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East-West audiovisual co-operation

Recommendation 1098 (1989)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 2 February 1989 (23rd Sitting) (see Doc. 5997, report of the Committee on Culture and Education, Rapporteur: Mrs Morf). Text adopted by the Assembly on 2 February 1989 (23rd Sitting).

The Assembly

1. Noting the interim report of its Committee on Culture and Education (Doc. 5997) on the Colloquy “Cinema and television: the audiovisual field as a vector of communication between Eastern and Western Europe”, organised in Orvieto from 26 to 28 October 1988 by the committee as its contribution to European Cinema and Television Year;
2. Recalling its Recommendation 862 (1979) on cinema and the state, and its Recommendations 926 (1981) on questions raised by cable television and by direct satellite broadcasts, 996 (1984) on Council of Europe work relating to the media, and 1067 (1987) on the cultural dimension of broadcasting in Europe;
3. Recalling also its recent reports relating to East West co-operation and in particular Recommendation 1075 (1988) on European cultural co-operation and Resolution 909 (1988) on East-West relations (General policy of the Council of Europe);
Open dialogue and exchanges
4. Believing that the audiovisual field represents an essential area for communication and co-operation between countries, peoples and persons in Eastern and Western Europe, and that this is particularly relevant in view of the current positive political moves towards more open dialogue and of technological developments such as direct broadcasting by satellite;
5. Welcoming the increasing readiness of the Soviet Union and certain other East European countries to participate in open discussion of audiovisual questions, as in the Orvieto Colloquy, and to enter into specific bilateral and possibly multilateral agreements;
6. Aware of the existing exchange of audiovisual material, either bilaterally or through film festivals or through such bodies as EBU and OIRT, but believing that a serious information gap still persists and that it is important to encourage a far greater flow of information, material and persons between Eastern and Western Europe;
7. Noting also that the current flow of audiovisual material is preponderantly from West to East, and believing that special efforts are necessary to balance this tendency through improvements both in the production of East European material and in its distribution in the West (facilities for subtitling or dubbing and training in marketing techniques);
8. Stressing the role played by contacts at all levels in this field and the need for the development of networks for circulating audiovisual material and information about it;
9. Noting, in addition, other means of improving contacts and the exchange of information, such as:
9.1 telebridges,
9.2 exchange of persons (artists or technicians),
9.3 genuine co-productions;
Role of the state
10. Convinced that audiovisual creativity and the flow of information should be free from economic and commercial constraints, as also from political control and censorship;
11. Believing that the state continues to play an essential role in the maintenance of cultural standards and therefore in assisting production and in ensuring free flow;
12. Welcoming the fact that the European Convention on Transfrontier Television is in principle to be opened to non-member countries, and calling on countries in Eastern Europe to consider developing their audiovisual policies and practice in a manner that could facilitate their adherence in due course to this basic framework;
13. Stressing, however, the need for ongoing intergovernmental co-operation in order that this framework can be widened to encompass the whole of the audiovisual field;
Specific areas for co-operation
14. Noting as of particular East-West relevance the advantages of intergovernmental co-operation in specific technical areas such as:
a the compilation of European audiovisual legislation;
b statistics on production, distribution (and programme flow) and audiences;
c the cataloguing of archive material;
d the development of technologies (for example multilingual broadcasting and HDTV (high definition television));
15. Noting that education and training are also a key area in which East-West audiovisual co-operation could be usefully developed, notably through:
a distance teaching, especially in scientific subjects or the visual arts;
b audiovisual literacy, especially research, teacher training and exchanges;
c the training of technicians, and the exchange of techniques, technology and persons;
16. Emphasising also the need for continuing international co-operation for the protection of literary and artistic property (copyright), as well as neighbouring rights, through the drawing up and effective implementation throughout Europe of regulations concerning these questions and including that of audiovisual piracy;
European co-operation
17. Believing that it is in the interests of the quality and cultural diversity of audiovisual production throughout Europe (both East and West) that cooperation in this field should be on as wide a European basis as possible;
18. Convinced that special emphasis should be placed on the East-West dimension in all European audiovisual co-operation, whether on the level of the Council of Europe (in such projects as "Eurimages") or in activities of the European Community (the MEDIA project and European Film Distribution Office), or in the recently proposed "Audiovisual EUREKA";
19. Believing, however, that the Council of Europe is the most suitable institution in Europe for developing East-West audiovisual co-operation;
20. Noting that the Committee of Ministers has considered "debate in the widest European parliamentary forum to be indispensable for the strengthening of the European cultural identity and the development of co-operation in the largest possible European geographical area" (reply to Recommendation 1075);
21. Calling on its Committee on Culture and Education to pursue and develop the contacts that were made on the occasion of the Orvieto Colloquy, and to continue to develop proposals for co-operation in the audiovisual field in the light of further colloquies and in the context of a more general review of questions raised by European Cinema and Television Year;
22. Noting the large extent to which the proposals for European co-operation made at the last European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Stockholm, 23 and 24 November 1988) meet the conclusions of the Orvieto Colloquy,
23. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers give immediate consideration to the establishment of a suitable framework for East-West audiovisual co-operation, in the first place by making the fullest possible use of the European Cultural Convention, but also by working towards a more specific instrument.$