Media Development on cultural diversity

On 20 October 2005 UNESCO finally approved its Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. One hundred and fifty-one nations voted in favour of the text, including the 25 members of the European Union and Brazil. Two years of heated negotiations resulted in a document that is 'clear, carefully balanced, and consistent with the principles of international law and fundamental human rights' or, depending on your point of view, 'a charter for unscrupulous governments to erect trade barriers, suppress minority cultures and block the free flow of information.' WACC endorses the call for governments to ratify the new Convention, for civil society to use it both to monitor future bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and as a means to transform international and national policies on culture, media and communication.

Media Development 1 2006 - Index:

Cultural diversity: A European perspective
Jim Mc Donnell

At the end of December 2000, the Council of Europe agreed its Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Article 1 affirmed that 'Cultural diversity is expressed in the co-existence and exchange of culturally different practices and in the provision and consumption of culturally different services and products; Cultural diversity cannot be expressed without the conditions for free creative expression, and freedom of information existing in all forms of cultural exchange, notably with respect to audiovisual services. Article 2 made it clear that: 'Cultural and audiovisual policies, which promote and respect cultural diversity, are a necessary complement to trade policies.' The Declaration finished by encouraging Member States to 'examine ways to' sustain and promote cultural and linguistic diversity at all levels.1 The Council of Europe's Declaration in turn paved the way for the November 2001, UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

A Latin American perspective on cultural diversity
Alfonso Gumucio-Dagron

Seen from Latin America, the struggle for cultural diversity is as old as the invasion of the Spaniards, or even older. Before Cortés disembarked in Mexico and before Pizarro killed Atahuallpa in Peru, civilizations within the region were fighting to impose their culture on other indigenous nations. In Mesoamerica the Maya kingdoms became enemies and attacked each other and when a Maya ruler subdued another one, he would build the temples of his reign on top of the temples of the previous ruler. In the Andean sub region, the Incas expanded over the territories of earlier civilizations, such as the Aymara who lived in the high plateau pertaining now to Bolivia. They were wiser, however, since their policy was to let the Aymara live with their culture and social organisation...

Globalization, national culture and the search for identity: A Chinese dilemma
WU Mei and GUO Zhenzhi

China faces the predicament of maintaining an official version of its 'national culture' while being confronted with globalization and diverse searches for cultural and local identities. Chinese endeavours to protect and preserve Chinese culture reveal two orientations: one is the state strategy which emphasizes creating and reinforcing an official version of 'national Chinese culture;' the other features the different and innovative efforts of many individuals and grassroots communities, who have taken into their own hands the mission of conserving traditional and local customs, cultures and diversity.

La Convention pour la diversité culturelle et l'émancipation des cultures minoritaires
Ary Régis

Les porte-paroles du système mondial ne cessent de clamer que l'ère actuelle - celle des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), puissant levier du processus de mondialisation actuel - c'est l'ère de la grande opportunité. Opportunité pour toutes les opinions d'atteindre toutes les audiences, pour tous les produits de pénétrer tous les marchés, pour toutes les cultures de s'exprimer et de s'épanouir. Car, promet-on, c'est l'ère de la libre circulation des flux de biens, de valeurs et des idées. Pourtant, si on tient compte des résultats inégaux de la libéralisation des marchés et de ceux résultant de l'instauration d'une démocratie mondiale, on est en droit de se préoccuper pour la libre expression et l'épanouissement des cultures.

Los derechos culturales, patrimonio nuestro
Dafne Sabanes Plou

Miro con fastidio la programación de los multicines que funcionan por la zona donde vivo, en el poblado sur metropolitano que rodea a la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. No dan la película francesa que quiero ver. Debería conformarme con alguno de los filmes hollywoodenses, donde para ser héroe hay que ser policía o agente secreto y en los que sobran los efectos especiales, las explosiones, la violencia, el individualismo y la agresión al buscar soluciones a los problemas y, como no podía faltar, la bandera de las bandas y las estrellas que casualmente aparece en varias escenas...

Disabled people: A social group with cultural identities?
Gregor Wolbring

What does UNESCO's Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural have to do with disabled people? The following article introduces the concept of disability culture and of seeing disabled people as a distinct social group with a distinct identity. It explores how this interpretation accords with wordings in the declaration and the convention and why the acceptance of disability culture and the social group of disabled people is important to and for disabled people.

Cultural diversity in the context of global empire
Kim Yong-Bock

Languages, their interactions and interrelationships are the key to cultural diversity in North East Asia. The following article argues that this is not a matter of simply teaching language skills as tools. Language must be understood as a way of life embodying the wisdom of life. It is also a matter of how all living beings - not just human beings - live side by side.

Pluralism and the right to communicate under Canadian 'Multiculturalism'
Aliaa I. Dakroury

Was Jean d'Arcy, pioneer of the concept of the right to communicate, correct in his assumption that the wealth of humanity derives from its diversity rather than from any artificially imposed unity? Canada's policy of multiculturalism offers a case study for the right to communicate in practice. Can the ideals of pluralism and good citizenship exist side by side?

A right to communicate as an open work
William F. Birdsall

When Jean d'Arcy identified the need for a right to communicate (RTC) in the late 1960s, it immediately struck a chord among those attempting to link human rights with recent developments in communications technology, in particular, satellite communications (d'Arcy, 1969). However, by the early 1980s, efforts within UNESCO to formulate a RTC collapsed. Since then individuals and organizations have attempted to keep the concept alive but its acceptance has been constrained by the historical baggage of the 1970s and 80s and the underlying problem of defining such a right.

Media education success in Slovenia: What next?
Zala Volcic and Karmen Erjavec

Unlike many other countries media education is officially part of Slovenia's educational curriculum. What has been the impact of ten years' work? What needs to be done in the future?

Otra sociedad boliviana es posible
Carlos A. Camacho Azurduy

¿Por qué no una sociedad multicultural sustentada en el reconocimiento y ejercicio pleno del derecho a la comunicación? El país de Bolivia está atravesando y experimentando una transformación fundamental, que marca un período de transición (¿hacia qué o hacia dónde?) que, me animaría a decir, no tiene un futuro predecible. Asimismo, se aprecia una conflictividad sin demandas unificadas ni articuladas y, a veces, contradictorias entre sí, con múltiples interlocutores o sin interlocutores visibles o legítimos. En síntesis, debemos comprender que los conflictos han cambiado de terreno, de actores y de lógica de acción, en busca de un cambio social (de hecho).

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The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) promotes communication for social change. It believes that communication is a basic human right that defines people's common humanity, strengthens cultures, enables participation, creates community and challenges tyranny and oppression. WACC's key concerns are media diversity, equal and affordable access to communication and knowledge, media and gender justice, and the relationship between communication and power. It tackles these through advocacy, education, training, and the creation and sharing of knowledge. WACC's worldwide membership works with faith-based and secular partners at grassroots, regional and global levels, giving preference to the needs of the poor, marginalised and dispossessed. Being WACC means 'taking sides'.
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