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SMC brief

SMC PAN-AFRICAN UNIVERSITY

February 2013 February 2013

An In house publication of the School of Media and Communication, Pan-African University

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hat are human rights? On what basis are they established? These are some of the questions that were put forward during the fourth edition of the Distinguished Lecture Series, which forms the basis for our lead article. They are questions that cry out for answers, especially in the face of the many current attempts to establish as human rights realities that are merely personal inclinations and that oftentimes are in conflict with the essence of being human. On the other hand, people in this country are largely ignorant about what their rights are and about the available means for defending those rights. Consequently, they passively accept the abuse of those rights, little dreaming that there are solutions at hand. An education on what these rights are and how to defend them would be a great contribution towards improving our society and making it more human. The defence of human rights is a duty and not something optional. The lead article does not do sufficient justice to the fevour shown by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Bem Angwe, in speaking about the topic. In the person of the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, we have a fervent defender of human rights; but, to put it in a colloquial way, the Commission needs to make a whole lot more noise about its activities so as to sensitive people to its role as a defender of their rights. However, this is not just the duty of the Commission. Each one can play a role by not keeping silent in the face of abuse. Ikechukwu Obiaya newsletter@smc.edu.ng

Prof. Bem Angwe

The Lecture Series:

Aboard the Human Rights Train

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he Nigerian state needs to introduce a welfare system that gives due consideration to the poor. To this end, the privileged members of the society have a duty to stand up for the rights of such poor persons. Prof Bem Angwe, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria (NHRC) stated this while speaking at the fourth edition of the Distinguished Lecture Series of the School of Media and Communication (SMC), which took place on the 7th of February, 2013. Prof. Angwe, whose lecture was titled, 'Human rights, Democratic Rites and the Imperative of National ReInvention,' noted that Nigerians largely do not know their rights. As a consequence, they tended to suffer abuses in silence. The NHRC head insisted that everyone should be aware of the role and possibilities of the Human Rights Commission in terms of obtaining and defending their rights. In order to make the most of the democratic process, he said, it is important for people to know their rights. The NHRC, Prof Angwe added, aims to ensure that Nigerians know and exercise their rights. “The Commission

is built to protect the right of Nigerians and to prevent human rights violations, but where violations occur the Commission is empowered to enforce [rights] and ensure that victims are well compensated.” Human rights, Prof. Angwe went on to explain, are not a gift from any human authority. Rather, human rights are established by virtue of being human. They derive from the very nature of the human person and the potencies therein endowed at the moment of creation. The human being’s dignity and reasoning ability, as well as the received charge to dominate the earth, all have their basis in this defining moment. The notions of human rights, democracy and communication are thus linked to the very origin of man. It is in this light that one must see that the power that political office holders exercise is one that is given on trust; it is a mandate from the rest of the people and not a personally derived power that is capable of creating human rights. In his opening address, the SMC Dean, Prof. Emevwo Biakolo, noted that the topic of Prof. Angwe's lecture was a welcome contribution towards Continued on page 2


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2013 Edition of the Career Forum Takes Off Mrs. Barene Beard with the MSc. FT5 class

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he Internship and Welfare Unit of the School of Media and Communication has been promoting its Career Forum Series for the 2012/2013 academic year. The Series puts students of the post graduate programmes in contact with media and communications professionals. In February 2013, the Career Forum featured as guests the Heads of Marketing and Communication of Stanbic IBTC and First bank of Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Barene Beard and Mr. Oge Udeagha, respectively. The session with the Stanbic IBTC Head of Marketing and

Communication, Mrs. Barene Beard, took place on the 11th of February, 2013. Mrs. Beard's presentation was titled, 'Using the Theory They Teach You to be Successful in the Real World.' Mrs. Beard, who shared her wide experience with the students, emphasised the importance of strategy and planning. A useful question to always ask, she pointed out, was how one could add value. She went on to indicate various basic skills that anyone who wanted to attain success in the communications field must possess. The presentation of Mr. Oge Udeagha, the Head of Marketing and Communication in First Bank of Nigeria Plc, took place the very next day, on the 12th of February, 2013. Mr. Udeagha's presentation was titled, 'Marketing

Mr. Oge Udeagha during his presentation

M.Sc. FT5 Class Donates to Flood Victims

The Lecture Series Continued from page 1 broadening the scope of the Distinguished Lecture Series. Prof. Biakolo urged that, in order to promote discourse on national issues, the Series should be moved to a wider platform and thrown open to the wider public. He commended the NHRC for the work it was doing and expressed the willingness of the SMC to collaborate with the Commission in the development of a communication strategy for the promotion of human rights and the NHRC's activities. Earlier, Prof. James Tsaaior, the Head of the Mass Media and Writing Department, and the organiser of the Lecturer Series, noted that the forum is part of the SMC's service to the Nigerian community. According to him, the Lecture Series provide a point of encounter between the town and gown in the traditional sense of this relationship. Prof. Tsaaior indicated that plans were on to collate the lectures into a book that would be made available to the public at large.

