UNESCO: World Audio Visual Heritage Endangered


By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The Director of United Nation’s Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Irina Bokova has disclosed that the world’s audio visual heritage was becoming endangered as a result of crises, ethnic, religious strife and natural Disasters.

Bokova however stated that being conscious of this fact, UNESCO encouraged Member States to raise awareness on the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.

This was made known by UNESCO Regional Director, Mr. Benoit Sossou at a training workshop on preservation of Audio Visual Heritage held Thursday, in Abuja.

According to Sossou, “This training programme is meant for Archivists, Film Producers, Librarians and aimed at enhancing participants capacity in safeguarding of Audio visual heritage through modern preservation methods and also raise public awareness of the need for the preservation of our audio visual heritage.

“There is no doubt that Nigeria has had its fair share of disasters that has put its audiovisual heritage at risk, where documentary treasures have disappeared. There is therefore the need for stakeholders to preserve their audio visual heritage for posterity.

He stress the need to ensure the preservation of documentary heritage that has world significance. Adding that it is important to make this heritage accessible to as many people as possible, using the most appropriate technologies.

“UNESCO takes pride at actions aimed at safeguarding documentary and audiovisual heritage through the Memory of the World Programme. It’s vision is that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved, protect and permanently accessible to all without hindrance.”

“We have 10 to 15 years left to transfer available audiovisual recordings to digital media and prevent loss. We need to join forces to change the situation for it important that the recent history be understood and share not only for issues of identity and affiliation but, also for a clearer grasp of relationships and challenges in contemporary societies.

“Preservation, access to and dissemination of information rely on the stability of documents and the retrieval of their contents. Paradoxically, technical developments often result in greater instability and shorter lifespan of documents, therefore, while clay tablets can survive for several millennia, audiovisual documents will only last a few decades and digitally-born heritage may not exceed ten years.

“To preserve our documentary heritage, we must act now! Hence, the reason we thought of this workshop”, he said.

Responding, The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed said that the Government of Nigeria and various State governments, mindful of the place and excellent role of audiovisual heritage in the country’s quest for growth had created relevant institutions and agencies to manage the important segment of Nigerian affairs.

He assured that government at various levels were definitely encouraging it’s citizenry to make positive use of all available heritage materials to preserve and documents for posterity.

“We are quite conscious of the fact that a well preserved heritage is a sure path to redeeming our image at home and abroad; as well as a positive role to development,” he stressed.