- Piracy increasingly rampant in Botswana and the wider continent, with growing inherent risks and dangers
- Piracy a threat to socio-economic progress and intellectual property advancements
- Botswana’s launch of Partners Against Piracy (PAP) a significant step in the fight against piracy
- Collaboration for anti-piracy progress as crucial
Championing the fight against piracy of content in Botswana, MultiChoice Botswana hosted its inaugural Anti-Piracy Sensitisation Forum on 24th March 2023 at Phakalane Golf Estate Conference Center. The engagement, held in Gaborone, brought together key industry players to discuss the state of piracy in Botswana and Africa-at-large, leveraging the strength of the collective industry – across the value chain from content creation to broadcasting of produced work – to look at possible ways to address rampant piracy in the industry.
Facilitated by Oratile Kefithile, the forum featured an engaging virtual presentation delivered by Frikkie Jonker – Broadcasting/Cybersecurity Anti-Piracy Director, Irdeto, which spoke to growing trends observed across the continent, underscoring what the industry and the public at large need to know about piracy and its dangers, including but not limited to the reality that cross-border piracy is a growing problem in Botswana.
The first of its kind for MultiChoice Botswana, the Anti-Piracy Forum brought together critical stakeholders who hold knowledge and expertise in the area of intellectual property law, cyber-security, vested interest in the growth of the local content industry and of course influence in public policy in an effort to roundtable solutions on how to put an end to piracy in Botswana. “Piracy has a detrimental impact on all facets of society; from the economy to the growth of the local content industry,” said Stephanie Pillay, Managing Director of MultiChoice Botswana in her opening remarks, “We are cognizant of the fact that achieving any kind of milestone in stopping piracy can only be achieved by partnering with organizations who have a shared vision of doing more to make a socio-economic contribution in Botswana, and this is why we feel it imperative to partner for success.”
Following Jonker’s presentation, an engaging discussion was held around the current reality of piracy in Botswana, the impact it has made on the country, the current policies in place to combat it and most importantly the possible solutions which could be adopted through a successful partnership. This ushered in the possibilities of launching a Botswana based Partners Against Piracy campaign, a significant step in the fight against piracy on the African continent. PAP is an Africa-led initiative that seeks to protect intellectual property rights and promote a fair and sustainable creative industry. Its launch in Botswana aims to positively impact the rights of creators and other industries and companies in the country by providing a platform for collaboration among industry stakeholders and encouraging joint efforts to combat piracy.
This will lead to increased revenue for rights holders and a boost to the creative industry in the country, creating a level playing field for all businesses, especially those in the creative sector. Speaking on the impact of piracy on the local content industry, Oshinka Tsiang, Permanent Secretary of Department of Broadcasting Services commented, “It’s imperative that we look at the bigger picture when identifying the streams required for us to partner against piracy, and that is the impact that piracy has on stunting the growth of our local creative industry. The pursuit of the fight against piracy has the potential to change the direction of where our industry is heading to.”
The monumental inaugural Anti-Piracy Sensitisation Forum concluded with a shared consensus amongst attendees that in order to play a considerable role in the fight against piracy, and to drive actual change in policies and laws, there is a need to ensure that follow-up engagements are held with other relevant stakeholders with shared interest. “For us as a business, we hope that this is the launch-pad towards formalizing a Botswana chapter of the Partners-Against-Piracy campaign, and an opportunity for us to work closely with like-minded organisations to ensure that our local content industry no longer has to face the obstacles it currently faces for the benefit of all,” concluded Pillay.