BMA' View | Let's Preserve Africa's Audio-Visual Archives Now - Before They Are Gone Forever!

A few years ago, during a visit to a major broadcasting organisation in East Africa, the Director-General (DG) invited me to visit their "storage room for archived content". There, he ruminated loudly on the parlous state of the "room" and the content therein. He then turned to me and said with some emotion: "in here we have clips of important historical events which now seems to be wasting away, and might not be available for our children and their children!"

I could not but only pause and reflect on that comment's poignancy, especially as I realised that the situation is not isolated to the one East African broadcaster but is an objective reality of most broadcasts media organisations on the Continent.

Also, as the industry veteran and the former president of the International Association of Sound and Audio-visual Archives (IASA), Ms Ilse Assmann, once said to me: "Most broadcasters in Africa have no idea what the situation is with their archives, and even in places where they do know, there is a general lack of capabilities that are required to preserve these archives effectively."

It is, therefore our firm view at the BMA that broadcast and media organisations in Africa need rapid interventionist assistance to help create the necessary sustainable leadership, technology and funding capacity for the preservation of their audio-visual heritage before it is too late.

BMA is hence proud of the Industry Programme for the Preservation Of Africa Audio-Visual Assets that we have initiated. The ground-breaking programme is in collaboration with key stakeholders and industry-leading professionals on the Continent. We hope it will serve as the essential first step to help ensure that we in Africa will not lose our audio-visual cultural heritage forever!

Benjamin Pius | Publisher | Broadcast Media Africa

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