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Musicians for arts heritage separation

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Musicians are against heritage being part of the National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec) whose draft bill has already been prepared.

Nahec is coming up following the approval of the Cultural Policy and, among others, will help the creative industry benefit from government’s subvention.

According to a report from Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) Chairperson, Charles Sinetre, presented recently during its AGM, three consultation meetings on the draft legislation establishing the Arts and Heritage Council one in each region have been held by the Department of Culture.

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The musicians voiced their concerns yesterday during the Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Kamuzu Institute for Sports.

The AGM funded by the Swedish Music Fund (SMF) attracted 60 members from all the chapters.

One of the musicians attending the AGM, Kelvin Sato, said the AGM had come at a right time and it offered musicians a platform to discuss different issues as well as the challenges affecting them.

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“We have discussed a lot of issues and one of the major ones is the National Arts and Heritage Council which members are against. They want arts to be on its own and not with heritage,” said Sato yesterday afternoon as the AGM was still in progress.

Mum President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, also confirmed that the musicians were against arts and heritage being together.

“We don’t want arts and heritage to be together. We have suffered a lot as artists and so these need to be handled separately. If we combine with heritage, we are afraid we will be sidelined once again. The board will be biased towards heritage especially with one person representing all arts associations in the board,” Mhango said.

He said they do not understand as to why the government is failing to separate the two and fund them separately.

“Other councils like sports and youth are all by themselves. We feel this is an infringement on our human rights to twin with heritage and so we are calling upon the government to hear our concerns and act accordingly,” he said.

Mhango then hailed President Peter Mutharika for assenting the Copyright Bill which among others has stiffer penalties for those found pirating artists’ works.

“But we are humbly asking the minister responsible for our department and Minister of Justice to speed up the declaration of the law to be in operation,” he said.

Recently Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Patricia Kaliati, a warned pirates that their honeymoon is over with the new Copyright as it has stiffer penalties.

Mhango also hinted that the AGM discussed at length the issue of media houses in the country to play more local content that foreign.

“Steps will be taken to approach leaderships of the media houses,” Mhango said.

During the AGM, Mhango also said that the gathering zeroed in on the government playing a crucial role in bringing sanity to the creative industry by putting down proper rules and regulations on how to deal with foreign artists.

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