Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 7, no 32, Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!

IN THIS ISSUE :

Convention Update

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Recent Publications

Other News of Interest



Convention Update

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are Underway!

UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into effect on Sunday, March 18, 2007. Implementation of the convention was kicked off with the first Conference of Parties to the Convention, held in Paris, France, from June 18 to 20, 2007.

At press time, 69 states had ratified the treaty. Recently, Cambodia and New Zealand deposited their ratification instruments with UNESCO, thereby joining the ranks of Member States to the Convention.

Efforts to implement the treaty are well underway, but the mobilization campaign to encourage Member States who haven’t already done so to ratify the treaty must continue with commitment and conviction. The Convention’s legitimacy will be directly proportional to the number of countries from all parts of the world that ratify, accept, approve, or join the treaty.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, Paris (France) – October 16 to November 3, 2007

The 34th session of the General Conference, which every two years brings together the Member States of UNESCO, will open next 16 October in Paris under the chairmanship of Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan (Oman) and will continue till 3 November. Two ministerial round tables–on education and on science–a youth forum and an international civil society forum are on the agenda of the session.

Close to 2,000 participants are expected, including numerous ministers and some ten heads of State and government who will take the floor before representatives of the Organization’s 192 Member States.

In relation to the theme of this newsletter, it is worth noting that the 2007 UNESCO Youth Forum, to be held October 12 and 13, will examine the results and recommendations from the regional UNESCO Youth Forums of 2006 and 2007, which focused on Young People and the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and Peoples. According to the press release, “every two years, the forum gives young people from UNESCO Member States and international youth and student organizations the opportunity to share their experiences, identify common concerns and contribute to the work of UNESCO.”

For more information, please see the General Conference documents.

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The French minister of culture and communications wishes to see a stronger Internet presence for French cultural heritage

On October 2, 2007, the French ministry of culture and communication released a press release entitled “Christine Albanel wishes to see a stronger Internet presence for French cultural heritage.”

The release followed a discussion between Ms. Albanel, French minister of culture and communications, and Mats Carduner, president of Google France. It reports that “the Minister expressed her intention to speed up the timetable for its project of a ‘digital French cultural heritage’ and asked Google, the world leader in search engine technology, for suggestions and recommendations on how to go about raising the Internet profile of French cultural heritage.”

In its release, the ministry of culture et communication points out that the project of digitizing France’s cultural heritage in the interest of improved conservation, distribution, and accessibility has been underway for thirty years. The “Collections” portal of its website at www.culture.fr, which opened on August 1, 2007, allows access to 1.5 million digitized documents. The release states that “the establishment of this digital heritage will be one of the most important cultural policy issues in the upcoming years.”

Ms. Albanel took advantage of her meeting with Mr. Carduner to affirm “the French government’s commitment to copyright protection on the Internet.” The president of Google France reportedly presented Ms. Albanel with tools developed on the YouTube video sharing platform for detecting unauthorized content and allowing copyright holders to protect their work.

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Recent Publications

“Les échanges culturels de la France” (“France’s Cultural Exchanges”) (Culture chiffres Collection, 2007.4), by François Rouet – September 2007

The studies, forecasting, and statistical branch (DEPS) of the French ministry of culture and communication announced the release of “Les échanges culturels de la France” (France’s Cultural Exchanges) by François Rouet. The study is part of its Culture chiffres (Cultural Statistics) collection.

The study notes that “France’s international cultural exchanges are reliant on the free movement of goods, the development of which can be followed over the long term using customs data supplied by the Directorate General of Customs and Indirect Taxation.” DEPS states that this issue of Culture chiffres analyzes the “cultural trade balance,” with breakdowns and balances for six fields: books, press, sound and video recording, sheet music, musical instruments, and art works and objects.

