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Media Aid Beyond the Factual: Culture, Development, and Audiovisual Assistance

Benjamin A. J. Pearson | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This paper discusses audiovisual assistance, a form of development aid that focuses on the production and distribution of cultural and entertainment media such as fictional films and TV shows. While the first audiovisual assistance program date back to UNESCO’s International Fund for the Promotion of Culture in the 1970s, the past two decades have seen a proliferation of audiovisual assistance that, I argue, is related to a growing concern for culture in post-2015 global development agendas. In this paper, I examine the aims and motivations behind the E.U.’s audiovisual assistance programs to countries in the Global South, using data from policy documents and semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Program Managers and administrative staff in Brussels. These programs prioritize forms of audiovisual content that are locally specific, yet globally tradable. Furthermore, I argue that they have an ambivalent relationship with traditional notions of international development, one that conceptualizes media not only as a means to achieve economic development and human rights aims, but as a form of development itself.

The Return of the Cultural Exception and its Impact on International Agreements

Marlen Bartsch | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This essay examines the influence of the French concept of the “cultural exception” on European media policy and international agreements. After briefly reviewing the historical background of the cultural exception in France, the essay describes how demands for the cultural exception and those for diversity affect inter-/transnational agreements within the European Union and around the world. Special focus is placed on the current secret EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) negotiations that nearly failed because of France’s insistence that media and culture be exempted. The author argues that the concept of the “cultural exception” has been revived in recent years. However, due to the dual character of media (which is both a cultural and economic good), and the lack of a global media policy, the culture and trade debate will continue.

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