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Cultural Diversity News

Coalition Currents: The Secretariat for the International Liaison Committee of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (ILC) publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Coalition Currents. The April 3, 2004 issue focuses on a number of highlights on the cultural diversity front, including information on the Troisième rencontres internationales des organisations professionnelles de la Culture, which will be held in Seoul, South Korea, from June 1 to 4, 2004. Other topics include the timetable released by the director-general of UNESCO for the adoption of the convention on cultural diversity in fall 2005; the U.S. Trade Representative's annual report listing measures considered as major barriers to U.S. exports; and the texts of the U.S.-Morocco and U.S. -Dominican Republic free trade agreements. ILC is made up of 11 national coalitions for cultural diversity: Argentina, Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, France, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, and Senegal. To view the articles, click on the links below:

*************** NOTEWORTHY EVENT***************

Communication and Cultural Diversity

A Dialog on Communication and Cultural Diversity is planned within the framework of the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona. The goal of the dialog, which will be held from May 24 to 27, 2004, at the Barcelona Convention Center, is to share experiences and points of view with a view to fostering creative cultural practices that stimulate cultural diversity. It will bring together experts and actors interested in the relationship between communication and cultural diversity, as well as communications and business professionals, artists and cultural professionals, and NGO representatives. For information:

L'École internationale d'été sur les Amériques: Les grands enjeux de la coopération interaméricaine et l'avenir du libre-échange dans les Amériques

The Interamerican Studies Center (ISC) of Institut québécois des hautes études internationales (IQHEI) at Université Laval will hold its first-ever International Summer School on the Americas from June 7 to 15, 2004. The session will focus on two key themes: Major Issues in Inter-American Cooperation and The Future of Free Trade in the Americas. The summer school will be divided into two components. From June 7 to 11, ISC will offer 5 days of innovative training for Canadian and international graduate students who are interested in the Americas. The second component, from June 13 to 15, will consist of workshops intended for inter-American relations specialists and practitioners, and will be held in an environment conducive to discussion and examination of current topics, notably the future of free trade in the Americas and the outcome of recent WTO and Free Trade Area of the Americas ministerial conferences. For registration forms and information on the student seminars and the workshops for professionals and specialists:

*************** PRESS RELEASES/SPEECHES/DECLARATIONS***************


"Une nouvelle alliance franco-québécoise" : La suite - Visite officielle du Premier ministre du Québec, M. Jean Charest en France

Mme Marie-Claude Champoux, attachée de presse, Cabinet du Premier ministre du Québec, le 26 avril 2004 - 2004/04/26

Cultural diversity will be on the agenda during Québec Premier Jean Charest's official visit to France from May 1 to 5, 2004. The premier will be accompanied by Minister of Culture and Communications Line Beauchamp and Deputy Premier Monique Gagnon-Tremblay. The visit continues the ongoing tradition of annual meetings alternately hosted by the premier of Québec and the prime minister of France. During his visit, Mr. Charest will meet with French political leaders, including President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. He will also discuss cultural diversity with the Secretary General of the Francophonie, Mr. Abdou Diouf, and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, who recently presented the 169th session of the UNESCO Executive Board with a detailed timetable on the development of the draft Convention internationale sur la protection et la promotion de la diversité des expressions culturelles in preparation for its adoption at the General Conference in fall 2005. Communiqué : Nouvelle alliance franco-québécoise du 23 mai 2003 :


Le dossier de la diversité culturelle mis à l'ordre du jour du Conseil exécutif de l'UNESCO : Point 3.7.2 : "Diversité culturelle : synthèse des travaux préliminaires et des réunions d'experts de catégorie VI et perspectives "

169e session du Conseil exécutif de l'UNESCO, le 26 avril 2004 - 2004/04/26

The issue of cultural diversity placed on the UNESCO Executive Board agenda at the request of the 15 member countries was taken up on Monday, April 26, 2004. Assistant Director-General for Culture Mounir Bouchenaki reviewed steps taken since the 32nd General Conference (meetings of Category VI experts, written and oral meeting reports) and told member states that they would be receiving a draft version of the convention around mid-July 2004 before debate was launched with category II experts. Earlier, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura had already presented a detailed timetable for the development of a draft International convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. According to the timetable, which includes key steps, a preliminary draft should be ready for distribution to UNESCO member states in July 2004, with intergovernmental negotiations on the content of the text scheduled to begin in the fall. This paves the way for a vote on the convention at the UNESCO General Conference in 2005. Board members subsequently adopted, unamended, the draft decision set forth in section 16 (p.4) of document 169 EX/40 giving the Director-General the authority to call meetings of Category II experts. (Available in French, English, Spanish) Document 169 EX/40 : Discours du DG/UNESCO :

*****************PUBLICATIONS AND STUDIES*****************

Communication interprétative de la Commission relative à certains aspects des dispositions de la directive "Télévision sans Frontières" concernant la publicité télévisée.

