Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

The Belgian cultural sector mobilizes to support the UNESCO's draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions

Coalition Belge francophone pour la Diversité culturelle, January 21,  2005 – 2005/01/21

La Libre Belgique, a Belgian daily, reports that the Coalition Belge francophone pour la Diversité Culturelle held a morning of lobbying at the Parlement de la Communauté française, where it displayed « the defence charter » for cultural diversity.  The article notes that several organizations joined in, including writer associations (Sabam, Sacd, Scam) and cultural professional associations from the Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles (Fas, Pac, Pro Spere, association des gens de lettres). During the awareness-raising demonstration, participants also stressed that although the government of the Communauté has put cultural protection on its agenda, a real danger remains and it is vital to take action« for the survival of cultural diversity ».

Participants stated, « On several occasions, Southern countries have denounced the stranglehold of corporations on global culture.  This is also a threat to our countries, since culture is now being targeted by WTO and, in Europe, by the Bolkestein Directive.  If we aren’t careful, culture will become a purely economic activity like the any other, for which government aid will be prohibited.  For example, the major American film studios could lodge a complaint against our aid to the film industry. The campaign within UNESCO, of which our country is a member, consists in drafting a new convention protecting cultural diversity that will be legally binding.  It would be able to stand up to the aims of WTO. UNESCO is expected to vote on the convention in October, as long as the United States, which is stepping up its pressure on other countries, does not block the process ».[4]