Le Monde.fr : La convention sur la diversité culturelle en débat à l’Unesco: “Dans son premier article, ce texte vise ‘à protéger et à promouvoir la diversité des expressions culturelles’, ‘à reconnaître la nature spécifique des activités, biens et services culturels en tant que porteurs d’identité, de valeurs et de sens’. Concrètement, il ‘réaffirme le droit souverain des Etats de conserver, d’adopter et de mettre en oeuvre les politiques et mesures qu’ils jugent appropriées pour la protection et la promotion de la diversité des expressions culturelles sur leur territoire’. Ce socle juridique nouveau permettrait aux Etats d’échapper au droit commun du commerce international pour mener en toute autonomie leur politique culturelle.”
So It seems the U.S. is the odd one out again, being the only UN member state trying to amend and stall this UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions while it’s still in the preliminary stages.
I understand why they are worried, besides the fact that it means America may lose a little bit of their stronghold in the arts and entertainment industries in foreign countries. Condoleeza Rice is quoted in the article fearing that this could pave the way for some governments to create restrictions on free exchange of information and even prohibit the point-of-views of cultural minortities. I think she just likes to take a ride on a slippery slope. What they probably are more worried about is the fact that this convention would, well I’m not sure if it would supercede but it would be considered “equal” to WTO (OMC en français) jurisdiction. That is, the WTO already has trade rules saying that governemnts can’t give preferential treatment to domestic goods and services (or something like that – I’m no trade expert or lawyer) which has always been a bit of concern for public libraries in Canada since technically someone could come in and create similar services and then argue that the libraries have an unfair advantage due to government funding (I know I read articles on GATS, or is it GATT that covers this?, and the WTO and all this, but I admit, I don’t remember it all).
Fortunately the U.S. does not have Veto and already a majority of UN members are planning on approving this, so really, the US stance won’t stop this. It’d be nice though if everyone could play together; I mean what good is it for all the kids in the playground to agree to play soccer when the one with the ball wants to shoot hoops? Just makes things difficult.