Published on December 1 in the Official Journal of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the directive establishing audiovisual legal deposit in the eight member states of this zone is a world first. The only example of a Community initiative on audiovisual legal deposit, this directive will make it possible to organize the preservation of audiovisual heritage in an economic area of 112 million inhabitants including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
Audiovisual legal deposit is a legal device that allows states to collect audiovisual material for conservation, research and education purposes. As part of the directive adopted by UEMOA, radio and television programs, and secondly, cinema films as well as videos and multimedia documents can be saved after years when most of them disappeared. irretrievably. The transition to digital broadcasting (TNT, in particular) makes possible today a systematic capture of radio and television programs allowing a simpler and less expensive conservation.
The process of drafting the directive on legal deposit in the UEMOA was initiated in 2014 thanks to the project “Digital Capital” implemented by the International Organization of La Francophonie with the support of the European Union and the Group of ACP States. The text, validated in 2015 by the ministers of culture of the countries concerned, was subsequently adopted on 21 September 2018 in Abidjan by the UEMOA’s Council of Ministers. The drafting work of this directive was carried out by UEMOA with the help of experts from the National Audiovisual Institute (INA – France), which has first-rate experience in audiovisual legal deposit. INA provides daily collection, documentation, archiving and consultation of the programs of 169 French radio and television channels, which represents more than one million hours of air time per year and one cumulative volume of almost 16 million hours since the establishment of legal deposit of the audiovisual in France in 1995.
In comparison, a study conducted in 2014 estimated the total volume of digitized programs in the eight WAEMU countries at around 30,000 hours, which represented less than 1% of the radio and television programs broadcast since 1995 in these countries. country.
The directive which has just entered into force will have to be transposed within two years by each State concerned. The safeguarding of the audiovisual memory made possible in this way also opens the way to the constitution of a legal database (rights holders of the works concerned, in particular). The audiovisual heritage thus capitalized can also contribute to the revival of the production and broadcasting of audiovisual programs in West Africa.