Observatoire français des médias (OFM), le 4 février 2005 – 2005/02/04
In Paris on February 12, 2005, the French Media Observatory will hold a forum/debate on the diversity of cultural expressions, « so that the Convention on cultural diversity currently being debated at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris explicitly favours culture over the law of commerce ». Organizers insist that countries have long been fighting to protect « the cultural exception » in the face of free-trade agreements, and thus limit their impact on the media and cultural sectors. However, today, American and European economic lobby representatives want to include media and culture in the sphere of activity of free-trade agreements, claiming such agreements would not weaken the public’s capacity to limit financial and economic powers. According to organizers, « Subjugating media and culture to free-trade agreements (those of WTO, particularly of GATS) amounts to preventing any public policy for the support of culture and the protection of the rights to inform and to access information ». Notable participants included Armand Mattelart, president of OFM, Sasha Costanza-Chock, organizer of the Freepress Association, Jean-François Hersent, organizer of SUD Culture, Myriam Horngren, organizer of WACC and the CRIS Campaign, Jack Ralite, senator.