SCCR 34 Update on Progress of Broadcasting, Cablecasting and Webcasting Treaty Progress (or lack thereof?)

5:55pm Plenary May 2, 2017 We were told there will be no time for NGOs to make statements.

The Chair started the Plenary at 5:55 pm or 5 minutes before the meeting was to clse for the day.

In brief:

  • No recommendation to the GA for a Diplomatic Conference in 2018 (not ready for prime time).
  • The Chair’s text is being replaced by a “committee Text”.
  • The EU is not happy.
  • The broadcasting treaty has stalled. Again.

Here is the transcript of what we can share:

And the discussions proceeded on the basis that we on the four elements that the text had put together and after those discussions I think we were able to have a better sense as to which issues were disagreements and divergences at the policy or political level. Maybe to make it more convenient at the policy level. And more of agreement at the policy level, but for which further technical drafting work needed to be done to sort these things out.

And I think we have a pretty good idea of that. And in my view the one and perhaps the key policy difference along with one or two others, the key one that remains the most intractable at this point in time is the issue of deferred transmissions. There are also other issues. So I single out the issue not to say that’s the only issue, but as my view of the Chair that is one of the most difficult issues.

Discussions have started, obviously, and they obviously for some of them they have been going on for quite some time. I hope the discussions in the informals, and I know many of the experts will be leaving in the next few days on broadcasting. I hope this is the chance for us to engage anew on these issues and carry on talking about them.

So the question then becomes what next? What can we do as a community to move the agenda forward?

I had the chance to talk to the Regional Coordinators earlier today around lunch time about what we can do to move this forward. And I do think that realistically speaking we are not going to be able to propose a consensus recommendation to the General Assembly that this is ready to move towards a diplomatic conference. That part we are all quite clear and the consensus from the Regional Coordinators, that is probably a realistic assessment of the information.

The SCCR has to show some progress. Under the Chair as well as under the hard work that everyone has shown this week, the last two days from the Secretariats, the countries, all the experts, and the capital as well as from here, there has been movement. I think that movement has been reflected in the amazing work that was done by the previous Chair as well as continued by this team here to have a consolidated text. We have a structure on which everyone is comfortable with, and with elements which everyone is prepared to engage within.

So what I would like to raise for consideration and again this was discussed in the informals, is to move the Chair’s text into a Committee text. I know that the process of moving it from Chair to Committee would be a step that will require everyone in this room to feel secure, to feel that their views and their divergent views on issues which may not be political but even technical, that those are reflected in some way in the document and there is space for you when you go back to your capital and report this matter back to your principals or whoever you need to report it to, that there is leeway for you to consider the proposals; that this is a basis, right, on which further discussions can be made.

So I have taken the step, and I think that there were other views on this as well. I want to acknowledge and respect those other views that while the shape of the Committee of the proposed Committee text may include more proposals than there is ex-tant text, that is a necessary part of making this a Committee text. I will feel that in any event, for me I’m very pragmatic. For me I feel that we should give countries the comfort as we move towards this stage. So there are proposals that have been tabled and I would like to see them. I do intend to see them reflected in some way in the Committee working document.

So the Secretariat has been receiving and will attempt to do a first cut at incorporating them in a way that gives you comfort. So when you take it back, you will see your proposals. We want this to become a Committee text rather than a Chair’s text.

I further suggest that we can on this basis put a recommendation to the General Assembly, something short and sweet, not something that we are going to be spending until 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, but something short and sweet to the effect that the Committee working document which used to be the Chair’s consolidated text can be a basis for further discussions with a view to considering whether this may at some time lead to a diplomatic conference without specifying the time for that diplomatic conference.

So I think on this basis the work that we have done will be properly reported to the General Assembly that shows that we have not been asleep at the wheel for the last one year, but there has been some movement. It gives people the comfort to reflect what I see as the political realities facing us on this issue.