C o m m u n i c a t i o n : A n Ef fe c t i v e Investment in Business.' During the presentation, he spelt out what he described as the five marketing communication objectives for any business: sales, education, retention, referral and brand awareness. He was at pains, however, to stress that in order to approach these objectives adequately one must understand the needs of the business by carrying out a prior analysis. Mr. Udeagha, an alumnus of the SMC (MSc. PT2) finished by emphasising the importance of branding.

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tudents of the Full Time Master's class (M.Sc. FT5) of the School of Media and Communications have donated relief materials to victims of the floods that ravaged various parts of the country between July and November of 2012. The floods, said to be the worst in the country in about 50 years, led to numerous deaths and the displacement of thousands of people. The contribution of the M.Sc. FT5 class was aimed at alleviating some of the needs of those of the displaced communities. Speaking on behalf of the

class, the project president, Miss Oluchi Monye, noted that the donation was a means of expressing solidarity and supporting the people who lost their homes due to the d i s a s t e r. S h e expressed the hope that the donation would go some way towards helping to care for those that were affected. The materials were presented to representatives of the flood victims by members of the FT5 class who were accompanied by the Academic Director, Dr Mike Okolo.


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SMC Update

NSC Holds Filmmakers’ Forum

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nenna Maria-Therese Uzowulu (PGD 2, Community Relations) has got married to Taiwo Olusoji Fakoya-Smith. The wedding took place on the 21st of December, 2012, at the Chapel of Christ the Light, in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. We wish the couple a happy married life.

he Nollywood Studies Centre (NSC) has organised the first edition of its Filmmakers' Forum. The guest on the occasion was Mr. Alex Eyengho, a film producer and the president of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP). Mr. Eyengho, who is also an alumnus of the School of Media and Communication (M.Sc. FT4) spoke on the topic, 'Indigenous Language Films as the Future of Nollywood: the Itsekiri Experience.' Speaking positively about his experience in the production of films in the Itsekiri language, Mr. Eyengho stated that “film has no language.” According to him, “there is no shame in making films in indigenous languages.” He noted that his most recent Itsekiri film, Oma tsen tsen, had been widely accepted and had received a lot of support from the Delta State Government, private organisations and individuals. Mr. Eyengho encouraged filmmakers not to shy away from making films in their indigenous languages. He went on to add that producers of indigenous films should be creative with their

Mr. Alex Eyengho

distribution processes and partner with organisations that would protect their copyrights. The NSC's Filmmakers' Forum has been designed in line with the SMC stance for the respect of persons and the promotion of free speech. Consequently, the Forum is non-partisan in its approach and is open to everyone. The Forum, which is billed to take place monthly, will provide an avenue for the discussion of various issues among filmmakers themselves as well as between the filmmakers and members of the public. It will also serve as a platform for presenting the developments and challenges of the industry.

SMC Library Receives a Boost

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t was double joy for Titilope Odelola (CME 12) when she gave birth early in the month of February 2013 to twin girls. The mother and both babies are doing well.

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nine-man team of the National Universities Commission (NUC) has paid an accreditation visit to the Pan-African University to assess its readiness to begin the undergraduate programmes. The findings of the NUC report will be made known in due course.

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he film and book collections of the Culture, Text Technology, and the S c h o o l o f M e d i a a n d Evolution and Human Behaviour Journal. Communication (SMC) have been Onookome Okome is a visiting boosted by a generous donation from Professor at the School and is a Professor Prof. Onookome Okome. Prof. Okome of African Literature and Cinema at the made a donation to the SMC of about Department of English and Film Studies, 150 films, 23 books and 40 copies of 5 University of Alberta, Edmonton. He is different journal titles. Prof. Okome, who committed to the development of film is a member of the Nollywood Studies studies and is one of the foremost Centre Advisory Board, stated that the scholars on the Nigerian video film. donations were made to advance teaching and learning at the SMC. Among the items donated are the films Titanic, The God Father, Doctor Zhivago, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Gone with the Wind, and Casablanca, as well as collections like The Early Hitchcock Collection, The Sean Connery Collection, The Alfred Hitchcock Collection and Combat Classics. The journal titles L-R: Prof. E. Biakolo, Angela Nnamah, Dr. I. Obiaya include the Journal of Popular and Prof. O. Okome


