Welcome to this week’s Media Law Roundup, a summary of developing media law and policy news.
The Hamas- run government press office in Gaza invited over 70 local journalists to a forum to discuss the draft of a proposed media law. The draft proposed updated regulations for media, and included bans on publication of sacrilegious materials, confidential security information, or anything that incites chaos or harms the state.
Over 60 of the 70 invited journalists boycotted the forum, arguing that journalists should have been consulted during the initial draft, and that this proposal is just another attempt by the government to restrict media freedom.
The government approved 16 private daily newspapers for publication, marking the first time in decades private daily newspapers are allowed to operate. Publications approved include one run by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party and the current Yangon Times Journal. The licenses allow the dailies to begin publication on April 1st.
Over a series of meetings and workshops in Tanzania, African policy makers discussed the need for national and regional frameworks for intellectual property rights in order to encourage innovation.
The discussion regarding intellectual property rights also coincides with recent attention the problem of music piracy. Musicians, such as US – based Zimbabwean musician Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo, have spoken out about the challenges facing artists due to a lack of consequences for pirating.
This month Universal Music Group and Samsung announced the creation of The Kleek, a Pan- african digital music streaming service. However, piracy is one challenge which stands in the way of the success of digital music in Africa. Many parts of Africa have no official music licensing organizations, making it difficult for musicians to collect revenue and allowing piracy to flourish.
Evolving discussions of intellectual property laws will surely impact the music industry throughout Africa.