European Radio’s Silenced Witness: The European Broadcasting Union’s Written Archives
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis , Volume 25 - Issue 2 p. 1- 28
International collaboration in radio was formally established in Europe in 1925 by the International Broadcasting Union (IBU) in Geneva, which sought to co-ordinate and harmonise the work of public service broadcasters. Both its work and its archive of minutes, reports, documents and books were carried on by its successor, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). In 2012, this archive was moved into off-site storage, where it remains, effectively silenced for research purposes. This article reflects on the recent silencing of the archive by examining its history as a ‘silenced witness’ in multiple respects. First, it considers the archive in the light of the organisation’s function as an ‘apolitical’ monitoring witness and gatherer of information. Second, it examines which activities were witnessed and converted into the ‘silent’ medium of paper. Finally, it explores the relationship of the archive to the organisation, and in particular its placement and use.