The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recalls the importance for every individual and society as a whole to preserve and make available cultural heritage.
For more than a century, moving images and other audiovisual material have been part of everyday culture. They have recorded in a unique way the culture and life of their time, including political and other events of major public interest and high historic relevance.
Public service broadcasters as well as commercial broadcasters have accumulated over time huge audiovisual archives, very often still on the original and fragile medium. With growing economic challenges, those broadcasters may face problems in protecting their archives.
New digital technologies offer feasible means of copying such audiovisual material on new media. The Internet can offer easy access to such audiovisual material.
The Assembly recognises the need for states to support the preservation of audiovisual material as well as policies for making it available to the public at large. It calls therefore on member states to sign and ratify the European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual Heritage.
The Assembly also notes projects by Internet companies and libraries to make books and print media accessible on the Internet. Similar efforts could also be explored to put a new dimension to the access to audiovisual heritage.
Therefore, the Assembly recommends that states and media companies should co-operate in order to protect the audiovisual heritage of Europe.