5th Congress of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) met in Montreal for its fifth international congress on October 26 and 27, 2018.

Founded on 19 September 2007 in Seville, Spain, the IFCCD is the voice of cultural professionals around the world. Its member coalitions represent creators, artists, independent producers, distributors, broadcasters and publishers in the book, film, television, music, performing arts and visual arts sectors.

Since its foundation in Seville, the Federation has held its international congress in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) in 2009, Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2012, Mons (Belgium) in 2015. This year, Canada hosted the event, which brought together eighteen delegates on site and four remotely. Nineteen countries were represented: Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Senegal, Chad, Togo (Africa), Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay (Americas), Australia (Asia-Pacific), Belgium, France, Slovakia, Switzerland (Europe), Uganda and United Kingdom.

What to remember from the Montreal Congress

The IFCCD had experienced a slowdown in its activity since the Mons Congress in 2015, its secretariat having been vacant for almost two years. Organized to relaunch the IFCCD's work, the Montreal Congress provided many avenues for reflection and work for the coming years.

During the first day, IFCCD members discussed the composition of the organization, its means of action, the possibilities of supporting national coalitions and their necessary re-mobilization at the regional level around targeted actions. They also expressed their wish to rebuild the relationship with the UNESCO Secretariat and to get involved in the activities surrounding the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

During a round table discussion, everyone presented the challenges of cultural diversity in their country, developments since the ratification of the UNESCO Convention, progress, obstacles and the current situation of each coalition.

South America, which was particularly mobilized at the time of the adoption of the Convention, has experienced political changes that have marked the cultural sector and weakened the coalitions that have been in place in recent years. The lack of resources complicates coordination between civil society organizations in the field of culture. Nevertheless, IFCCD members are taking every opportunity to participate in legislative reviews or to establish, as in Chile, a national day for cultural diversity.

In Africa, the situation is also very much linked to the political context of each country. For many, the challenge is to depoliticize culture. There is a lack of resources in the region but also a problem with the management of funds, which are not always allocated properly. The discussions also revealed that the Convention is largely unknown in most countries and that governments must be made aware of the importance of cultural exemption clauses in trade treaties.

The situation in Asia-Pacific, which was poorly represented at this congress, made it possible to present the problems related to authoritarian regimes and the issues of freedom of expression that affect many artists. The territorial and linguistic challenge makes joint action difficult, but several organizations maintain a certain dynamism and activity in their countries.

In Europe, the focus is on strengthening national coalitions for better networking. As in Canada, the development of digital technology and its impact on culture are at the heart of general concerns. Coalitions are also mobilizing to recognize the specificity of cultural goods and services in trade agreements.

A dialogue with representatives of the governments of Quebec and Canada

The congress continued in the presence of representatives of the Canadian and Quebec governments, who came to meet the members of the IFCCD.

The Government of Quebec has identified three main priorities regarding the diversity of cultural expressions: the implementation of the UNESCO Convention in the digital context, the challenges of international trade, and international cooperation, in particular through UNESCO's International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD).

The presence of Canadian government officials opened a discussion on maintaining the cultural exemption in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. The France-Canada declaration on cultural diversity and the digital space was also mentioned.

The exchange highlighted that government support for the CDCE and the work of the IFCCD is valuable and extremely beneficial for all organizations around the world, and should be an example to be followed in other countries.

Finally, this exchange was also an opportunity to discuss the mobility of artists and the means to be implemented to improve their circulation.

Working with the research community

Researchers were invited to join delegates to provide input on the second day of the conference. Véronique Guèvremont, of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, presented the Study on International Cooperation with French-speaking African Countries for the Implementation of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Environment, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec and conducted in five African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.

Destiny Tchéhouali, a researcher at the Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM - Université du Québec à Montréal) then discussed his work with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, in relation to international Internet governance and the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital age.

The discussion continued on the importance of collaboration with researchers, in particular on information sharing (statistical data, national reports) and the bridges to be built between the IFCCD and the various UNESCO Chairs, the academic community and networks such as the International Network of Jurists for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The IFCCD members then summarized their priorities and defined several working areas and projects for the year 2018-2019.

