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The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications by Janet Wasko, Graham Murdock, Helena Sousa

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23

New International Debates on Culture, Information, and Communication

Armand Mattelart (translation by Liz Libbrecht)

One of the main changes in recent years in the fields of culture, information, and communication has been in the topography of the places in which their status is negotiated, in relation to their increasing appropriation by private or corporate interests. UNESCO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have all been involved in setting this international agenda. Notwithstanding the division of tasks assigned to them in the United Nations system, a guiding principle runs through the themes that each organization deals with: cultural diversity, liberalization of services and audiovisual flows, the information society, intellectual property.

The topography of the agents has also changed. A new configuration of sociopolitical and professional players has emerged and is making itself heard in these institutions: industry trade associations and lobbies exerting pressure to break down public regulations in the name of freedom of trade and self-regulation, as well as the multiple components of civil society. For example, the international coalition of professional organizations promoting culture for cultural diversity, relayed by a network of national collectives; the collective of networks against neoliberal globalization, CRIS (Communication Rights in Information Society), ...

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