Comments on Unesco convention on cultural diversity

By EDRi · November 17, 2004

The Unesco is working on a draft convention on cultural diversity, the
Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and
Artistic Expressions. The draft contains many references to copyright,
intellectual property rights and access to information. On 15 November
2004 the campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society
(CRIS) has presented a critical paper to the Unesco delegates, endorsed by
many EDRI-members and other civil rights organisations.

The Unesco convention was originally designed to ensure that culture, in
the age of globalized culture industries, is not reduced to a commodity.
Its aim is to allow each country to implement cultural, media, and
communications policies that foster cultural diversity. However, some
governments have proposed dangerous revisions that would transform the
draft Convention into an instrument that expands corporate ownership of
culture. CRIS points out that the convention must not be made subordinate
to existing or future trade agreements. Secondly, 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
Thirdly, the convention 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.

Unesco draft convention

CRIS comments