Press Releases

19 November 2002


NEW YORK, 18 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message on World Television Day, which is observed on 21 November:

The rapid evolution of information and communication technologies is transforming the world. People everywhere are living in more and more of an "information society". Television, as the world’s most powerful medium of communication, has a key role to play as these changes deepen and spread further still.

Our interdependent world requires an information society that is universal and inclusive, that promotes mutual understanding and tolerance, and that presents a plurality of views. The television industry can contribute by producing, gathering and distributing diverse, high-quality content, in both developed and developing countries -- content that reflects national and regional cultures and is relevant to local communities. Television can also provide a platform for the voices of all members of society, not just the most powerful. And like other media, such as radio and the Internet, television must take care not to let itself be used as a vehicle for the dissemination of bigotry, stereotypes or dehumanizing imagery.

Television executives will be among the participants in the first segment of the World Summit on the Information Society, which will be held in Geneva in December 2003 and which will bring together all key stakeholders to discuss the information revolution and its impact. To complement those deliberations, the United Nations is also planning to organize, also in Geneva during the same month, a World Electronic Media Forum at which media executives and practitioners from developed and developing countries, as well as other policy makers and representatives of the UN system, will focus specifically on the role of the electronic media in the information society.

The annual observance of World Television Day is meant to focus attention on the role of television in promoting peace and development. I look forward to working closely with the world's television professionals in developing a common vision of the industry’s place in an information society that contributes to the progress and well-being of all the world’s people.

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