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.
- 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.