There is a growing emphasis on free trade in global media governance, which could rock the foundations of media regulation in western democracies. While the US government pushes for the further liberalization of audiovisual services under the umbrella of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), other countries are less enthusiastic. They see the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a threat to their media culture. This article discusses the implications of the GATS for societal regulation of the media and the role of UNESCO's new Convention on Cultural Diversity (CCD). The conclusion is that the liberalization of audiovisual services will prevent several media regulation measures: quota regulations, support programmes for the audiovisual industry and the funding of public service broadcasting are all potentially at risk. Additionally, UNESCO's efforts to promote and protect cultural diversity appear unlikely to stop this development.