5 October. Government ambassadors met September 20-25 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to discuss the first draft of the proposed International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions (otherwise known as the Convention on Cultural Diversity, or CCD).
The most contentious point up for debate, as expected, was the relationship of the CCD to other international agreements. Some governments, notably the USA (at the bidding of Big Media lobbyists) are pushing hard for the CCD to be subordinate to the World Trade Organization, which would defeat the purpose of the Convention: to allow each country to exclude its cultural and media policies from the 'free trade' regime.
Also notable is the inclusion of troubling language in the draft text that refers to strengthening international intellectual property rights, and fails to recognize the need to protect and extend the public domain through encouraging alternatives to copyright like the creative commons licenses.
The campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society is calling on civil society organizations in every country to take action by submitting comments to their governments and to the UNESCO drafting committee. Commments on the draft Convention must be submitted by November 15; they will be taken up at the next intergovernmental meeting, which will be the most critical part of the drafting process. That meeting, again in Paris, will be two weeks long and begin on January 31, 2005.
Read the full reportback from the CRIS campaign
Media Trade Monitor: www.mediatrademonitor.org
UNESCO: portal on the CCD