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Communication and Information Sector's news service

World Television Day Celebrated Today

21-11-2003 ()
With the opening of the World Summit on the Information Society only a few days days ahead, UNESCO is today celebrating World Television Day that was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996 to encourage global exchanges of television programmes focusing on peace, security, economic and social development and the enhancement of cultural exchange.
Television has become one of the most influential forms of media in our present time. It is the arena where images, forms, styles and ideas surrounding the human existence are mobilized. Television makes its mark as the most popular medium for communication and information because of the considerable convenience it offers to its audience worldwide, of all ages, nationalities and social status. Television does not require literacy and presents information in audiovisual form requiring no extra skills for comprehension.

UNESCO recognizes the significance of television broadcasting as a primal means of communication and a standard gateway of information for the masses, most importantly in least-developed countries. Television plays an effective role in disseminating information and knowledge and serves a powerful tool for reflecting and shaping human conditions and aspirations.

Fostering freedom of expression and increasing cultural diversity in the media, particularly by improving the endogenous production capacities and supporting the distribution of quality audio-visual programmes are highly prioritised by UNESCO programmes, including the Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

UNESCO has been committed to supporting and enhancing editorially independent broadcasting as well as preservation of its contents thereby contributing to social inclusion and strengthening of civil society. UNESCO promotes public service broadcasting (PSB) as a unique service providing universal access to information and knowledge through quality and diverse content reflecting the needs, concerns and expectations of the various audiences, especially the disadvantaged communities. UNESCO’s action on PSB focuses on enhancing the utility of televisions as an educational and cultural vehicle; on advising Member States on legal, regulatory, financial and other major issues; and on encouraging media professionals to reduce violence both in news and fictional programmes in electronic media with special emphasis on children and youth.

The creation and dissemination of local content reflecting the values and experience of local communities and cultures is necessary for the preservation of cultural diversity. UNESCO’s Programme for Creative Content strives to achieve not only quality television programming but most importantly, enhanced local content production reflecting such values. The Programme’s strategy is carried out by providing training, funding local productions and establishing platforms for local content dissemination for television authors, producers and broadcasters.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in close cooperation with other UN Agencies, will be held next month in Geneva, Switzerland. UNESCO with its unique mandate to promote the free exchange of ideas and knowledge plays a key role in the WSIS preparation. UNESCO’s contribution incorporates the ethical, legal and socio-cultural dimensions of the Information Society.

The World Electronic Media Forum will complement the Summit. UNESCO will organize a workshop in the framework of this major event to discuss challenges PSB is facing in different parts of the world and to propose recommendations.

UNESCO strongly believes that sustaining high quality television programming results to a well-informed enlightened public with the ability to participate in public debates and struggle for political issues of common interest, hence emphasizing the crucial role of television in promoting democracy.

UNESCO encourages television broadcasting institutions and other media partners to join hands and celebrate the World Television Day.
Related themes/countries

      · Public Service Broadcasting: News Archives 2003
      · Creative Content: News Archives 2003
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