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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Countries turn backs on Hollywood
Hollywood sign
US films account for the majority of spending at the global box office
Unesco member states have formally voted to support their own film and music industries against globalisation.

The United Nations cultural body voted in favour of a cultural diversity convention, backed by France, Canada and the UK.

The US had said the "deeply flawed" convention could be used to block the export of Hollywood films and other cultural exports.

The vote follows French moves to protect its film and music industries.

Strict quotas

France already awards large subsidies to its own film, music, theatre and opera industries to support its cultural heritage.

It also imposes strict quotas on the level on non-French material broadcast on radio and television.

The March of the Penguins
French film The March of the Penguins became a US hit
The new convention on cultural diversity aims to recognise the distinctive nature of cultural goods and services.

It enables countries to take measures to protect what it describes as "cultural expressions" that may be under threat.

The majority of Unesco's 191 member states voted for the convention.

Britain's representative to Unesco, Timothy Craddock, said the wording was "clear, carefully balanced, consistent with the principles of international law and fundamental human rights".

But it was opposed by the US, which said the convention was unclear and open to wilful misinterpretation.

Night Watch
Russian movie Night Watch has become a global hit

French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres said nations had a right to set artistic quotas because 85% of the world's spending on cinema tickets went to Hollywood.

The US suggested 28 amendments to the convention, which were almost unanimously rejected by Unesco delegates.

It was feared that Thursday's vote could isolate the US, which rejoined Unesco in 2003 after a 19-year absence.

The convention will need to be ratified by 30 member states in order to take effect.

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