The Congress ended with the election of the Board of Directors, which maintained the current bodies to better prepare for the future. The next IFCCD Congress will be held in an African country in the fall of 2019.


A look back at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the CDCE

Photo © Camille Gladu-Drouin

On October 25, 2018, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions celebrated its 20th anniversary in Montreal. Its members were present as well as the many personalities who contributed to its development.

Organized in two parts, a conference followed by a reception, the event allowed the CDCE to reaffirm its priorities and review the highlights of its history.

Opened by Bill Skolnik, Co-Chair of the CDEC, Kelly Beaton, Acting Director General, Creative Market and Innovation, Canadian Heritage, and Ian Morissette, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Crown Corporations, Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec, the conference was an opportunity for the CDCE to address three themes at the heart of current issues for the diversity of cultural expressions.

A first panel “Evaluating the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Age” was to guide the CDEC’s work on measuring the diversity of online cultural expressions, so that it could propose effective reforms and promote the influence strategies of cultural sector actors. The first observation is that there is a decrease in data every year. Patrick Joly indicated that 60% of the data related to the sale of books in French are currently available. The panelists, Jean-Robert Bisaillon, Patrick Joly and Josée Plamondon, stressed the importance of descriptive data to activate the discoverability of cultural content and, possibly, to measure the diversity of online cultural expressions. The various cultural sectors are not all at the same point, but the process is underway. The growing presence of transnational platforms raises the question of the development of international standards. The development of digital tools has significant potential for the sector, as demonstrated by the experience of the Quartier des spectacles partnership. Personal data protection issues and the reluctance of companies to share their data are aspects that constantly come up when it comes to usage data.

Secondly, Nathalie Guay presented the reflection initiated by the CDCE on the need for cultural ethics in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). AI interacts with cultural content in several ways, at the level of recommendation algorithms but also at the level of creative processes. While some developments present interesting opportunities – one can think of the potential of discoverability for niche content – others have negative consequences and raise many concerns, not only for creators but also for society in general: standardization of taste, lower remuneration, loss of control over personal data, increased investment to ensure discoverability, etc. For the CDCE, it is essential that the development of AI be guided by ethical principles, in particular that of the diversity of cultural expressions.

The last panel brought together the international guests of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, which met in congress on October 26 and 27 in Montreal. Among them, Guillaume Prieur for France, Ray Argall for Australia, Mane Nett for Chile and Kodjo Noussouglo for Togo. Véronique Guèvremont, of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, opened the discussion on initiatives (regulations, agreements, pilot projects) implemented around the world to defend cultural diversity in a context of dematerialization of cultural goods and services. She noted that the initiatives to date are not yet up to the challenges of protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions, some advocating the adaptation of artists, creators and producers to digital technology and others focusing only on adjusting tax models. The European Union is truly the region with the most significant progress, particularly with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMS), which sets quotas for the exposure of European works on video-on-demand platforms and investment obligations for European creation. This is in stark contrast to the situation in Africa, where barely 2% of cultural content is African, even in traditional media.

During the reception that followed, several prominent figures from the political and cultural sectors took the floor to highlight the work accomplished by the CDCE over the past twenty years: the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Sheila Copps, former Minister of Canadian Heritage, Louise Beaudoin, former Minister of Culture and Communications, and then International Relations of Quebec, Solange Drouin, Co-Chair of the CDCE, Pierre Curzi, First President of the CDCE, and Robert Pilon, First Executive Vice-President of the CDCE.

Through their testimonies, the history of the Coalition has been retraced: its creation by the main Quebec cultural associations in the spring of 1998; the enlargement as early as 1999 to the main professional associations of the cultural sector in Canada; the campaign in the 2000s for the recognition of the symbolic value of cultural goods and services; the adoption in 2005 of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions; the efforts in the following years to convince cultural professionals from all continents to create their own coalition; the daily work, yesterday and today, with the thirty active members, to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, in Canada and around the world.

Through their presence and involvement in the debates, the members and partners of the CDCE expressed their willingness to continue the mobilization. In a context marked by the revision of the laws on broadcasting, telecommunications, radiocommunication, as well as the law on copyright, several voices were raised to highlight the importance of a change in the legislative framework concerning the financing and the dissemination of cultural content in Canada.

The event attracted a wider audience than the only networks of the CDCE, proof if any were needed, that the issue of the diversity of cultural expressions does not only concern cultural industries but also society as a whole.


Ethical Principles for the Development of Artificial Intelligence Based on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

The CDCE presents a first reflection on artificial intelligence (AI) so that discussions on its development and applications better integrate cultural issues in general, and those of the diversity of cultural expressions in particular.

On September 25, 2018, CDCE representatives and collaborators met with the Montreal Declaration team to reflect on the interaction between artificial intelligence (AI) and the diversity of cultural expressions (DCE). This text is the result of this meeting, additional research and feedback from CDCE members or allies, in particular on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the CDCE on October 25, 2018. It is not intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it relies on simplicity and conciseness to encourage the greatest number of people to read it.

The objective of the CDCE is to identify the challenges raised by artificial intelligence and the opportunities it creates for the diversity of cultural expressions, propose ethical principles to guide the development of AI in the cultural field and make recommendations to implement these principles.


Law Review: Issues and Perspectives for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Solange Drouin and Bill Skolnik, Co-Chairs of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, on behalf of the 30 member organizations

On October 25, our Coalition will celebrates its twentieth anniversary. Coincidentally, it is October 25, precisely, that we will meet with the Trudeau government-mandated committee of experts regarding the revision of the broadcasting, telecommunications and radio communication acts. Both events will be an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the diversity of cultural expressions. New regulations adapted to the digital challenges are essential. We, members of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, a pan-Canadian organization bringing together the main Francophone and Anglophone cultural organizations in Canada, want to contribute to its development.

There is an urgent need to address the financing and dissemination of national cultural content. We believe that all who benefit from artistic creation must contribute to its funding. The field of contributors needs to be expanded to currently unrelated providers (internet service providers, mobile service providers) and web-based platforms, which can be simultaneously producers, broadcasters and online merchants. To impose this rebalancing is to defend the value of our businesses and our achievements.

Let’s also reflect on the evolution of the modes of diffusion of our cultural content. We must learn – and make understood - how an algorithm works. How are French and English Canadian music and films discovered on platforms such as Spotify or Netflix? What data do we have to compel them to share in order to ensure a minimum of Canadian online presence and to recommend the same content to their users? Can we get more transparency from the platforms?

Artificial intelligence is at the origin of recommendation algorithms. It is up to us to intervene to promote the diversity of cultural expressions and to put culture at the heart of discussions on the evolution of technologies and their impact on our industries. Artificial intelligence also brings promise for creation. However, its development could have a lasting impact on the production methods of the works and the work of the artists. If an artificial intelligence creates a new artistic form from the work of an artist, is the artist still the author? And is the work always a work if it is deprived of human intention?

Finally, we believe that protecting and promoting the nature and value of Canadian cultural content in all its forms on an international scale is essential. When renegotiating NAFTA - now USMCA - we campaigned for the maintenance of the cultural exemption. Our arguments have been heard. We applaud the efforts of the federal government, with strong provincial support, especially from Quebec, to ensure that culture is exempted from commercial commitments with Mexico and the United States. We have also followed closely the recent choices of the European Union: the vote in favour of the Copyright Directive in the digital age, and the adoption by the European Parliament of a quota of 30 % of European content in catalogues of video-on-demand platforms. These are major developments and, like our European partners, we believe it is essential to preserve the capacity of states to implement policies to support local cultural expressions.

On October 25, we will celebrate twenty years of progress in favour of culture. As a result of the work already accomplished, it is the challenges of today and tomorrow that mobilize us. On October 26 and 27, we will continue our reflection with our colleagues from African, European and South American coalitions at the 5th Congress of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) to be held in Montreal. Let’s take inspiration from international initiatives and find local solutions quickly!

Contemporary and Future Challenges for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Data Access, Artificial Intelligence and International Perspectives

Thursday October 25th, 1:30 pm to 8 pm

Galerie Gora, 279 Sherbrooke West, suite 2015, Montreal

Registration required online


The Cultural Exemption Maintained in the Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) congratulates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez and the former Minister Mélanie Joly, for maintaining the cultural exemption in the new Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The CDCE salutes the tenacity of Canadian negotiators, the unwavering support of the Quebec government, and the steadfastness of the political leaders who stated throughout the renegotiation that they would not give ground.

