October 27 is the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. The 33rd session of UNESCO’s General Conference adopted 33 C/Resolution 53 to proclaim 27 October as World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, in commemoration of the adoption, in 1980 by the 21st session of the General Conference, of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images.
Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the history of the 20th and 21st centuries. Unfortunately, that heritage is now endangered, because sound recordings and moving images can be deliberately destroyed or irretrievably lost as a result of neglect, decay and technological obsolescence. Through initiatives such as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme, the work of preservation professionals is encouraged, in order to manage the range of technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten the safeguarding of our audiovisual heritage.
While the Recommendation has helped to raise awareness of the importance of our audiovisual heritage and has been instrumental in ensuring the preservation of this often unique testimony to economic, political and social development for future generations, more efforts are needed as audiovisual recordings are particularly vulnerable and require special attention for their long-term security. The anniversary of the adoption of the Recommendation is considered a timely opportunity to launch a movement in recognition of the benefits of the preservation of audiovisual heritage.
Sound recordings and moving images are extremely vulnerable as they can be quickly and deliberately destroyed. Essentially emblematic of the 20th century, our audiovisual heritage can be irretrievably lost as a result of neglect, natural decay and technological obsolescence. Public consciousness of the importance of preservation of these recordings must be engaged and the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is intended to be the platform for building global awareness.