The Pan African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) and Ketebul Music have unveiled a new report, titled, An Assessment of Artistic Freedom: Kenya, which assesses the practices, challenges, and opportunities surrounding the freedom of artistic expression in the country. The study explored the legal audit of the framework regulating artistic freedom of expression and copyright business environment in Kenya.
The research identified relevant laws, stakeholders, and literature for analysis, conducted literature reviews, stakeholder interviews, and analysis, and provided recommendations by identifying gaps in the sector in relation to artistic freedom.
The study uncovered various challenges facing the freedom of artistic expression and the copyright business environment within the creative industry. These challenges include the incoherence of government policies, leading to an environment of uncertainty for copyright-based industries. Additionally, conflicts among copyright stakeholders remain unresolved due to the absence of legislation on streaming.
The study also revealed threats stemming from government powers to enforce prior censorship in film and the failure to operationalize regulations, policies, and laws guaranteeing freedom of access to information. Discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ+ expressions was identified as another significant threat. Furthermore, the research found that artist organisations and industry associations have not effectively advocated for matters promoting the economic status of artists.
In light of these findings, the study provided several recommendations to address the identified challenges. It suggested the establishment of strong creative industry engagement platforms to bring together stakeholders from various sub-sectors of the industry through capacity-building initiatives. The research also proposed initiating extensive entrepreneurship and enterprise development programs for the creative industry, focusing on providing practical business skills education to women and youth. Recognizing that inadequate business skills training often leads to the failure of initiatives within a short period, investing in education and skills enhancement was deemed crucial.
“During the research process, the study encountered challenges such as a lack of up-to-date educational data and scarcity of materials,” lead researcher Robert Asewe said. “The incoherence of government sources of information due to internal reorganisation further complicated the research. Additionally, certain data provided could not be verified, and disputes in court added further complexity. The insights gained from this research study can serve as a valuable resource for policymakers, industry stakeholders, and organisations working towards promoting artistic freedom and improving the copyright business environment in Kenya.”
The PANAF project is being implemented with the support of the Swedish Arts Council.
The full report is available here: