NATIONAL : Folklore is sacred
Mr Abraham Henry Lemaire, Acting Director of the National Folklore Board (NFB), has warned that the Board would begin prosecuting organisations that engaged in illicit use of the country’s folklore materials.
He said the NFB had stepped up its efforts at scouting for more commercial entities that engaged in illicit use of folklore materials to refer them to the Attorney General’s Department for onward prosecution.
Mr Lemaire gave the warning at a day’s seminar organized by the NFB to sentisise the public on regulations governing the use of folklore materials and the activities of the NFB in Accra .
He said the Copyright Act of 2005 Act 690 section 59(1), mandated the NFB, to among other things, administer, monitor and register expressions of folklore on behalf of the country.
Mr Lemaire said despite efforts of the NFB to carry out its mandate under the law, some commercial entities refused to adhere to the law and continued to engage in illicit use of folklore materials, thereby depriving the state of substantial revenue.
He said hundreds of organisations used folklore materials in the country but only ten of such organisations had registered with the NFB and paid royalties. Mr Lemaire said though the NFB had existed for 18 years, not much was known about it, a situation which had been hampering its efforts to regulate the sector because users of folklore materials expressed doubt about its (Board) existence.
He said in view of this, the NFB had come out with a magazine called “Amammersem” to inform and educate the public on issues concerning folklore in the country.
Mr Lemaire said the NFB was also currently compiling inventory of Ghana’s folklore materials, to be displayed at all the Regional and District Centres for National Culture for preservation.
He asked those engaged in the illicit use of folklore materials to comply with the regulations and register with the NFB to avoid embarrassment. Mr Alexander Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Yaw Poku Dankwa, sector Director of Culture, pledged to mobilize all available resources to develop, preserve and promote culture in the country.
Mr Asum-Ahensah underscored the importance of folklore, saying the Ministry was working to repackage the country’s culture to serve as a source of employment for the teeming unemployed youth. He said just like any other raw material, folklore was an economic asset for developing countries including Ghana, and called for collective exploitation of it for the benefits to accrue to all.