Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

"The Promotion of Cultural Diversity, A Korean Experience with Screen Quota System" for the International Forum on Cultural Expression and Communication, UNESCO

Hyung Jin Kim, Legal Adviser, Korean Coalition for Cultural Diversity , 25 November 2003 –2003/11/25

"How to promote the expression of cultural diversity" is the question addressed by Mr. Hyung Jin Kim is this paper. He answers by looking at the experience of the South Korean film industry, and especially the reasons that led South Korea to adopt a screen quota policy to protect and promote cultural diversity in the country’s domestic movie market. He affirms that it is “imperative to maintain and develop traditional Korean culture” and that “cultural industries are needed to preserve culture, traditions, language, and integrity.” He notes that South Korea is not opposed to globalization per se, but to “cultural manipulation and annihilation in the guise of globalization.” The country is also strongly opposed to viewing culture “merely as a sector of international trade negotiations” and works actively to promote “globalization with a human face that promotes cultural coexistence.”
However, with the U.S. and South Korea currently negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement, the author points out that the screen quota system is “under fierce attack from Hollywood and its supporters, who are mobilizing effectively to make a final offer that the Korean government cannot refuse.” The secretariat of the International Liaison Committee for the Coalitions for Cultural Diversity reports that the United States is actively targeting the Korean domestic film screen quota in the free trade talks. It asks whether South Korea will “be able to resist U.S. pressure to cut and ultimately eliminate its 40% screen quota for domestic films.”
Forty-seven professional cultural organizations from Comité de vigilance pour la diversité culturelle, now the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity, have lent their support to the Korean Coalition for Cultural Diversity and the Coalition for Diversity in Moving Images (CDMI), which are actively protesting against these attacks against the South Korean screen quota system. The French Coalition believes that “cultural goods and services should not be subject to trade liberalization under the WTO or any other trade or investment negotiations due to their dual cultural and economic nature and their value as symbols of identity.” The coalition also argues that “treating cultural goods and services solely as tradable commodities calls into question the cultural support policies and balance in cultural openness each country has a sovereign right to determine for itself.” It concludes that each country “must define the cultural policy it needs, based on its development status and the value it places upon its own identity.” (Available also in English and French)