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               18 November 1999
    Fourth World Television Forum To Draw 750 Participants from 80 Countries;
    Will Look at Medium’s Impact on Peace and Development
    Secretary-General to Share Panel With Prominent News Anchors

     NEW YORK, 17 November (UN Headquarters) -- Television programming and its evolving role in support of the central mission of the United Nations -– the peace and development of the human family -– will be the focus of the fourth United Nations World Television Forum, to be held at Headquarters on 18 and 19 November.  
     Entitled “Mirror or Map?:  The Impact of Television on Peace and Development”, the Forum will bring together senior leaders from the television industry and broadcasting worldwide to reflect on the central role of television in addressing the critical issues of our time.  More than 750 participants from more than 80 countries have registered for the Forum, including 64 speakers and panellists.

     The Forum has been organized in recognition of television’s key role in furthering public understanding and support for global norms and values, as underscored by rapidly growing global audiences.  As expanding channel capacity has begun to outpace the creation of new programming, the Forum will provide a rare opportunity for senior television executives and professionals from every region of the globe to talk about the future of programme content -- the industry’s most valuable resource -- as it faces the overlapping challenges of new delivery, changing ownership, increased competition and convergence. 

     The keynote event of the Forum’s opening plenary session, which will take place in Conference Room 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, 18 November, will feature a dialogue between Secretary-General Kofi Annan and three prominent television news personalities, on the theme of “Television and the United Nations”.  Participating in the discussion with the Secretary-General will be: 
     -- Tom Brokaw, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC News; 
     -- Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, Europe 1; and 
     -- Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Johannesburg Bureau Chief, CNN.  
     As stated by the Secretary-General, “if the global village is to be a truly desirable place for all of us on this planet, it must be embedded within and guided by broader frameworks of shared values and principles.  This poses an unprecedented challenge to those who have the unparalleled power to bring us the news every day.”
     Kensaku Hogen, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will open the proceedings.  The President of the General Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), will address the Forum.  He will be followed by Francesco Paolo Fulci (Italy), President of the Economic and Social Council. 

     Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the author of some 80 books, including the novel, 2001:  A Space Odyssey, will deliver a special statement (by satellite from Sri Lanka) during the closing plenary session, which will take place in Conference Room 4 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 19 November.  Sir Arthur published a technical paper in 1945 that set forth the principles for satellite communication using satellites in geostationary orbits.  While best known to the public for his science fiction writing, the many honours he has received -– including the designation of the geostationary orbit as the “Clarke Orbit” -- are in a large measure an acknowledgement of his pioneering role in communications technology.  

     The closing session will also include a summing up of the challenges and opportunities explored by Forum workshops.  Three television figures, who between them will have participated in all six workshops, will share their personal insights on the issues that will have been debated over the course of the two days of the Forum.

     The Forum is organized by the Department of Public Information DPI), with the support of Italy and Japan.  The sponsoring partners of the Forum are RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana), Mediaset Group, WBU (World Broadcasting Unions), the International Council of NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences), NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and EUTELSAT (Organisation européenne de télécommunications par satellite).  TV5 (le monde en français) and TGRT Turkey are co-sponsors.

     Workshops will form the core of this year’s Forum and, drawing from its overall theme, will explore three broad sub-themes:  news and current affairs programming; formal and informal educational programming; and the role of television in development.  The workshops will include panels of industry executives, programmers, communications experts, policy makers or advocacy representatives -- depending on the subject -- from every region of the world. 
     After the opening plenary session, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 18 November, there will be 3 parallel workshops, one on each of the three sub-themes of the Forum:

     -- The news workshop, entitled “Setting the Agenda:  Television News as Stakeholder not Spectator”, will take place in the Economic and Social Chamber.
     -- The education workshop, entitled “Television as Tutor:  From Distance Learning to Edutainment”, will take place in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium.

     -- The development workshop, entitled “Communication for Social Change: Social Responsibility and the Role of Television”, will take place in Conference Room 4.

     Two parallel breakfast workshops will take place in the Delegates’ Dining Room from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Friday, 19 November:

     -- One, on trade-related issues, entitled “Crossing the Line:  Trade Regulation as Television Goes Cross-Border”, will take place in the West Terrace.

     -- The other, on sports programming, entitled “State of Play:  Television and Global Sporting Events”, will take place in Dining Room 6.

     On the second day of the Forum, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, 19 November, there will be another three parallel workshops on each of the three sub-themes of the Forum, to be followed by the closing plenary session:

     -- The news workshop, entitled “From the Front Lines:  News Reporting of Armed Conflicts”, will take place in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.

     -- The education workshop, entitled “Enhance, Enlighten and Enrich:  Balancing Education and Entertainment in Children’s Programming”, will take place in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium.  

     -- The development workshop, entitled “Myths and Opportunities:  Globalization Means New Markets to Some and Cultural Imperialism to Others”, will take place in Conference Room 4.
     For the duration of the Forum, there will be a demonstration of high-definition television on the Concourse Level of the Conference Building near the Viennese Café.

     This is the fourth consecutive year that the Department of Public Information is organizing the United Nations World Television Forum.  The three previous Forums dealt with the themes of globalization (1996), the new multimedia environment (1997) and the future of audio-visual memory (1998).  Following the first Forum in 1996, the General Assembly designated 21 November as World Television Day. 

     For further information, please write to or call (212) 963-2339.

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