Story By: Anne Amegbeha

Artistic freedom has become one of the challenges of the digital media in the last few decades. It has even become a very critical topic of interest especially in a time where the internet has become useful in journalism.

Being one of the topics discussed at a plenary session at the 25th World Press Freedom Day in Accra, artists from different countries across the world came together to share their ideas on artistic freedom in this digital era.

“In the digital age, artistic freedom has seen some form of struggles,” expressed Hija Kamran, the head of Communications and Research, Digital Rights Foundations in Pakistan.

According to some of the panelists that were present, the infiltration of the internet has given not only journalists, but also artists a bigger space for their works to be seen by the world. But they also mentioned that there have been threats in all forms such as imprisonment, physical threats, censorship, and even killings.

Sharing his experience, Bright Ackwerh, the winner of the 2017 Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Art, said that a lot of people have reacted negatively to some of his satirical but educative artwork. He also said that however great an artist is, some of them have had a lot of media trolling and hate because of the sensitive issues they design and talk about satirically.”

The challenge, according to Ole Reitov, a panel member, who advocates for and defends freedom of artistic expression, is persistent because the victims’ restrained freedom of expression, is as a result of the fact that there is no organized tools and documents to preserve their rights.

Reitov, however, suggested that there should be enough mechanisms so that all artists will have their profiles documented for easier protection.

There is a call on various stakeholders to fight for the freedom of artists in the world since their works have had a lot of impact on its patrons even as they add color to the world through art work.

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