Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 3, no 22, Monday, August 25, 2003

Developing countries and the plan for an international convention on cultural diversity

The English and Spanish versions of the fourth installment of our monthly feature on cultural diversity, entitled “Developing countries and the plan for an international convention on cultural diversity,” are now available on our Website at:

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on the piece, send them to BDC@mcc.gouv.qc.ca and we’ll be happy to respond. The next feature—“FOR GREATER DIVERSITY IN FILM DISTRIBUTION”—will be posted on our Website this week. Please have a look at it.

IN THIS ISSUE :

Other News of Interest



Other News of Interest

Le Forum social européen 2003

From November 12 to 16, Paris will play host to the 2003 European Social Forum (http://www.paixbalkans.org/forum_social.htm). The 2003 edition will focus on five main themes, including media & culture. A panel discussion will be held on this topic to encourage participants to reflect on political initiatives that could help ensure the respect of cultural and linguistic diversity in the face of homogenization, globalization, and the threat posed by the OMC General Agreement on Trade in Services. To view the ESF program, visit:

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Cultural diversity, fraternity and the democratic project

Mark tamthai –18 juin 2003 – 2003/06/18.

In this paper, Mr. Mark Tamthai argues that the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted in November 2001 leaves many “real questions” unanswered and raises numerous others. He suggests that the response lies in addressing cultural diversity as a democratic project. (Available in English only)
Groupe d’études et de recherches sur les mondialisations (GERM)

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L’enjeu occulte de la 5ième conférence ministérielle de l’omc : le consensus contre le développement

Dorval Brunelle - Août 2003 – 2003/08

In this text, the author points to the numerous challenges facing the 5th Ministerial Conference of the WTO next September and the disagreements among members. For the NAFTA partners, these divergences, especially between the U.S. and Canada, involve liberalization of educational and health services as well as cultural diversity. Starting from the observation that lack of transparency and democracy is undermining the process currently under negotiation at the OMC, the author goes on to contend that the principle of universality is necessary, but insufficient. In his view, it can lead to the worst injustices, unless its effects are tempered by a recognition of differentiation. “The principle of differentiation should make allowances for two realities: first, the fact that partners are not only unequal, but also very different from one another; and second, that goods, products, services, and investments are not always tradeable by all nations at all times and in all circumstances.” (Available in French only)

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Public consultation by the european commission on the review of the television without frontiers directive- ebu contribution

July 2003 -2003/07/15

In response to the question of “whether the European Union will have the requisite means to carry out a genuine European audiovisual policy which contributes, inter alia, to respecting and promoting cultural and media diversity at Union level, whilst also respecting, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, Member States' competences with regard to audiovisual and cultural policy,” the European Broadcasting Union argues that a review of the TVWF directive must include an in-depth examination of the objectives and priorities of a future European audiovisual policy and the EU’s role in this area. This review must also look at the increase in cultural diversity and differences in development in an expanded Europe. In addition, in order to create a veritable European audiovisual zone, the scope of the Directive must not solely be limited to eliminating obstacles in the internal market. Other objectives of general interest like media pluralism and cultural diversity must also be taken into consideration. (Available in English and French only)

European Broadcasting Union

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France-québec : la nouvelle alliance

9 juillet 2003 – 2003/07/09

In an interview in the review Commerce International, Québec delegate general Clément Duhaime comments on the status of France-Québec economic relations and the issue of language in the business realm in Québec. Mr. Duhaime notes that language and cultural diversity are two areas that go hand-in-hand. He stresses that “our aim is not to fight against a language or a culture, but rather to let them express themselves freely, in all their wonderful complexity.” Mr. Duhaime also reminds readers that the French and Québec governments have confirmed their determination to take action on language and cultural diversity. (Available in English and French only)

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Session plénière des journées du réseau français de coopération et d'action culturelle à l'étranger - allocution de m. de villepin

Paris, 16 juillet 2003 – 2003/07/16

In his speech, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominique de Villepin contends that cultural diversity is the sole rampart protecting us against a global meltdown. According to the minister, every culture must have the opportunity to make its mark. He stresses that “market mechanisms alone cannot assure a plurality of perceptions,” and pays special tribute to the European Convention for achieving agreement on safeguarding cultural diversity in international trade negotiations. “It is a success we can now build upon,” he declares. “By the same token, we would like UNESCO to develop a convention on cultural diversity. Let us do what we must so that all have the means to defend their identity and culture.” In this respect, he stressed that “All around the globe, our efforts on behalf of cultural diversity must obey the same imperatives to maximize clarity, cohesiveness, and effectiveness.” (Available in French only)

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Réaction de jean-jacques aillagon sur l'adoption par le praesidium de la règle de l'unanimité pour la diversité culturelle

Jeudi 10 juillet 2003 – 2003/07/10

French Minister of Culture and Communication, Mr. Jean-Jacques Aillagon, is  pleased that the draft version of the European Constitution has reinstated the unanimity provision for “the negotiation and signing of agreements on cultural and audiovisual services that may affect  EU cultural and linguistic diversity.” The text maintains a right of veto and reasserts the principle of cultural diversity  in the new European Constitution. This amendment will enable each member state to continue defining its cultural policy as it wishes. (Available in French only)

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Accord sur "l'exception culturelle" à bruxelles

10 juillet 2003 – 2003/07/10

In this article, Yves Clarisse declares that France has succeeded in maintaining its sacrosanct “cultural exception” in international trade negotiations. The new text of the Praesidium stipulates that “the Council  will retain unanimity for agreements in the sphere of cultural and audiovisual services when such agreements could prejudice the European Union's cultural and linguistic diversity.” This signals that the EU has given up on establishing a joint cultural policy. (Available in French only)

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Un combat gagné - pascal lamy

Le Figaro, 15 juillet 2003 – 2003/07/15

In light of the Praesidium’s decision to reestablish the unanimity provision in the European Constitution for agreements on cultural and audiovisual services, European Trade Commissioner Mr. Pascal Lamy declares that the Convention has achieved a fine compromise: it reaffirms “ the principle of cultural diversity as a shared value and objective in trade policy”  while at the same time ensuring that “the unanimous member vote applies solely in the event of prejudice to cultural diversity, thereby acting as a safeguard.” He also asserts that a qualified majority will be the rule under normal circumstances and will allow the EU to promote its offensive interests in the cultural sphere. “This will put us in a position to pressure the World Trade Organization to abide by the future UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity. We will also be able to rapidly take action against third countries that restrict distribution and broadcast of European works.” (Available in French only)

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