You can download the study (in French) at www.culture.gouv.fr/deps

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“Les flux d’échanges internationaux de biens et services culturels : déterminants et enjeux (“International Trade Flows in Cultural Goods and Services: Issues and Determining Factors”), (Culture études Collection, 2007.2) – September 2007

The studies, forecasting, and statistical branch (DEPS) of the French ministry of culture and communication announced the publication of “Les flux d’échanges internationaux de biens et services culturels : déterminants et enjeux” (International trade flows in cultural goods and services: issues and determining factors) as part of the series Culture études (Culture Studies).

The DEPS study states that “measuring and understanding international trade in cultural goods and services are essential in drafting an integration strategy for French stakeholders in international trade and in more broadly defining the prerequisites for maintaining cultural diversity.” DEPS notes that this new study uses econometrics to try to understand the degree to which trade in cultural goods and services might serve as indicators of the distance between cultures by looking at commercial trade, foreign investment, and worker migration

This study can be downloaded (in French) at www.culture.gouv.fr/deps

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Media Legislation in Africa: A Comparative Legal Survey, by Guy Berger

With support from UNESCO, a publication on media legislation in Africa has just been released, the result of research undertaken by a team of African scholars, coordinated by Professor Guy Berger, Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.

In a press release, l’UNESCO states that the study, entitled “Media Legislation in Africa: A Comparative Legal Survey”, includes an overview of the existing media legislation in ten multi-party democracies in Africa and a comparative analysis, while also putting the legislation in perspective with respect to regional and international standards and best-practices in the field of media law conducive to freedom of expression. The countries surveyed are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

Quoting Professor Guy Berger, the press release notes that “This book puts country laws in an international and African context, and it also generates recommendations that apply to both the ten states in the study as well as others.”

You can download this study by visiting UNESCO’s website.

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Other News of Interest

Report on the symposium “Musique et Diversité - La filière musicale au service de la diversité culturelle” (“Music and Diversity—The Music Industry in the Service of Cultural Diversity”)

The symposium Musique & Diversité, presented by the Bureau Export de la Musique Française (BEMF, or Export office or French music), took place on September 4, 2007, at Centre Pompidou in Paris, France. According to organizers, the event was an opportunity to consider a number of problems relating to diversity. On its website, BEMF states that “the UNESCO Convention, adopted in October 2005 and entering into force on March 18, 2007, was the day’s underlying theme. Momentum appears to be building.”

BEMF invites you to read its report on the event on its website.

Short version (in French only):
www.french-music.org/francais/generalexportinformation.php

Long version (in French only):
www.french-music.org/francais/generalexportinformation.php

A video of artists (in French only) speaking on the topics of exports and cultural diversity is also available at the following address:
www.french-music.org/videos/artistes.htm

Bureau Export de la Musique Française is a nonprofit organization created in 1993 on the initiative of French record producers with the support of government and professional organizations in the recording and performance industry. Its goal is help the French music profession establish an international presence both for artists and productions, thereby promoting international record sales.

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2007 Jikji Prize awarded to Phonogrammarchiv

In an impressive ceremony held on 4 September 2007 in Cheongju City, in the Republic of Korea, the Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences formally received the UNESCO/Jikji Memory of World Prize certificate and cheque. In a press release on the event, UNESCO reports that the ceremony was held at the Grand Hall of the Cheongju Arts Centre for some 1,200 specially invited participants. Previously recorded congratulatory video messages were delivered by UNESCO’s Director-General, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, in addition to speeches delivered by the Minister of Culture, the Governor of Chungcheungbukdo Province and the Mayor of Cheongju City.

The UNESCO/Jikji Memory of World Prize, the first prize in the field of documentary heritage, was established by UNESCO in April 2004 to commemorate the inscription of Jikji, the oldest surviving book made with moveable metal characters, on the Memory of World Register.

The Prize, consisting of an award of US$30,000, along with a certificate, is given every two years to individuals or institutions that have made a significant contribution to the preservation and accessibility of the documentary heritage.

The press release notes that “This year’s winner, the Phonogrammarchiv, is the oldest sound archive in the world, having been founded in 1899. It has made a substantial contribution to the advancement of audiovisual preservation and it plans to use the prize money to assist in preserving a collection in a developing country.”

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