About the Summit

The summit is bringing together musicians, filmmakers, theatre practitioners, comedians, poets, cultural policy experts and other practitioners in the Nigerian creative sector as well as civil society organizations to facilitate meaningful dialogue with government officials on the need for policy reforms that will address issues and concerns around recent government actions and policies that may undermine creativity and threaten artistic freedom. Unchained Vibes Africa, through its monitoring of censorship in Nigeria, notes with concerns, increasing restrictions to artists’ ability to create, especially when the works relate to political and religious matters. There are growing concerns among practitioners in the creative sector and we believe a summit will provide all stakeholders the opportunity to address these issues.

The overall objective of the summit is to facilitate engagement and mutual understanding that can improve the current regulatory environment.

The Need for the Summit
For many years, politically conscious artists in Nigeria who critique or criticize policies and actions of the government have had their artistic freedom heavily restricted on radio and television with what many consider as overly broad broadcasting rules. Some artists, especially those in the north, have been arrested, detained and imprisoned.

In the area of public morality rules, the Nigerian entertainment industry has witnessed what some industry analysts describe as over-censorship in recent years. According to analysts, the list of the terms musicians can’t use in a song have become so endless that if the trend continues, there may be no more words to create and enjoy music. For instance, in 2021, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) reportedly banned a single titled ‘Thunder Fire You’ by singer Ric Hassan for allegedly infringing on the laws against strong language.

The Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, was recently accused of contributing to the rise in ritual killings, in addition to allegations of producing movies that glorify immorality and crimes.

While it is important to acknowledge that the government has a responsibility to enforce law and order in the society, such actions need to meet the minimum requirements of national, regional and international human rights standards. Practitioners are concerned about the current situation with regards to content regulation in the Nigerian creative sector. Since October 2021, Unchained Vibes Africa has been hosting the Freedom Vibes Series, an advocacy event addressing these issues within the creative sector and civil society. However, we believe that the change we seek can only happen if all stakeholders, including policy makers and relevant government agencies are engaged.

It is against this backdrop that Unchained Vibes Africa is bringing all stakeholders together through a summit. The summit will be a veritable platform for government officials from broadcasting, censorship and media regulation, culture and tourism, and security agencies to give their perspectives and engage with 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 consider arbitrary and undemocratic.

About the Concert

A special edition of Freedom Vibes Series will follow the summit to showcase some of the best of Nigeria’s spoken word poets and conscious Afro-pop/Afrobeats artists. It is a partnership between Unchained Vibes Africa and Culture Advocates Caucus curated by the convener of the WORDslam Poetry Concert and World Poetry Day Cafe, Jahman Anikulapo. The Concert will bring together leading Nigerian spoken word poets for a convergence with Afro-pop musicians to promote freedom of expression. The event will focus on spoken word, using oral poetic performance art and performers’ aesthetics of recitation and word play to engage the audience, conveying important messages about freedom of democracy and expression.
Mode of Participation 

Participation in both events is hybrid
• In-person/physical attendance
• Virtual/Online participation via Zoom webinar

Admission & Registration

Admission is FREE. All delegates and participants must register to attend both events

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