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The session was organised by the Best Practice Forums (BPF) of the IGF and opened by Mr Wim Degezelle, BPF Consultant. He introduced BPF’s role and explained that it works between the IGF meetings as well as during the sessions to bring stakeholders and specialists together around specific topics.
Mr Bertrand Moullier, International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) moderated the session and spoke about the promising development in seeing the IGF expand its coverage of local content.
Mr Roberto Gaetano, Individual User Association, spoke about the technological issues related to the empowerment of local content, especially in minority language regions. He mentioned that in the early stages of the Internet, domain names were only available in ASCI (English alphabet), and country codes for domains were very generic. Despite having undergone developments to foster inclusion of new domain names and other alphabets, part of the Internet infrastructure still does not fully support these changes. He highlighted the Universal Acceptance Working Group’s contribution in that context.
Mr Ucha Seturi, Telecom Operators Association of Georgia, Coordinator of the Tusheti project, Georgia, said that access to the Internet not only refers to the technical aspects, but also includes access to local and relevant content. He spoke about the importance of raising awareness about this fact and the necessity of teaching digital skills to produce local content.
For this reason, the Telecom Operators Association of Georgia has established training sessions for local community members on how to create local content and set up pages to sell local products. According to Seturi, this training was essential, given the complexity of Georgian script and the population’s need for relevant online content.
Mr Enyi Omeruah, Music and Audio-visual Entrepreneur, Nigeria, spoke about Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, and his view on how content shapes the way people are seen and want to be seen. Nollywood productions have empowered many people across the continent who want to see a cultural change and define the narrative about who they are. This desire to share stories is now strongly supported by technology which empowers people to make their voices heard.
Ms Ema Edesio, Film Director, Nigeria, spoke about the experience of making her first movie about four children in the slums of Lagos, Nigeria. In her prior work with the BBC she had seen a sense of pride and community in the slum dwellers, as well as their own kinds of coping mechanisms, which inspired her to make the movie.
However Edesio mentioned the difficulties of finding funding for independent filmmakers like her, due to Nollywood preferring to portray other realities. As a result, her movie was initially not shown in Nigerian cinemas, coupled with the lack of movie theatres in the country. The movie only gained traction by being shown at international film festivals where the demand for this type of content became evident.
Mr Jean Hubert Nankam, TV Producer, Ivory Coast, shared his experience of producing local TV shows. After creating a first show, called Classe A, for a target audience of 18-25 year olds, he realised that the following for this was from a younger generation. He thus created a show with a focus on younger audiences and organised focus groups to identify what the audience had to say about the society they lived in. Each focus group then lead to the development of a new scenario. The community of around 120 000 followers across the francophone African countries was further invited to voice their opinions on different matters through a call-to-text initiative which aims at collecting 1000 messages from 1000 young people to serve as feedback for local policy makers.
A colleague of Mr Grégoire Ndjaka, Association of African Broadcasters AUB/UAR, spoke on his behalf and introduced AUB’s project for public broadcasters. The idea is to create a hub to provide broadcasters with access to premium content, and create funding opportunities for producers. He explained that this initiative aims at supporting local African content given that public channels mostly show telenovellas, and African content is largely owned by Pan-African broadcasters such as Canal+ and TV5. Through the creation of a hub, advertising revenues and support from international public and private funds could become a prominent source of income, given that broadcasters of different countries would come together to show the same content, thus multiplying the audience across the continent. Additionally, the members of the AUB would pool their resources to choose what programmes they want to buy and support, thereby supporting local content producers.
Mr Gonzalo Laguado Serpa, Proimagenes Colombia, Colombia, said that his organisation has created a system to boost local production in Colombia. Referring to the crucial need for funding for producers, he mentioned that Proimagenes Colombia has been able to tackle obstacles to production, and access to production, but that they still face challenges in the delivery of content. According to Serpa, local content does not travel well, especially on the subcontinent, and has a very short-lived nature. He indicated that his group is devising ways for films and content to stay relevant in meaningful ways.
Ms Lyanna Galstyn spoke on behalf of Ms Ani Dallakin, the Internet Society, Armenia. She presented some findings of the Armenian National IGF from October 10. These included the idea of a virtual college, the creation of a rural library, and improvements to the digitisation of all materials in libraries, as well as the creation of a centre for creative technologies.
By Cedric Amon