Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Remarques à propos de " la protection de la diversité culturelle"

BERNARD GRELON, Groupe d’études et de recherches sur les mondialisations - 28 août 2003

In this article, Mr. Grelon notes that a certain number of cultural activities, including audiovisual, cinema, and Internet activities, contribute to economic activity. The writer maintains that all these activities risk being caught up in the process of fashioning a coherent world market—the stated goal of the agreements negotiated under the auspices of the WTO, notably GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). In this regard, Mr. Grelon wonders if “cultural activities should not simply be excluded entirely from this system of economic regulation and a declaration made to the effect that, in principle, WTO rights, i.e., the right to globalized liberalism, does not apply to cultural activities.” He stresses that right now, “the WTO is a potential threat because, even if services are not liberalized, there is strong direct and indirect pressure to this effect, notably from bilateral accords.” In both draft conventions developed respectively by the INCP (International Network on Cultural Policy) and the INCD (International Network for Cultural Diversity), he also notes the question of tying obligations under the convention to the rules under the WTO. According to Mr. Grelon, this question is bound to be raised when the convention on cultural diversity establishes a binding right, the violation of which can be judged by a dispute settlement body. The writer warns that this discussion, if it takes place, “will be a measure of the actual commitment of countries to truly protecting and promoting cultural diversity.” (Available in French only)