The executive producer, Unchained Vibes Africa, Ayodele Ganiu, has described art censorship regulations as excuses to stop artistes’ activism.
This is according to a statement Saturday, 30th October 2021, at the official launch of the Freedom Vibes Series by Unchained Vibes Africa, a non-governmental organisation committed to developing arts and culture projects for social causes, themed “Hate Speech Regulation and Threats to Artistic Freedom”.
“Most of the art censorship regulations are disguised as protecting public morality, preserving cultural heritage and averting political and religious tensions. More often than not, prevention of hate speech, incitement, defamation, threats to national security, etc are used as excuses to censor critical works of art and silence artists’ activism”, the statement read in part.
Ganiu further stated cases of censorships especially in Northern Nigeria and how they have triggered fear in many artistes and aided self-censorship, “a practice that has undermined and continued to undermine democracy and rule of law in Nigeria.”
Moderated by veteran journalist, Jahman Anikulapo, the hybrid event which held at Amphitheatre, Freedom Park in Lagos, was targeted at the artistic community, Civil Society actors and the general public.
Vibes definitely flowed without restrictions considering the line-up of entertaining activities like spoken word poetry, music, drums, discussions on ‘Hate Speech vs Artistic Freedom’ and a dance performance for social justice by Isaac Jiga.
The recognition of Nigerian artiste and activist, Eedris AbdulKareem’s efforts in the fight for good governance through his music, posthumous honour for music legend, Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti, whose songs have been weapons in the fight against injustice, and Nigerian female talking drummer, Ara’s tribute to Fela were some of the major highlights of the evening.
Also in attendance were Nollywood actor, Hilda Dokubo, musician and activist, Ade Bantu, Nollywood actor and President Association of Voice Over Artists AVOA (Virtual), Segun Arinze, PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection, Julie Trebault, and musician and On-Air-Personality, Saifullah Ibrahim (Dr Pure) amongst others.
According to a document from the event, the objectives of the newly launched series are to “sensitise and mobilise members of the artistic community & CSO’s to promote artistic freedom; to build public support for artists’ freedom of expression; to advocate for reforms in art censorship and regulations”.