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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

UNESCO laments lack of broadcast, audio-visual policies

Remmy Nweke

LACK of adequate policies for broadcasting and audio-visual industry has been identified as a major obstacle facing policy and decision makers in developing countries, a study has revealed.

The study published recently by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), titled “Harnessing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for the audio-Visual industry and public service,” said, it was conducted across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

According to the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO, Dr. Abdul Waheed Khan, said developing countries are facing crucial decisions that affect the broadcasting and audio-visual industry.

He said that nowadays, as pillar for information and cultural exchanges, policy makers in these countries sometimes lack the necessary tools to adequately be informed on their choices and strategies.

Dr. Khan expressed optimism that the research would assist UNESCO member states in analyzing and understanding the impact of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade policies on future audio-visual landscapes of these countries.

Additionally, the UNESCO chief said it would stimulate reflection on potential implications, positive or negative, for the expression of local culture.

He emphasized that the research studies on current audiovisual trends is a joint venture of UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector and its Culture.

This have facilitated them to go beyond the areas and themes traditionally covered by each sector such as media development, cultural industries and enterprises, and introduced a new, inter-sectoral dimension into the programme: the impact of international trade on the audiovisual industry and its effects on local cultural expression.

The research conducted under this project and presented in the book, provides an overview of the main trends in the broadcasting and audiovisual industry worldwide, with a focus on regional patterns of production, consumption and trade in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The sample of countries, he said, were selected so as to represent contrasted audiovisual landscapes, some of the studied countries boasting tremendous audio-visual trade volumes while others have very limited production capacities.

Parallel to the publication of the research result now available in English and French, UNESCO organized a series of regional workshops in Bogotá, Singapore and Dakar, where the findings were shared and discussed with key groups in the three regions, and where a dialogue was encouraged among stakeholders.

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