Cultural diversity

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OECD: French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs committed to promoting cultural diversity in international forums

In September 2011, the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity sent a letter to the ministers of France's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Communications, and Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry to inform them of a project called the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) being carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the audiovisual sector.

The project was launched to provide a complete list of the obstacles to trade in the audiovisual sector, and measures in favor of cultural diversity such as broadcasting quotas for European productions and nationality-based support for cinema will be included on this list.

The French Coalition for Cultural Diversity is concerned that the STRI will cast cultural diversity measures in a negative light. As a result, the cultural policies currently in effect in OECD member states could be called into question and, in some cases, eliminated .

On October 24, Mr. Jérôme Bonnafont, Chief of Staff of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, replied to the Coalition in a letter that read in part:

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"The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs remains fully committed to defending the principles and values of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions […], consistently promoting them in international forums and agreements in which cultural diversity is an issue." These statements echo Article 21 of the Convention, which stipulates that the Parties undertake to promote the objectives and principles of this Convention in other international forums.

Mr. Bonnafont also assured the Coalition that he is "closely monitoring OECD practices to ensure they do not run counter to the principles of the UNESCO Convention or compromise [ France's] policies promoting cultural diversity or the interests of industry."

Click here to read the letter by Jérôme Bonnafont, Chief of Staff of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

To read the letters sent by the French Coalition to the French ministers and a presentation on the OECD Experts Meeting on Trade in Audiovisual Services, see the Coalition's file on this subject in the October 12, 2011 article entitled "OECD : Risques pour la diversité culturelle dans le secteur audiovisuel" (French only).

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