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Research Notes: The New Media Industry in Nigeria: Culture, Content and Context Continued from the last issue Organizational Level Challenges at this level refer to those that pertain to the internal organizational processes of new media companies Technical skills: The new media industry is strongly driven by the availability of a highly-skilled labour force. A lack of sufficient knowledge in new media production at the technical level limits creativity and inhibits innovation and is one of the main factors stifling the rapid progress of the industry in Nigeria today. There is therefore a need to equip more current and prospective practitioners in the field with the required skills and knowledge base to make them well-grounded in their delivery of products and services. Professionalism: While some have suggested that there is no real shortage of individuals with some level of skills needed to operate in the new media workspace, there is a certain agreement that technical skills are not sufficient.

Practitioners also need to develop people-skills and to be educated in the techniques of project management specially suited for the new media industry. Expertise in these areas will benefit both the internal organization and the industry in its relationship with clients and consumers of new media. Organizational structure: New media companies in Nigeria need to adopt organizational structures, suitable staff contracts and convenient work patterns that will have a positive impact on the their internal processes and external output. Available options abound but the choice of internal structure for each company has to be based on a well-founded knowledge of the Nigerian workplace and the features of the Nigerian worker. Motivational culture: The work environment within new media organizations goes a long way towards fostering a culture of creativity and an atmosphere of innovation among workers. Companies in this industry

need to develop techniques that help to motivate and therefore reduce the tensions that workers experience in their effort to quell the 'internal noise' that arise from harsh conditions of the Nigerian environment. Collaboration: Companies operating in the new media space need to develop a m e c h a n i s m t h a t e n c o u ra g e s collaboration among themselves. This kind of 'collaborative competition' will facilitate the growth of the industry by fostering a collective and concerted effort that will tackle the challenges faced by the sector as a whole. Conclusion As can be seen, the high internet penetration in Nigeria is matched by a high level of challenges. Should these challenges be considered as insurmountable? Perhaps not. Although many of these challenges, especially at the macro level, have lingered for a long time, there is room to hope that the ongoing reforms might bring about some change. Time, however, will tell. Patrick Enaholo is a faculty member of the School of Media and Communication, PanAfrican University.

Towards the African Film and Entertainment Investment Summit

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unding has been and continues to be a major factor attenuating the growth of the Nigerian film industry. The industry has largely developed in the informal sector and outside of state interest. It has gained prominence, both locally and internationally, through its low cost video filmmaking. And, thanks to the wide audience that it attracts, the industry shows great economic potential. However, the lack of formal structures has so far discouraged prospective investors. The lack of financial support from either the government or financial houses has meant that filmmakers have had to depend mainly on private capital. Consequently, the capital base of the industry is extremely limited, and this has stunted the growth of the industry, especially as regards improving the available infrastructure. A Cinema of Dependence The problem of film funding is not peculiar to Nigerian. Raising funds for film production is a problem that has always been a chief difficulty for African

cinema at large. Thus, recourse has often been had to foreign capital. The Francophone African filmmakers, for instance, have been able over the years, to count on assistance from France, but this dependence on foreign capital has, many times, meant a restriction of their artistic freedom. They have had to craft their films to fit into the perspectives of the donors as a means of obtaining the funds on offer. It is for reasons such as this that African cinema has been looked upon as a cinema of dependence since in many ways it does not stand on its own feet. The Film Investment Summit The challenge of obtaining film finance is the motivating factor behind the planned Nigerian Film Investment Summit, which will take place on the 10th to 13th of December, 2013. The goal of the summit is to create an avenue for sustainable investment in and development of the film industry. The summit, which promises to be a high value learning experience, is being organised by the School of Media and Communication, FEPACI (the Federation of Pan-African Filmmakers) and Trend

Media City. The partners aim, through the summit, to provide a major platform for networking and transactional opportunities among all stakeholders in the film and entertainment industry in Africa. Investors in the film industry, regulators and government agencies, financial institutions and lawyers are some of those expected to at the summit. Highlights of the summit will include the inauguration of an investment fund for the creative industries sector and a business clinic on film, television and entertainment financing. It is hoped that initiatives such as these will provide the boost that this sector requires in order to attain its potential. The film and entertainment industry is currently attracting the interest of investors and is said to be on the verge of a big breakthrough. However, such a breakthrough will remain only a pipedream if the right structures are not put in place. It is to be hoped that the African Film and Entertainment Investment Summit will be the catalyst towards attaining this end.


SMC Brief - February 2013