UNESCO's initiative - the UNESCO Programme for Creative Content - is aimed at boosting the production and dissemination of local content in both the traditional and new media in the most disadvantaged communities of the developing world.
UNESCO plans to do this by:
training content creators;
supporting content production;
enhancing content distribution channels ("pushing" local content on to the global stage).
The UNESCO Programme for Creative Content is the concrete follow-up to and implementation of the following recognized international instruments: UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity Action plan, item 12;
The United Nations ICT Task Force's Goals: Support local content creation;
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals;
Beijing Platform for Action, Section J.
The lack of local content is evident across all media and information channels.- in the developing world. One needs to spend just a few minutes in front of a television or computer screen to notice the overwhelming presence of content coming from content providers in the developed countries, reflecting language, values and lifestyles which are often vastly different from those of the community "consuming" the content.
Content does not flow of its own accord; it needs owners or originators with the motivation to create, adapt or exchange it.
Obviously, the agencies that 'pus' global or non-local content are more powerful and resourceful than those disseminating local content.
With a few exceptions (e.g. the telephone, community radio, or
indigenous knowledge systems), most formal content and communication 'channels' in developing countries help to push 'external' content into local communities. Counter efforts to distribute local content (such as African film, Asian research publications, 'southern voices' in the media, or the e-trading of traditional crafts) to global networks face an uphill struggle.
While the importance of local content has often been raised in many international meetings and by numerous donors and cooperation agencies, concrete initiatives and expertise in this area are scarce.
Many, if not most, content initiatives using ICTs tend to 'push'
external content towards local communities. In other words, they mainly provide 'access' to other people's knowledge. With a few exceptions, new technologies are not used to strengthen the 'push' of local content from local people. Generally, the balance between 'push' and 'pull'- or supply and demand - is heavily weighted towards non-local rather than local content.
Text and photograph - courtesy UNESCO - Cooperating Organization and Partner with dgCommunity Culture and Development