Joint declaration on Cultural Diversity and the Digital Space by the Government of Canada and the Government of the French Republic

20 Apr 2018

The Government of Canada and the Government of the French Republic issued a ‘Joint Declaration on Cultural Diversity and the Digital Space’. The Declaration reaffirms the sovereign right of States to adopt policies and measures to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital space, recalls protection and promotion of cultural diversity as inseparable from human rights and fundamental freedoms, confirms support for the principle of neutrality and universality of the Internet and for the multi stakeholder governance of the Internet, and emphasizes the will to support French language cultural content in the digital space. In the spirit of multistakeholder model it affirms that the States, digital platforms, and civil society must pursue common goals to support and promote diversity of cultural expressions online, to contribute to the economic sustainability of content creators and respect for copyright, to promote quality and transparent information and the implementation of algorithms with respect to ranking, recommendations, and access to local content. In addition, the States decided to:

’ - Pursue collaboration between Canada and France on implementing the operational guidelines on the implementation of the UNESCO 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.’

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) welcomed the Statement. The CDCE's co-president, Bill Skolnik, stated: ‘the signal sent by Canada and France is very important; at a time where platforms and their recommendation tools do not promote a real diversity of cultural expressions. We are pleased to see that the French and Canadian governments have heard the main concerns of the cultural community. We are eager to find out more about the impact of this statement.’

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Since its early days, the Internet has been a predominantly English-language medium. According to some statistics, approximately 56% of Web content is in English, whereas 75% of the world’s population does not speak English. This situation has prompted many countries to take concerted action to promote multilingualism and to protect cultural diversity.

 

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