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NZ Television Held Up To Ridicule

29 June, 2002

New Zealand television was held up to ridicule and was singled out as an example of what not to do at an international conference in Montreal this month.

Screen Directors Guilds from 24 countries attending their biannual conference on June 15 ­18 heard Robert Pilan, from the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, criticize the fact that New Zealand had signed away the right to protect its cultural identity at the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1994.

It is understood New Zealand did this against the advice of its own officials with the only exceptions being with respect to Maori and the Act’s operation of the NZ Film Commission.

The majority of other countries had requested and obtained significant cultural exemptions.

NZ Screen Directors Guild Executive Director Shonagh Lindsay said she found it extremely embarrassing to have New Zealand made such an example, and she took pains to point out that it was now two years since the current coalition government promised a mandatory local content system.

And with only a month to go to New Zealand’s national elections, this had become a matter of credibility and accountability to the people who had elected it.

The SDGNZ called upon the IDFO delegates present to support it, and the Green Ribbon Trust, in its continuing campaign for a local content television programming quota.

The IDFO delegates present supported this call and signed the following declaration.

‘We, the undersigned, delegates to the June 2002 meeting of the International Forum of Directors Organisations (IDFO), endorse the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand and the Green Ribbon Trust in respectfully requesting the New Zealand Government to honour its promise to institute local content television programming quotas.

We do so in the firm conviction that this is the strongest measure that New Zealand can take in creating a sustainable indigenous film and television industry and in developing and protecting its film and television culture.’

*****

Association colombienne de documentaristes (ALADOS-Colombia) Association des Réalisateurs et réalisatrices de Films (Belgium) Association des Réalisateurs et Réalisatrices du Québec (Quebec, Canada) Australian Screen Directors Association (Australia) Bundesverband Der Film und Fernsehregisseure in Deutschland (Germany) Directors Guild of Canada (Canada) Directors Guild of Great Britain (Great Britain) Dutch Directors Guild (Netherland) Eesti Kinoliit Juhatus (Estonia) Fédération panafricaine des cinéastes (Africa-Mali) Groupement des auteurs, Réalisateurs et Producteurs du Maroc (Morocco) Indian Film Directors Association (India) Korea Film Director Society (Korea) Norsk Filmforbund (Norway) Norske Filmregissorer (Norway) Plataforma Audiovisual de Chile (Chile) Polish Filmmakers Association (Poland) Professional Kinorejissorlar Guildiyasi (Azerbaijan) Samenslutningen af Danske Filminstruktorer (Denmark) Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (Ireland) Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand (New Zealand) Section de directores del STPC de la RM (Mexico) Société Des Réalisateurs de Films de France (France) Swedish Association of Stage and Screen Directors (Sweden) Verband Der Filmregisseure Österreichs (Austria)

ENDS

For futher information contact :

Shonagh Lindsay Executive Officer Screen Directors Guild of NZ (SDGNZ) PH 09 360 2102 Fax 09 360 2107


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