Africa Media Rights Watch (ARW), an organisation charged with the responsibilities of promoting an audiovisual media content economy respectful of creative and legal rights in Africa, has been formed.
The formation of ARW on August 16, 2010 is aimed at fighting the piracy of copyrighted material. ARW is the result of a round table discussion held in Dakar, Senegal, during a television content programming, distribution and co-production market, DISCOP Africa 3, on February 25, 2010.
The meeting had brought together some of the leading players in the African audiovisual media content creation and distribution. They included Canal-Sat Horizons, L’Association Privee des Producteurs D’Afrique (APPTA), Cote Quest, M-Net and le Reseu de l’Audiovisuel Public D’Afrique Francophone (RAPAF) and DISCOP.
It is from the communiqué that was issued after the meeting, now known as the Dakar Declaration, that has given birth to ARW that holds its first annual general meeting in Accra, Ghana, during DISCOP Africa 5 slated for February 9-11, 2011.
Among the aims of ARW is the focus on increasing awareness of the benefits of protecting intellectual property and copy rights among relevant authorities and the general public across Africa.
Cherise Barsell, DISCOP Africa’s executive manager, says one of the needs of ARW “is for the provision of legal resources and so the ARW website will provide members with access to all the regulations pertaining to audiovisual rights in each country of sub-Saharan Africa.”
If a member believes their intellectual property rights are being infringed, Barsell says, they will file their complaints to regulatory authorities and the broadcaster suspected of infringing their IP and copy rights.
Barsell says ARW will list the number of complaints against every broadcaster in sub-Saharan Africa with a view to seeking legal redress.
ARW is seeking to ensure that audiovisual media content is respected by all kinds of broadcasters, including those using satellite, internet and all other derivative forms.