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Intergovernmental Meeting of 22 September 2004, NGO intervention on Sections 3 and 4, Articles 5 to 19

Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.

22 September 2004, NGO intervention on Sections 3 and 4, Articles 5 to 19.

Steve Buckley, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

Mr Chairman, I speak on behalf of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. We are an international non-governmental organisation working in an area of the media that plays a specific and crucial role in giving voice to the cultural expression of social groups and communities that face exclusion and marginalisation.

We believe a convention on cultural diversity can play an important role in reinforcing the rights of marginalized groups to access the means of communication and cultural expression. Nevertheless we regret the draft convention does not explicitly affirm the right to freedom of expression with the same clarity of language and emphasis that is contained in the Resolution of the General Conference of UNESCO at its 32nd session.

We welcome the recognition in the draft convention of the importance of media pluralism however we would like to see explicit mention of community and public service media in Articles 6 and 7 and in the definition of cultural goods and services.

Mr Chairman, we share the concerns of other civil society organisations with respect to Article 19, in particular that Option B would eliminate the purpose of the convention and perhaps even have negative consequences. But we are also rather surprised by the unbalanced approach to intellectual property rights, a vital issue for cultural diversity.

Present international instruments have not proved adequate to protect the cultural heritage of social groups as compared to the rights of individuals and corporate legal entities. The rapid development of free software and the emerging concepts of “creative commons” and “open content” are also challenging existing assumptions. The definition of cultural goods and services should not be based on “intellectual property”.

If, as proposed in both options for Article 19, the convention will have no impact on existing international intellectual property instruments then we can not understand why Article 7 paragraph 2(b) proposes specific measures to reinforce the existing intellectual property regime. This paragraph should be removed.

Finally, Mr Chairman, we call, with others, for clearer recognition in Article 11 of the role of civil society in defending and promoting cultural diversity.

Thank you for your time.

Further information on AMARC:

See also CRIS Campaign:

Steve Buckley, AMARC

Filed Under: Negotiation Document | NGO | All related documents