Monday, June 24, 2013

Why should Ireland support France's demands to exclude audiovisual products from trade talks?

Is Ireland better off if movies and television are excluded from EU-US free trade talks?

Danielle Auroi - French deputy of the European Green Party, chairwoman of the European Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, and head of delegation for the Conference of the Community and European Affairs Committees (busy woman) - writing in today's Irish Times argues that film & television should be specifically excluded from the current trade negotiations. She says the US hasn't asked for film or television to be included in the talks, but she and others - especially in France - want to make sure film & tv don't find their way into these talks. They're worried about English-language film and television driving out work in any other European language.

Whatever. I don't have any strong feelings on audiovisual products being included in the trade talks. What interests me is this sentence: "I do hope that Ireland, which knows how vital cultural and language diversity really is, will also be vigilant on the consequences of this negotiation."

What does that mean? Does Ireland know "how vital cultural and language diversity really is?" If yes, can someone share the insight with me? I would have thought that Ireland would have been more beneficiary than loser in the growth of the market for English-language products.

Sure if you want to go back through history and talk about the destruction of the Irish language I get the point, but I don't see how the future of Irish today is threatened by these trade talks. In fact, I wonder if free trade in film and television products would be a plus for Ireland? I really have no idea.

I can't imagine that free trade in film and television products could result in any more American movies and television shows here. They seem to be everywhere already. I have a vague idea that Irish film-makers struggle to crack the market here, let alone outside Ireland and that's under the current regime. Would things really be worse for them if there was a totally free market in audiovisual products?

Maybe they would, but maybe they wouldn't. I don't think it's obvious in the way Auroi makes it seem.

Irish authors, playwrights and song-writers all benefit from the ubiquity of English so I can see no reason why Irish film-makers shouldn't too.