The Pan African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) has released a new report in partnership with the Creative Artiste Network (CAN) that assesses artistic freedoms through an analysis of among others, the legal and institutional frameworks related to artistic freedoms in the Zambian context.
The report, titled An Assessment of Artistic Freedom: Nigeria, identifies political, religious and cultural, economic and financial, and sociological and psychological factors that influence artistic freedom in Nigeria. The study employed qualitative and quantitative research methods to uncover the challenges faced by artists and propose solutions.
Politically, freedom of expression is increasingly limited worldwide, with Nigerian bloggers facing arrests and even deaths for expressing their views. Artists like Atiku Jelili and Nengi Ilagha have been imprisoned for works critical of authorities. Religious and cultural factors also restrict artistic freedom as artists may face opposition from religious leaders if their work is seen as disrespectful. Economic and financial factors pose challenges too, as artists struggle with the costs of registration, sponsorship, and marketing their creations, often relying on other sources of income.
Sociological and psychological factors also impact artistic freedom, with artists facing pressure and criticism from their peers and self-censoring to avoid backlash. The report emphasises the need for advocacy projects, increased copyright enforcement, and the establishment of a “Creative License Law” to protect artists’ interests. It also highlights capacity building and active engagement of stakeholders and policymakers as crucial steps to achieve artistic freedom in Nigeria.
The research study revealed several key recommendations for fostering artistic freedom in Nigeria. These include the need for more advocacy projects on artistic rights, increased enforcement of copyright issues by relevant law enforcement agencies, and the enactment of a “Creative License Law” to safeguard the interests of artists. Additionally, capacity building for stakeholders in the arts and policymakers, as well as active engagement of all involved parties in policy-making processes, were highlighted as essential steps towards achieving artistic freedom.
Generally, the report sheds light on the complex factors affecting artistic freedom in Nigeria and provides recommendations to foster a more supportive environment for artists. By addressing these challenges, Nigeria can create a space where artists can freely express themselves and contribute to the cultural and economic growth of the nation.
The PANAF project is being implemented with the support of the Swedish Arts Council.
The full report is available here: