Wednesday, 27.02

BOS 4: Diversity of media content


Alison Bethel McKenzie, Malu Viana Batista, Milica Pesic, Patagaw Talimalaw, Galina Petriashvili, Pascale Thumerelle, Mario Lubetkin

The media and cultural industries have enormous respon- sibility in promoting cultural diversity by shaping the perceptions of present and future generations. This panel will discuss the topic from two perspectives: First, the role of governments in ensuring that a sufficient variety of information, opinions and programmes disseminated by the media is available to the public. Second, best practices developed by the media industry towards boosting support for cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.

Rapporteur: Alison Bethel McKenzie

Moderator: Mario Lubetkin

The aim of this session is to raise awareness of the unique role of the media industry to protect and promote cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and diversity of cultural expressions. The media and cultural industries have enormous responsibility in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue by shaping the mind and the capacity of present and future generations to fulfil their need to communicate, their capacity to navigate an increasingly complex world, to nourish their curiosity, develop their talent and encourage intercultural dialogue. Two main questions will be discussed:

  • The role of governments in ensuring that a sufficient variety of information, opinions and programmes is disseminated by the media and is available to the public. Participants will share best practices regarding in particular two specific issues: how the media should be encouraged to supply the public with a diversity of media content capable of promoting critical debate and broader participation in public life of persons belonging to all communities and generations; how it can be stimulated to contribute to intercultural and inter-religious dialogue so as to promote mutual respect and tolerance and prevent potential conflicts through discussions. Both seem extremely important.
  • Best practices developed by the media industry towards boosting support for cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, namely as part of their corporate social responsibility effort. While petroleum companies, for example, are more concerned with pollution and their environmental footprint, cultural industries have to define their intellectual footprint: how do they impact their clients' brains? A few pioneer companies have identified the promotion of cultural diversity as one of the specific issues/challenges of their sustainable development policy. Indeed, such promotion is a source of economic performance for the company and spurs its societal responsibility. Offering a rich diversity of high quality content provides companies with a competitive advantage over their competitors and meets consumers’ needs.

The promotion of cultural diversity is prompted by the societal responsibility of cultural industries: how best to nourish the creative skills of present and future generations? How to ensure that we do not encourage a "mono-culture", source of intellectual obesity and an obstacle to intercultural dialogue, to open-mindedness? To avoid these traps, a few leaders in the media and cultural industry are committed to encouraging creation in all its diversity, strengthening production capacities in developing countries and promoting cultural heritage. Some have even defined indicators aimed at measuring progress in the different business units' offerings: breakdown of revenues from sales by music genre, number of languages sung by artists; share of non-national movie co-productions; percentage of investments dedicated to leveraging heritage…

This Session will lead to a number of recommendations on how diversity and cultural diversity indicators or targets can be included as an objective in the charters of media organizations, in codes of ethic adopted by media professionals or in priority- targets for media companies. It may also lead to the recommendation to pay added attention to the effect of media concentration on diversity media content, on the balance between entertainment programmes, and information and programmes fostering public debate, on the one hand, and on the contribution of the media to intercultural dialogue, on the other.