Commission des Communautés européennes, Bruxelles, le 23 avril 2004 - 2004/04/23

With the development of new advertising techniques such as split screen, interactive, and virtual advertising, and the increasing use of new forms of advertising, questions about the proper interpretation of the rules on advertising in the Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive, and the compatibility of these practices therewith, have repeatedly been put to the Commission. Through a communication adopted on April 23, 2004, at the initiative of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Education and Culture, the Commission intends to clarify its interpretation of TVWF, which was first adopted in 1989 and renewed in June 1997. "This communication," indicated the Commission, "interprets the directive but does not change the rule of law." It clarifies the following points: quantitative restrictions on advertising (hourly and daily amounts); the separation of editorial and advertising content, specifying that use of mini-spots (very common in Italy) is authorized so long as it remains the exception to the rule and does not become a nuisance to viewers; and the notion surreptitious advertising. The communication also analyzes how TVWF applies to new advertising techniques, specifically split screen advertising (the simultaneous or parallel transmission of editorial and advertising content), which is prohibited in Portugal and France, but permitted in the U.K.; interactive advertising, which is only allowed in the U.K.; and virtual sponsorship (the use of virtual techniques to insert ads during broadcasts, e.g., sporting events), which is prohibited in Portugal and Norway, but allowed in Spain and Greece. The communication in the wake of the communication on the future of the audiovisual policy and public consultation launched by the Commission with a view to possibly reviewing the TVWF directive. Ms Reding declared that "the Television without Frontiers Directive recognizes that advertising is the economic basis for all private and for a part of public service free-to-air television, which is essential for a free and diversified television and media landscape in Europe. At the same time, the Directive makes it clear that there have to be limits to advertising in order to safeguard the interests of the viewers, and also of the right-holders of audiovisual works. This Communication enables broadcasters, viewers and right-holders alike to understand better what is allowed and what is not." (Available in French and English) Communication : Discours Mme Reding :|0|RAPID&lg=EN&type=PDF Communiqué :|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display =

*************** INTERNATIONAL MONITOR***************

Culture schlock : "Promoting diversity is a way to give voice to those who feel swamped by the flood of big-budget "foreign" culture, and resentful of the axiom "if you're in, you win.""

Olivia Ward, The Toronto Star, April 24, 2004 ? 2004/04/24

In this article, Ms Ward observes that cultural diversity is an embattled concept in our globalized era. Modern-day economic globalization means products are likely to be homogenized in the blender of big entertainment corporations, sounding the death knell for independent producers, whether in the film industry or the magazine sector. The author points out that the U.S. and U.K. dominate the international literary, newspaper, and magazine markets and explains why it is so crucial to protect cultural diversity and the independence of producers and creative talents. She cites Peter Grant and Chris Wood, the authors of Blockbusters And Trade Wars: Popular Culture In A Globalized World, and cultural diversity advocates who argue for the protection of our cultural values through freedom of expression and government policies that support strong cultural industries, like in Canada and France. She also points to UNESCO's initiative to develop and adopt an international convention recognizing the unique nature of cultural products and the importance of giving states the ability to defend and promote cultural diversity outside the framework of international trade negotiations. (Available in English)

L'Amérique latine dans la politique commerciale des États-Unis : des obstacles aux exportations américaines

M. Toni Solo, Réseau d'information et de solidarité avec l'Amérique latine, 25 avril 2004 - 2004/04/25

In this text, Mr. Solo turns the focus on U.S government rhetoric on Latin America. He draws attention to the discrepancies between what Bush administration officials tell Congress and what they tell foreign audiences. For example, he notes that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick's presentation to Congress differed significantly from the message delivered in speeches by U.S. representative to the Organization of American States, John Maisto. He points out that "the United States seeks to dominate events in Latin America through a combination of diplomacy and foreign aid coupled with trade and economic pressure, all ultimately backed by the threat of overpowering military force." To support his argument, he cites Mr. Zoellick's remarks to Congress: " Day in and day out, all around the world, the U.S. government is working aggressively to make sure barriers to U.S. goods and services are removed [?] Our new and pending FTA partners represent America's third-largest export market?these FTAs are stripping away trade barriers across the board, market by market, and expanding American opportunities. Enforcement of existing trade agreements is a vital component to producing new ones. Indeed, enforcement is inherently connected to the process of negotiating new agreements. Virtually everything USTR [U.S. Trade Department] does is connected with enforcement in some way. Negotiations to open markets and enforcement are two sides of the same coin." Mr. Solo also contends that "the main goal of all U.S. 'free trade' agreements is to force the opening of markets to U.S. and foreign multinationals." To back up his argument, he cites Mr. Zoellick's report to Congress listing what the U.S. trade representative views as the main trade barriers and unfair practices affecting American exports of goods, services, and agricultural products worldwide. The April 2004 issue of Coalition Currents?the newsletter published by the Secretariat of the International Liaison Committee of the Coalitions for Cultural Diversity?reports that the USTR's office recently published its annual list of measures it views as major barriers to U.S. exports. In the cultural sector, these include quotas on domestic content in national radio, television, film, and television markets, as well as limits on foreign ownership in national publishing, radio, satellite, and cable industries. French requirements for domestic content imposed on French broadcasters are among these "significant barriers hindering access by U.S. programs to the French market." The newsletter notes that France is by no means the only country enforcing radio, television, or film quotas, and that the American report points to similar measures in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain, and Sri Lanka. The report levels similar criticisms at limits on foreign ownership of cultural enterprises, naming Brazil, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Venezuela, and Vietnam among the countries with such policies. (Available in French, English, Spanish) RISAL : Rapport de l'USTR : Coalition Currents:


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