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MFWA-MUSIGA statement marking Music Freedom Day

(MFWA/IFEX) - Accra, March 2, 2012 - As the world celebrates Music Freedom Day on March 3, 2012, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a freedom of expression advocacy organization, joins the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) to appeal to Ghanaians to protect and respect the free expression rights of musicians.

The annual Music Freedom Day is marked all over the world with events, seminars, exhibitions, film shows, radio programmes and newspaper articles on the subject of freedom of expression for musicians, to highlight attacks on and violations of the rights of musicians to use their talents and skills to compose, sing and record freely. The day is in response to threats to freedom of musical expression all around the world.

In Ghana, musicians have faced threats, insults and intimidation from opposing political party activists for composing songs for political parties of their choice during election campaigns. A number of musical artists, including Jewel Ackah and Daddy Lumba, suffered all manner of humiliation for composing songs for parties.

The rights of musicians are violated in many different ways, including by organizations, radio and TV stations, which use musical recordings without payment of due royalties or even simple acknowledgement to the composers, producers and recording artists.

Musicians and allied creative artists play enormous roles in society's development and well being. They can continue to be more creative and serve society better when their rights are duly recognized, protected and promoted.

We call on appropriate government agencies, the business community and all who have the means to contribute, to support the growth and development of the music industry in Ghana.

On this year's Music Freedom Day, the MFWA joins MUSIGA in urging Ghanaians, institutions and organizations to recognize the critical role of musicians in cultural advancement, and to enhance, promote and protect their rights.

Issued by the MFWA, Accra, March 2, 2012

The MFWA is a regional independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Accra. It was founded in 1997 to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and all forms of expression.

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