Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Battle between cultural diversity and 'Free Trade' takes shape at UNESCO: CRIS calls for international mobilisation on the UNESCO Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity

Media Trade Monitor, November 14, 2004 - 2004/11/14

Communication Rights in the Information Society Campaign (CRIS), an international network of organisations and individuals working to ensure that Communication Rights are central to any vision of an information society, is mobilising around the forthcoming negotiations on the UNESCO Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity, and invites civil society to join it in taking a stance in favor of the convention. Acknowledging that the stated aim of the draft convention is to allow each country to implement cultural, media, and communications policies that foster cultural diversity, Sasha Constanza-Schock, of Free Press and an active CRIS members reiterated that: “This Convention was originally designed to ensure that culture, in the age of globalised culture industries, is not reduced to a commodity. However, some governments have proposed dangerous revisions that would transform the draft Convention into an instrument that expands corporate ownership of culture.” CRIS also urges civil society to exercise pressure with respect to the following points: First, the Convention must not be made subordinate to existing or future trade agreements. To do so would defeat its purpose; Second, it should be designed to not only protect diversity of national and regional cultural industries, but to protect the cultural diversity and the communication rights of all peoples; Third, it must balance any references to the protection of intellectual property rights with reference to protection of the cultural commons. Otherwise, references to intellectual property rights should be removed altogether. ( Available in English ) [81]