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The "liberationist ambitions" of Ar

Subject: The "liberationist ambitions" of Arts in the UK

Further Degrading the UK arts : 

                     >> The Big Story <<

                        Smith in China

No, it's not the new opera (a followup to 'Nixon in China') but the latest
jaunt by Culture Secretary Chris Smith, who led a delegation of British
media executives on a trip to China last week.

The agenda was packed - BBC WorldWide Chief Executive Rupert Gavin 
wanted to sell the Chinese broadcasters 'Teletubbies', David Elstein of
Channel 5 was no doubt looking for cheap material to fill his schedule, and
Smith and his civil servants wanted to persuade the Chinese authorities to
impose heavy penalties on copyright pirates. The widespread copying of
Western CDs, videos and tapes is a major concern for the 'cultural
industries' - or at least the global corporations who own most of our
artistic copyright and want to make money out of the Chinese market. 

<Jeez, great for the cartel, but nothing for the independents at all.)

However Smith apparently had neither the time nor the inclination to
discuss - or object to - the fact that Chinese authorities routinely block
broadcasts of the BBC World Service, harrass journalists and jail people
who pass lists of email addresses to US-based human rights organisations.
Evidently the repression of free speech and the censorship of TV, cinema
and the Internet have nothing to do with the arts or culture in the minds
of our media elite. After all, Rupert Murdoch's Star TV was only to happy
to throw BBC World off its Asian satellite in order to pacify the Chinese

Presumably Rupert Gavin (who now runs BBC World) and David Elstein (who was
working for BskyB at the time) had an extended opportunity to discuss
whether selling sanitised and safe TV programmes to a government which
attempts to control everything its citizens see and hear is more or less
morally repugnant than colluding in the censorship by limiting the news
provided to the country from outside. 

This visit also demonstrates yet again that for the Blair Government arts
and culture are primarily an industry, one which can improve our balance of
payments and perhaps increase our international standing. Freedom of
expression and the importance of the arts to the quality of life for
everyone obviously don't figure in their calculations.

Calculate your own contribution to the national economy.

Want to add your protestations?

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Subject: RE: The Rt Hon Chris Smith

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