Cultural Diversity Convention
APC members and partners respond to CRIS call for international mobilisation on the UNESCO Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity.
The Communication Rights in the Information Society Campaign, an international network of organisations and individuals working to ensure that Communication Rights are central to any vision of an information society, is mobilising around the forthcoming negotiations on the UNESCO Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity.
The stated aim of the draft convention is to allow each country to implement cultural, media, and communications policies that foster cultural diversity.
Sasha Constanza-Schock, of Free Press and an active CRIS members says: "This Convention was originally designed to ensure that culture, in the age of globalised culture industries, is not reduced to a commodity. However, some governments have proposed dangerous revisions that would transform the draft Convention into an instrument that expands corporate ownership of culture."
In response the CRIS campaign submited concrete suggestions to UNESCO for changes to the draft Convention on 15th November 2004 based on the following:
- First, the Convention must not be made subordinate to existing or future trade agreements. To do so would defeat its purpose.
- Second, it should be designed to not only protect diversity of national and regional cultural industries, but to protect the cultural diversity and the communication rights of all peoples.
- Third, it must balance any references to the protection of intellectual property rights with reference to protection of the cultural commons. Otherwise, references to intellectual property rights should be removed altogether.
15 November 2004
Dear Mr Matsuura
On behalf of the campaign on Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS) and the 88 endorsing organisations listed, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is pleased to submit the attached comments on the draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.
AMARC is an international non-governmental organisation having consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Committee and UNESCO and accredited to the intergovernmental meeting in September 2004 to consider the draft convention.
These comments reflect the opinion of a wide range of non-governmental organisations working in the fields of cultural diversity and communication rights. We request that these comments be drawn to the attention of the Bureau and the Drafting Committee, that they be circulated to government delegations, and that they be published on the UNESCO website alongside other comments from governments and observers.