So with that I would like to ask whether there are any reactions or comments. I think many, many of you in this room were involved in the informals. So I think that you would already have heard this one time so I don’t want to belabor. Nevertheless in the interests of having those who were not in the room to add their views, I would like to open up now for any comments from the Members here.

(Pause.) Senegal, you have the floor.

SENEGAL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for giving me the floor and thank you to all the Delegations who took an active part in the informal session. I would like to recall what we said at the meeting at 2:30 when we had the Regional Coordinators and yourself meeting together, that we had the possibility of consulting our groups on the various different proposals that you’ve made, because we haven’t actually had the time necessary to get together with our groups since then. I think we need to have group meetings on these issues and come back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: Thank you, absolutely. If that is something which the other Regional Coordinators need as well, I think that’s something which we would be, of course, very respectful of. That said, there is a tie line that is running. Tomorrow the discussions of the group moves on to libraries and archives and other things. So I respectfully ask the group coordinators to come back with their views as soon as possible and perhaps by the end of tomorrow or by even later than that. Lamine, is that acceptable to you?
>> SENEGAL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Yes, we can do that.
>> CHAIR: Thanks to the Delegate from Senegal.
I would now call upon the Delegate from the Russian Federation.
>> RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. The Russian Federation would like to support your proposal. We consider that it would be at least a small step forward and it is really important to make this a Committee document and actually to start our work properly.
I would just like to say that I have been working with this Committee for more than ten years. It seems to me more effective to work in a Plenary because effectively we had the whole day in informal consultations with the current document, but we didn’t really move even one step forward. So this is an ineffective way of working. It seems to me, on the basis of the ten years of experience and what I’ve witnessed here, I see that we can actually achieve more, significantly more, and more effectively, in the Plenary Session. If we decide today that this document will become a Committee document, then I’m quite sure that at the next session we will be able to make very significant progress on this work. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: I thank the Delegate from Russia. I appreciate the passion with which you — perhaps a little bit of impatience, ten years in discussion. So your views are well taken I will take that in account in deciding how we can move the process forward.
I now call upon the Delegation from the European Union.
>> EUROPEAN UNION: Thank you, Chairman. And thank you to everybody for all the hard work that has been done over the last couple of days. I think that there was much wisdom in the proposal that was put forward by the Distinguished Delegate of Senegal that we have some breathing space to be able to consider your proposal.
I have a number of questions relating to the method willology of your approach. I think certainly the European Union would subscribe to your proposal to turn this document into a Committee document. It makes sense.
But the document that we had going into this session had achieved a certain degree of stability and maturity. All the comments and all the bracketed text had been discussed. It had been refined over the previous sessions.
We now find ourselves in a situation where potentially there would be new elements, elements that may possibly have not have been discussioned, certainly not discussed at length, would now suddenly find themselves inserted into this new document which would therefore be more varied than the one that we had coming into this week.
I wanted to ask you if you imagined ways of differentiating those elements that had been already previously discussed at length and had achieved a certain level of stability with the new elements that would be added in as a result of this week’s discussions. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: I thank the Delegate from the EU. The idea of moving this from a single person document to a 180, 190-country document necessarily means that, quite naturally, right, there will be additional factors added in there. I think that the passion and the interests which were shown by the countries that came in to review in the last one and a half days show a testament to that.
I do think that whatever text there is that has been cooked at the Chair’s level will naturally, as it evolves and becomes something that is done by all of us, we have some new elements in it. I think the Russian Delegate says that he has been at this for ten years, right? I can’t say I have been at this for ten years at this, but I have been at similar things for some time. It’s part of the natural evolution.
I think your proposal may be alluding to some practices in other context I’ve seen where the newer proposals are placed in an annex. I’m prepared to consider that if the other countries that are going to call on this, because as it moves from the Chair’s text to a essentially a Members’ or Committee’s text, right, I think that’s something which is possible. But I do think that these things tend to be in the end, right, to some extent we still — despite the different modalities we run away from having to negotiate — not having to negotiate, but having to manage a process by which the text itself is a text which includes views and includes perspectives from not just the Chair but now from everyone else. So I wonder whether you have any specific proposals in mind. And I would then look to whether the other countries would have any strong views as to that. I assume you are talking about an annex where you have all the newer proposals plunge the in there?
