For the past 13 years a cultural association, Afrique Méditerranée, has organised an annual film conference in the small coastal town of Hergla. This year it was held from August 25th to 28th, and at one of the round tables the association presented representatives of Tunisian broadcasting with guide-lines on how to preserve the country’s film heritage.
Those taking part deplored the way the deteriorating audiovisual archives are scattered across the country. They agreed on the need to identify and catalogue films, currently housed in various institutions (the tourist office, public and private television channels, different ministries, the Tunisian Federation of Amateur Film-makers, etc).
The archives are scattered partly because of the legal uncertainty surrounding the priorities of each establishment connected to film, creating confusion about each one’s responsibilities. The films are supposed to be copied and deposited in the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, but the speakers at Hergla also wanted the Ministry to redefine its very vague attitude towards copyright holders, which at the moment allows intellectual copyright laws to be infringed.
A proposal was made to create a national centre for film and audiovisual archives, independent or linked to an existing structure, but in either case accessible to everyone in the audiovisual media.