According to the available analyses, this exemption, which will allow Canada to maintain its cultural sovereignty, was essential for the future of this sector in the digital age. In the context of the revision of the Copyright, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Radiocommunication Acts, maintaining the exemption will allow Canada to adopt policies and programs to ensure the sustainability and development of our cultural industries in the digital age, which support the creation and dissemination of our cultural content.

In 2016, cultural goods and services accounted for more than 650,000 jobs and a GDP of $53.8 billion. Beyond this important economic contribution, cultural content is a source of individual and collective identity and has a fundamentally symbolic value.

Without the existing government measures intended in particular for Canadian artists, creators, producers, publishers and broadcasters, the cultural sectors would never have been able to achieve such vigor and offer such a wide diversity of content in the face of U.S. productions, whose means of production and marketing are much higher.

The CDCE will continue its study of the agreement in the coming days with a more detailed legal analysis, especially since the texts must still be submitted to revision processes by the parties.

For further information:
Bill Skolnik, Co-Chair
Nathalie Guay, General Coordinator
514-655-6651
416-482-3815


Contemporary and Future Challenges for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Data Access, Artificial Intelligence and International Perspectives

October 25th, 1:30pm to 8 pm, Gallery Gora, 279 Sherbrooke West, suite 205, Montreal, Qc.

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. We are pleased to invite the many people who have accompanied the CDCE in its journey from its early days to the present to join us on this occasion!

We will start with a conference during which we will discuss current issues for the diversity of cultural expressions, followed by a reception where various personalities who a played a key role in the evolution of the CDCE will revisit the history of the coalition.

French / English interpretation available.

Free (and mandatory) registration:

Register

Agenda

1.30 pm : Reception and registration

2 pm : Opening remarks

Animation: Nadia Seraiocco, lecturer and doctoral student at UQAM, techno columnist at Moteur de recherche, ICI Première.

2.15 pm: Evaluating the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital age

Experts will explore the indicators needed to build an index of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital age, the existing data, and their availability or not, as well as the potential of using data to foster diversity of cultural expressions.

  • Jean-Robert Bisaillon, Co Director, LATTICE
  • Patrick Joly, General Manager, BTLF Management Company
  • Josée Plamondon, Consultant, Specialist in Information Systems and Databases

3.15 pm: A cultural ethic for the development of artificial intelligence (AI)

Initiatives are being developed to address the ethical dimension of AI, but it’s interaction with culture is not always tackled properly. However, access to cultural content is increasingly mediated by AI, via algorithms, and AI is likely to play a growing role in the creation of cultural content. What ethical principles should accompany the IA-Culture interaction? How can AI contribute to the diversity of cultural expressions?

After a presentation on the ethical dimension of IA and the proposal developed by the CDEC to contribute to the debate, the discussion will focus on providing feedbacks to the CDCE  proposal.

  • Nathalie Guay, General Coordinator of the CDCE

4 pm: International Perspectives on the Diversity of Online Cultural Expressions

What initiatives (regulations, agreements, pilot projects) are being implemented or proposed to cope with the impacts or seize the opportunities arising from the dematerialization of cultural contents and their availability on the web? How can they inspire the current revision of copyright, broadcasting, telecommunications and radiocommunication laws in Canada?

  • Véronique Guèvremont, UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Professor, Université Laval
  • Guillaume Prieur, Coordinator of the French Coalition on Cultural Diversity
  • Ray Argall, Coordinator of the Australian Coalition on Cultural Diversity
  • Mane Nett, President of the International Federation of Coalitions on Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) and of the Chilean Coalition on Cultural Diversity
  • Kodjo Cyriaque Noussouglo, Vice-President of the International Federation of Coalitions on Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) and President of the Togolese Coalition on Cultural Diversity

5 pm : Reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the CDCE

Important personalities and actors in the evolution of the CDCE will highlight the 20 years of the CDCE.

For any questions, please write (coalition@cdc-ccd.org) or call us (514-277-2666).

 

This event is made possible thanks to the support of Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications and Canadian Heritage.


