2015 World Day for Audiovisual Heritage Archives at Risk: Protecting the World’s Identities

The following article was originally published in un.org. 

“We have 10 to 15 years left to transfer available audiovisual recordings to digital media and prevent their loss. We need to join forces to change the situation – for it is of the utmost importance that this recent history be understood and shared not only for issues of identity and affiliation but also for a clearer grasp of relationships and challenges in contemporary societies.” - Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO

The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, stands with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the rest of the world in celebrating and commemorating the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries. They help to recall, understand and preserve the cultural identity of a people. Countless documentary treasures have disappeared since the invention of image and sound technologies that permit the peoples of the world to better share their experiences, creativity. Digitisation has made audiovisual more accessible and appealing yet there is a greater need for adequate archiving and preservation of audiovisual given its cultural, historical , social and economic value.

The world’s audiovisual heritage of sound recordings and moving images are extremely vulnerable as a result of factors ranging from neglect, natural decay to technological obsolescence, as well as deliberate destruction. The precious work of preservation professionals is given impetus to manage a range of technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten the safeguarding of our heritage.
The Culture Fund continues to work with partners in the television and film sector to ensure the preservation of our film legacy for posterity and the continuity of the Zimbabwean film industry. UNESCO encourages everyone, everywhere to join us in celebrating 27 October by showcasing their precious collections so that present and future generations can enjoy the treasures that are our shared audiovisual heritage.