UNESCO to fight English-language influx

19th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 18, 2006 (AFP) - A UNESCO convention aimed at protecting countries from English-language cultural standardization was poised on Monday to come into force as 14 countries were to ratify the text, the French foreign ministry said.

PARIS, Dec 18, 2006 (AFP) - A UNESCO convention aimed at protecting countries from English-language cultural standardization was poised on Monday to come into force as 14 countries were to ratify the text, the French foreign ministry said.

UNESCO's convention on cultural diversity was adopted last year despite strong protests from the United States, which fears that the convention will be used to erect barriers against its huge entertainment industry exports.

Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden as well as the European Union were to formally notify UNESCO Monday of their ratification, a ministry spokesman said.

"This will take us beyond the threshold of 30 ratifications needed for the convention to come into effect," he said, adding that the text would formally take effect three months later on March 18 next year.

Championed by France and Canada, the convention affirms the sovereign right of nations to "protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions."

It was approved last year by 148 of 154 members of the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organisation. Only the US and Israel voted against, while four countries abstained.

Supporters say the convention will help countries protect themselves in particular from English-speaking cultural standardisation. But Washington argued that it is a pretext for putting up trade barriers and blocking the free flow of information.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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