The field of media law, evolving in the wake of new technologies and the prevalent use of social media, holds a lot of promise for its practitioners, as it places its enthusiasts in a field where the law grows along with the technology.
This opportunity has resulted in individuals like Moses Olanrewaju, a law graduate and media/IP enthusiast, carving a niche for themselves in the field. Olanrewaju believes that the media law practice in African countries like Kenya, Ghana and South Africa holds great promise. “I think the prospects of media law in Africa is simply that we have a future where media law would be like the additive that every lawyer wants to add to their name. The prospects are huge and can be tapped into if governments can optimize their different laws to serve the needs of the media ecosystem in their respective countries.”
Olanrewaju, who developed an interest in the field due to its drive towards technology and creativity, mentioned that laws regulating the field need to be expanded and some areas in this field need reformation. “One thing that should be reformed in media law practice is that there is a Copyrights Bill that has been in front of the (Nigerian) senate since 2018 that hasn’t yet been assented by the president and it keeps the media industry in limbo. Of course, laws are made because of the perceived change they should serve. In this instance, the change that the bill envisages is to eliminate piracy through enabling ISP providers to track illegal downloads. However, it is unenforceable because it hasn’t been passed. When the bill is passed, other innovations would be in the mainstream, thereby enhancing the growth in the field.”
Media law – which includes regulating fields like music, technology, journalism, communications, data security and intellectual property – offers viable career prospects for individuals with an interest in policy/legislative framework, social media management, journalism, corporate practice, litigation, legal writing, lotteries promotion, media businesses and academia.
Abdulwasiu Olokooba, a law student in Nigeria who combines his passion for media law with journalism, explained that his enthusiasm in the field relates to his “passion in ensuring justice and being the voice of the suppressed”.
“Media law practice will be more developed and consolidated in (the next) five years than what is currently obtainable,” said Olokooba. Enthusiasts in the field are now realizing the extent of the connection between law and the media. For instance, in Nigeria, there is an urgent need for the enactment of laws to aid the development of the field. One of the laws I am anticipating is the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill that has been with the National Assembly since 2020. I think if the legislation is passed into law it would enhance the media law practice because we have to realize the world is turning digital. If online dealings are taking over (from) human interactions and there are no laws to guide these developments, the field will be stuck.”
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