Memory of the World

Manila Bulletin, March 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

Memory of the World


Why safeguard documentary heritage? Because this heritage reflects the diversity of our cultures, languages, and peoples. This documentary heritage is a mirror of our world as well as its memory. But this memory is fragile. Every day, many parts of this memory disappear and are lost forever. It is this “collective amnesia” that we must guard against. This valuable heritage that we would like to preserve is found in print and various media and audiovisual formats.I recently opened the workshop jointly sponsored by the Unesco National Commission of the Philippines and the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archives Association SEAPAVAA for advocacy specialists for the Memory of the World (MOW) Philippine Programme by providing its rationale citing the background document prepared by MOW’s guru, Ray Edmonson who laments the present state of our documentary heritage. He says this heritage found in our libraries, archives, museums and private collections is at risk. It has been dispersed because of accidental or deliberate displacement of holdings, by the “spoils of war” or natural calamities such as floods, fires, and man-made disasters. This is true all over the world and the primary objective of the international Memory of the World programme is to facilitate preservation and access to this heritage which belongs to all and therefore should be made accessible to all. But there are many barriers to access. They are cultural, social, economic, technological, and political. Some are under the custody of indigenous poor, and their guardianship therefore should be honored. There are also private property and copyright laws which should be considered. In short, we must respect cultural diversity and human creativity.Our Philippine Memory of the World National Committee was established in 2006 as a joint program of the Culture and Communication Committees of Unesco, with a National Committee consisting of 8 members The role of the latter is to promote, facilitate and monitor of the implementation of the programme through such activities as identifying potential nominees for the MoW register at the national level. …

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