>> EUROPEAN UNION: Thank you very much for the clarification you offered. The general sense of direction that we’ve experienced in the last few sessions of the SCCR has been one towards streamlining the text and now we are traveling in the opposite direction, which from our point of view is somewhat unfortunate, but we understand the argument you made eloquently that of course if the change the status of the document then it is normal that all Delegations would want to see national positions reflected in that document that belongs to the whole of the Committee.
That being said, and I’m not necessarily talking about an annex here, it would be I think interesting to see whether we could differentiate the existing text from these new additions, some of which have not been discussed before. Whether they are introduced in a different font or sequentially, but so that we can still see where we were at the beginning of the peek. The new challenges that we face. And we have a clear reading and a single document. Thank you, Chair.
>> CHAIR: Thank you for that suggestion. I think some way of differentiating that will be useful not just from the, not just from the temporal perspective but also useful for people back home who need to understand and grapple with what is new and what is very fresh. Not new but what is very fresh and what has been baked on and what is mature. That suggestion of finding some font way or color way, it could be that it is in bold and I don’t know, what is the official color for white — I suppose it’s blue, right? Something like that. Not red because red is usually is not a good color in most cultures, except for the Chinese culture, but something like that, right, maybe we can do it that way.
But perhaps I can ask my colleagues for some leeway for me to work on that with the Secretariat and look at that, something color coded and bold perhaps will work.
I look to the other countries to say if this is violently objectionable to you, just point it out now. If not, I think that’s a fair suggestion.
Anyway, let me turn to the Delegate from Colombia and give the floor to her, thank you.
>> COLOMBIA: Thank you, Chairman. I would like to also say that GRULAC would like to review the proposal which you made at the beginning of this at Plenary with fresh eyes, obviously taking into account the high level of participation that we saw in the informals and the contributions from Member States, also Member States from GRULAC in the discussions. Evidently we are going to have to have an opportunity to think about this and think about the text which the Secretariat has presented us with, in which we all want to see how our interventions and proposals were reflected. So we will speak in greater depth on this text as presented at a later point. Thank you very much.
>> CHAIR: Thank you, Delegate from the Colombia speaking on behalf of GRULAC. I now call upon the Delegate from Italy. You have the floor.
>> ITALY: Thank you, Chair. We intervene to support the position of the European Union and we think that we should defer and shape the text and take those as points of reference. As an alternative we could think to a list of debated issues with the lines or Options that could be circulate and be the object of more detailed, in particular the first transmission, extension in time of secondary transmission, even over the Internet and all the issues that we already listed today. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: I thank the Delegate from Italy. I now call upon the Delegate from Brazil.
>> BRAZIL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. This is just to express our appreciation for the work that is being done under your guidance over the past few days. And I think it was a very productive, very conducive to and even closer to the consensus we are all dreaming much reaching on these issues. I just wanted to very quickly express my country’s wish that some items that were reflected in document 27/2 be somehow included in the new draft that will be submitted to us, which are Article 2, the general principles; Article 3, the protection and promotion of cultural diversity; and also Article 4, defense of competition.
And with regard to the rest, again our appreciation for your very constructive approach to these discussions. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: I thank the Delegate from Brazil. I now call upon the Delegate from the people’s Republic of China.
>> CHINA: Thank you, Mr. Chair. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation we thank you for the good work done under your leadership in the last two days. In addition, we support your proposal, that is to convert to the Chair’s text into the Committee’s text. This in our view is a must in our discussions.
Of course, in the integration there might be difficulties, but at least that will bring us hope. In addition we also support the suggestion by the Russian Federation. We too think that the Plenary discussion is more effective than informal discussions. We support also the proposal by the EU, that is the consolidated text, there should be a differentiation between the discussed rather mature text and the new text, so as to avoid any duplication. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: I thank the Delegate from China. I now call upon the Delegate from the United Kingdom.
>> UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you very much, Chair. I thank you very much for your proposal and mainly for your hard work over the past two days.
You mentioned two elements in Delegations so far in talking to the Chair’s text being elevated towards a Committee’s text. And to that I only can support what has been said for us to be able to consider.
At the same time the second recommendation you mentioned was a sweet and short recommendation for the General Assembly from the Committee. This is somewhat of a new element and where you mention that it would be sweet and short, we would really appreciate if there would be a proposed wording of that as well. So we can consider ideally tomorrow morning before our broadcasting experts do leave Geneva. Thank you.
>> CHAIR: I thank the Delegate from the United Kingdom. I think it is a good proposal to have all of you have sight of what is being suggested and we will take that up and try to circulate something tonight as well. So let’s take up your suggestion and have that be shared with the colleagues around the room and beyond.