The Cultural Exemption and the Renegotiation of NAFTA

In the context of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is urging that the global cultural exemption clause be maintained. To date, the Canadian government has made a commitment to preserve it. Following its agreement with Mexico on electronic commerce, the United States asked Canada for some compromises, the consequences of which could be disastrous. This note explains what the cultural exemption is and why it should be maintained, particularly with regard to digital trade.


Renegotiating NAFTA - Maintaining the cultural exemption or giving up our cultural sovereignty

As Canada embarks on what appears to be a fundamental landmark in the renegotiation of NAFTA, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions wishes to reiterate the need to maintain cultural exemption in this important trade agreement.

The cultural exemption, already included in NAFTA, recognizes Canada’s sovereign right to adopt measures and policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions within its territory, a right recognized in 2005 in the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, of which Canada was the first signatory.

Relinquishing the cultural exemption in NAFTA would have catastrophic effects on cultural ecosystems, many of which are particularly disrupted by the digital distribution of content. It would prevent our government from adopting policies and programs to support cultural development in Canada. Without these measures intended namely for Canadian artists, creators, producers, publishers and broadcasters, the cultural sectors could never have achieved such vigor and offered such a wide diversity of content in the face of US productions, whose means of production and marketing are much more important.

The Canadian government, which has undertaken the review of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts, must absolutely retain the necessary leeway if it wishes to continue to promote the creation and dissemination of Canadian cultural programming.

At the turn of the century, Canada and Quebec played a leading role internationally to have the dual nature of culture recognized. Cultural goods and services have an undisputed economic value, employing more than 650,000 people and generating a GDP of $ 53.8 billion in 2016.

But cultural content also has an irreplaceable symbolic value that nurtures the identity of diverse individuals and societies, capable of contributing to the richness of perspectives on a global scale. That is what is priceless and must be preserved by our negotiators.


CRTC report on the Future of Programming Distribution in Canada and review of broadcasting, telecommunications and radiocommunication legislation

>>>>> What are the prospects for resolving the crisis shaking creators, artists and producers of cultural content in Canada? Report on the events held by the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

On June 5 and 6, 2018, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) held a meeting in Montreal and then in Toronto to review the CRTC’s report on future programming and distribution models. The CDCE had invited Suzanne Lamarre, an expert in telecommunications, radiocommunication and broadcasting law and regulation, lawyer and engineer at Terrien Couture, to deliver an analysis of the report, which was followed by a panel of CDCE members. The events were rich in reflections and perspectives! The following is an account of what was heard during these two days and may not fully reflect the positions of the CDCE.


Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada

In October 2017, the CRTC launched a consultation on the distribution and programming models of the future. In June 2018, the CDEC organized the event "What Future for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions Online?" to allow the public to get acquainted with the CRTC's report, to hear the reactions of representatives of the cultural community involved in the consultations, and to discuss the issues raised in this consultation.

Invited by the CDCE Suzanne Lamarre delivered her analysis of the report. Here is her presentation.

Read the presentation

Suzanne Lamarre is a lawyer, engineer and strategic advisor in regulatory affairs at the law office Therrien Couture. She works primarily in the areas of telecommunications, radiocommunications and broadcasting law as a strategic advisor on regulatory and governmental matters at both the national and international level. Her work in this capacity includes preparing submissions and appearing before the CRTC, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada and the International Telecommunications Union.

Suzanne Lamarre’s practice also includes the areas of public international law as well as professional conduct and ethics. Since December 2007, she serves as a member of the Disciplinary Council of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and, since 2015, she is a member of the Board of Governors of the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec. Since 2017, Suzanne Lamarre has also been a member of Télé-Québec's Board of Directors and as of August 2018 she has been President of its Governance and Ethics Committee. She previously served on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) from 2008 to 2013.


Joint Declaration on Cultural Diversity and the Digital Space

Good news for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital era: Joint Declaration on Cultural Diversity and the Digital Space.

The Government of Canada and the Government of the French Republic declare jointly that they will pursue collaboration on implementing the operational guidelines of UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity Of Cultural Expressions in the digital environment;

Promote direct and open dialogue between partner States, the private sector, notably digital platforms, and civil society, on their responsibilities in connection with the protection and promotion of cultural diversity in the digital space.