Capacity building to promote emerging cultural industries in Niger

Bal’lame (NGO), Niger
IFCD funding: USD 80,000 | Timeline: February 2012 - February 2013

© Damian Rafferty

About the project

The aim of this project is to create conditions for the emergence of viable cultural industries in Niger by professionalizing the copyright sector and by boosting the country’s music and audiovisual markets.

About the organization
Bal’lame, an NGO established in Niamey, Niger, aims to strengthen the country’s culture sector by promoting copyright, the diversity of cultural expressions and social, cultural and economic development. The NGO’s activities include organizing cultural events, training in the arts and culture, awareness-raising campaigns in various communities and experiential exchange with other NGOs active in the field of culture.

Local Context
Despite the international success of some of Niger’s artists, particularly in the field of music, its cultural sector does not always contribute to the country’s economic and social development. The legal framework governing the various fields of culture, in particular copyright legislation, is not sufficiently well known. Furthermore, most investors consider culture to be risky because it does not seem to guarantee a return on funding. From the adoption on 30 March 1993 of the first national copyright instrument and the establishment of the Niger Copyright Bureau (BNDA) on 8 December 1995 to the recent adoption of legislation strengthening copyright protection, considerable efforts have been made to raise public awareness of the importance of culture. Much remains to be done, however, to raise the awareness of creators and investors in culture. Bal’lame has initiated this project because it is aware of the situation and convinced that a sound copyright and neighbouring rights basis in Niger is a necessary condition for the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector.

Main objectives
The objective of the project is to contribute to a greater awareness of copyright and thus boost the country’s music and audiovisual markets. The aim is to ensure that authors and their investors fully grasp the basic legal concepts and can thus ensure proper exploitation of their works. The awareness of authors, producers, owners of recording studios and distributors of cultural goods is therefore being raised. Owners of community radio stations and private television channels are requested to convey the message to the public at large, while judges, magistrates, members of associations and culture journalists are trained to implement copyright legislation.

Main activities
The project consists of two components, namely stakeholder training/awareness-raising and a wide-ranging media-based communication campaign. Bal’lame held a series of three training courses in Niamey that were led by local experts. The first was for 40 authors, producers, managers, studio owners and distributors of cultural products. The second targeted the managers of community radio stations and private television channels as intermediaries in the awareness-raising operation. The third training course was for persons concerned primarily with copyright enforcement, namely judges, magistrates and members of associations that champion the defense of human rights. This series of training courses gave an insight into basic copyright concepts and international treaties and conventions on the subject and cover Niger’s copyright legislation, and examples of copyright infringement and related penalties. Furthermore, cultural industries and the concepts of literary and artistic property were examined in relation to Burkina Faso and Niger. Lastly, the procedures for starting a business in Niger were also examined.

As awareness must be raised on a large scale for the project, Bal’lame is staging six televised debates, two in French and four in national languages, and each debate is being broadcasted repeatedly. It produces awareness-raising spots for broadcast in French, Zema and Hausa. These activities are carried on nationwide media, such as Télé Sahel, Télé Ténéré, Voix du Sahel and Radio Ténéré and on 16 community radio stations.

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