I see no other Delegations on the roll call. And so with that maybe, and before we close this, once again I thank all of you for the patience, the engagement, and even the passion by which you showed. I know 20 years is a long time in making. I know there were many moments of deja vu and many moments of different kinds of emotions in the room but throughout it all there is always the sense that we want to work to see how there is a way forward. I think that spirit is something we should take with us over the next few days as we move from this item on the Agenda and move to the other items on the Agenda. And I would say that if we continue in this vein I hope that we will not only be able to grapple with the issues that we said at the beginning of this meeting that there are difficult issues of deep impact on everyone but we can continue making a meaningful difference out there with all the people whose lives are impacted by the corporate regime. With that I will ask Michelle — I apologize, there is the Delegate from Senegal who wishes to take to the floor again. Senegal, you have the floor.
>> SENEGAL: Thank you, Chairman. I just wanted to make an announcement. I don’t know where we can do it now.
So the African Group will meet tomorrow at 9:00 o’clock in the balance more room.
>> CHAIR: Are there other announcements from the other Regional Coordinators? I think EU? I call upon the Delegate from the EU.
>> EUROPEAN UNION: Thank you, we will meet tomorrow morning 8:45 in Room B.
>> CHAIR: Next, Delegate from Georgia.
>> GEORGIA: Thank you, Chair. The CEBS Group will meet at 9:30 in the Bilger Room tomorrow.
>> CHAIR: I call upon the Delegate from Colombia.
>> COLOMBIA: Thank you, Chairman. GRULAC will meet tomorrow at 9:00 o’clock in the Red Room.
>> CHAIR: I call upon the Delegate from Turkey.
>> TURKEY: Group B m meet at 9:15 in Room B.
>> CHAIR: I call on the Delegate from Thailand.
>> THAILAND: We the Asia-Pacific Group will meet 9:00 o’clock in the blue room.
>> CHAIR: Georgia again? I’m not sure —
>> GEORGIA: Sorry.
>> CHAIR: No worries. I ask Michele to share with us the programme that is going to happen very soon. Michele, please.
>> SECRETARIAT: Thank you, Chair. Everyone is invited to the programme this evening put on by the international federation of musicians. Its subject, enabling fair online revenues for all performers. It will be held out in the AB lobby in the salon just immediately after this. In fact we apologize to them for holding people for a little bit longer here in the Plenary. And there will be a musical introduction and later musical performance by the Jimmy D band as well as a panel discussion and a question and answer session on this important topic. Thank you very much.
>> CHAIR: Thank you, Michelle. With that we will see each other in Plenary at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow in this room and I hope all of you have good rest. See you tomorrow morning. Thank you.
(The session concluded at 1820 CET.)