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Enquiry into the Notion of Cultural Protectionism in the Media and its Dimensions in Cyberspace

19 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2011 Last revised: 14 Mar 2012

Mira Burri

University of Lucerne

Date Written: May 11, 2011


Cultural protectionism has been an element of national and foreign policies, as an extension of state sovereignty expressed both in a defensive and offensive manner. While the generic protectionist formula in the sense of restraining trade between states through measures such as import tariffs or quotas and through privileging domestic production has somewhat disintegrated over time under the rationale for free trade and the strong practical evidence of its benefits, the particular case of cultural protectionism has persevered. As we reveal in this paper, however, it has been modified, or at least its rhetoric has changed. The enquiry into the notion of cultural protectionism or cultural diversity, as the current political jargon would have it, is but one of the paper’s objectives. Its second and certainly more ambitious goal is the search for the normative dimensions of cultural diversity policies in the global digital space, asking what adjustments are needed and how feasible the entire project of diversity regulation in this environment may be. Taking into account the specificities of cyberspace and in a forward-looking manner, we propose some adjustments to current media policy practices that could better serve the goal of a sustainably diverse cultural environment.

Keywords: cultural diversity, digital media, trade and culture, WTO, UNESCO

Suggested Citation

Burri, Mira, Enquiry into the Notion of Cultural Protectionism in the Media and its Dimensions in Cyberspace (May 11, 2011). NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 2011/03. Available at SSRN:

Mira Burri (Contact Author)

University of Lucerne ( email )

Frohburgstrasse 3
PO Box 4466
Lucerne, 6002


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