Monday, November 21, 2005

World Television Day and global culture or cultural diversity

Another international day of something, and again, nobody noticed.

Today was World Television Day (proclaimed by the UN in 1996) and member states are urged to observe it by encouraging global exchanges of television programmes focusing, among other things, on such issues as peace, security, economic and social development and the enhancement of cultural exchange.

Television is a very powerful medium and can be used as a tool for increasing understanding of the world around us.

Australia has five free-to-air broadcasters (and their regional affiliates). Three are commercial stations with the usual local sports, drama, comedy (including sitcoms), news and current affairs, 'reality' shows etc. They also rebroadcast the quite a significant amount of American shows (they are cheaper to buy compared to local productions).

There are two government funded broadcasters (similar to the BBC). One of these is the amazing SBS which rebroadcasts programmes from around the world. These include:
- the very popular Kommissar (Inspector) Rex from Austria (in German with English subtitles)
- a police drama Rejseholdet (Unit One, from Denmark, in Danish with English subtitles)
- the American South Park which is too offensive to be shown on the commercial stations

Today, on SBS, there was French film called Ce vieux rêve qui bouge. Later on tonight, there is another French film called Nos enfants chéris. During the rest of the week, there are films from Cyprus, South Korea, Denmark, Greece, Japan, Italy, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

In the mornings, there are news bulletins from:
- Japan in Japanese (from NHK)
- China in Mandarin (from CCTV)
- Italy in Italian (from RAI)
- Germany in German (Das Journal from Deutsche Welle)
- Spain in Spanish (from TVE)
- France in French (from FR2)
- Russia in Russian (from NTV)
- Greece in Greek (from ERT)
- Dubai in Arabic (from DRTV)
- Indonesia in Bahasa (from TVRI)
- Poland in Polish (from Telewizja Polsat)

SBS is wonderful in reminding us that we in Australia are just a small part of a larger world.

This brings me to my next point about global culture or cultural diversity.

Last month (on 20 October), UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Most countries (148) voted in favour. The United States and Israel voted against. Unfortunately Australia abstained (along with Honduras, Nicaragua and Liberia) so as not to offend the majority or the United States.

Basically France has been very supportive of the Convention and most countries believe that they should have the right to set their own cultural policies. France also protects its local film and television industries (with subsidies) much to the consternation of American television and film companies. France does not want their culture to be taken over by globalised American television and films.

On the other paw, aside from excellent films, France does produce bad television as there is little competition.

One last point about American culture. One of our commercial networks used to rebroadcast the American ABC World News with Peter Jennings. For a 'world' news, there was hardly any news from outside the United States. I say, thankfully there is CNN, and even the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, otherwise viewers will remain ignorant about the rest of the world.

*As always, please check out Cooper and Camilla who always have interesting things to say.


Last night after my post on this blog we watched The Neverending Story. What a cool film! My human loves that film (I can now understand why). He also enjoyed the book by Michael Ende (translated by Ralph Manheim - the English vocabulary is far too complex to be a children's book). Actually, my human still means to read it in its original German, Die Unendliche Geschichte.

Atreyu riding on Falkor, the Luckdragon in The Neverending Story

Monday again! I spent all day looking forward to my brush tonight when we watch Numb3rs


Anonymous a 'dumb' American said...

No wonder people call us stupid Americans.

But hey, we live in the best country in the world, why would we care about the rest of it?

Monday, 21 November, 2005  

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