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David French

Abstract

Technological convergence and the increasing liberalisation of world trade have changed the relationship between governments and national television systems. This paper sets the discussion of such relationship in terms of a review of the conditions that have given them their particular character and that will determine the likely direction of any change. It evaluates the significance of the international trade negotiations of the GAIT and the establishment of the World Trade Organisation, identifying aspects that will be particularly significant for audiovisual trade. It suggests that the trade exemption gained by the EU in the GATT negotiations will offer less protection to European markets than is often assumed and that the internal EU market will be dominated by large commercial companies. The opportunity for small countries, such as Cyprus, to achieve national distinctiveness in their television services is seen as limited.

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