningful dialogue with government officials on the need for policy reforms that will address the issues and concerns around recent government actions and policies that may undermine creativity and threaten artistic freedom.

Expected speakers at the 2024 Freedom Vibes Summit include pro-democracy campaigner and founder of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, film producer and President, Directors’ Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Dr. Victor Okhai, motivational speaker and President of FOM Foundation, Eugene C. Onyibo and Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Justice Reform and ICT/Digital and Innovative Technology, Fernandez Marcus-Obiene.

Other speakers expected to headline the event are veteran Nollywood actors, Norbert Young and Francis Onwochei, founder of Elixir Trust Foundation (ETF), Emmanuel Ikule, the Director-General of National Film and Video Censors Board, Dr. Shaibu Husseini, to be represented by its Lagos Representative and President, Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN) Yinka Ogun, Nigerian hip-hop star, Eedris Abdulkareem, musician and Chief Executive Officer of Lakreem Entertainment, Myke Pam, Content Creators and Comedians, Agun Oluwaseun (a.k.a Ogbeni Adan), Josh Alfred (a.k.a Josh2Funny) and creative writer, musician and spoken word artist, Ruth Mahogany, amongst numerous others.

It is also to provide a platform for government officials in media regulation environments and security agencies to give their perspectives and engage practitioners on the importance of policies they consider necessary for national security, peaceful coexistence, and public morality through moral suasion and policy dialogue rather than censorship, which practitioners and UVA consider arbitrary and undemocratic.

The summit is a hybrid event. Participants and speakers have the option of either attending physically/in-person or participating virtually/online via Zoom webinar. To attend the 2024 Freedom Vibes Summit, kindly register here: (In-person Participation) https://forms.gle/Qpfx7Wnx8MMLnu4k7 (Virtual Participation) https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_R5fuM6EXTO2CnXZbsLbcow.

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