Government Fighting To End Piracy

Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has expressed the need to have properly regulated outlets for products of expressive arts if piracy is to be effectively curbed in the country.

Principal Secretary (PS) in the ministry, Chauncy Simwaka, was speaking on Tuesday in Lilongwe at the official opening of a one-day refresher workshop on the 2005 UNESCO Convention for stakeholders in the arts and culture industries.

The PS conceded that the heightened level of piracy in the country has negatively affected not only performing arts, but also other forms of arts.

“There is a lot of piracy in our expressive products which is affecting artists. Over the years, those into the [illicit] piracy industry have gone more sophisticated.

“It’s really a very big vice for the artists and we want to meet it head on so that we can assist our artists,” said Simwaka.

He said one of the ways to curb the malpractice is to have properly regulated outlets for products of expressive arts in the country.

Observation has it that several individuals are able to reproduce music videos and audios which are sold on the streets of Malawi, apparently without authorisation.

Recently, Simwaka said, his ministry made consultations with Malawi Police Service and Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA)where the parties agreed on and have almost finalised guidelines that the police could follow in checking piracy.

COSOMA, among other duties checks piracy of physical products, especially music CDs and DVDs).

However, the PS empasised the need for concerted efforts from different stakeholders to fight the vice effectively.

The workshop attracted institutions such as Musicians Association of Malawi, members from the film- making industry, Musicians Union of Malawiand representatives of some of the country’s cultural groups, among others.

Commenting on Piracy, Musicians Union of Malawi President, Gloria Manong’a, said musicians are sad with high levels of the vice in the country, saying the artists gain little from their talents and skills which she said are stolen away by unscrupulous people.

“Skills of artists are supposed to bring food on their table but that is not the case.

“There is a very loud cry from all the artists in the country about some people who steal talent produced by artists in the country,” said Manong’a.

To deal with the malpractice, Manong’a said the artists are soliciting ways of catching and punishing those in the habit of selling other people’s talents without authorisation.

Malawi ratified the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in March, 2010.

Ratification of the convention obliges Malawi to promote understanding and importance of protection and promotion of cultural expressions among stakeholders to harness their active participation in the convention’s implementation process.

According to the ministry, the workshop was organised, among other objectives, to align implementation of the 2005UNESCO Convention with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Regularly, government inducts stakeholders on the implementation of the various tenets of the convention to safeguard the country’s cultural heritage.