5 May 2003

UNTV's Current Affairs Talk-Show "World Chronicle" Marks 900th Recording

NEW YORK, 2 May (UN Headquarters) -- Today, a special 900th edition of UNTV's programme "World Chronicle" will feature Shashi Tharoor, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, on the subject "The UN: irrelevant, indispensable or neither?".

The scheduled panellists are Corinne Lesnes (Le Monde) and Greg Barrow (BBC), in addition to World Chronicle's veteran host Michael Littlejohns. The programme will be webcast live at 3:30 p.m. on http://www.un.org/webcast/.

The first edition of World Chronicle was produced in 1980 by United Nations staffer Michael Marlowe, borrowing a simple format that had been used successfully by a number of other television interview shows. Earlier hosts included Pauline Fredericks of NBC News and Brian Saxton of BBC -- but steering the conversation on World Chronicle for most of the show's 23 years has been long-time United Nations correspondent Michael Littlejohns.

World Chronicle is a weekly 28-minute talk show featuring international experts and personalities associated with the United Nations. It is seen by English-speaking TV audiences across Africa (through SABC's four times weekly pan-African satellite broadcasts on Channel Africa and the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation, KBC); the United States (through a cablecast slot on the International Channel in 50 states, in addition to local broadcasts on CUNY-TV, Crosswalks, and Liberty Cable Channel 78, and select public access cable systems); the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago TV); East Asia (Phoenix TV satellite, China Central TV-CCTV, - English language service, the Philippines); and other parts of the world (including Europe, by arrangement with Europe-by-Satellite). Recently, CNBC World has been added to the list of broadcast clients.

In the early years of production, World Chronicle featured three journalists on the set, in addition to the host. Cold War political considerations often meant that the panels had to be picked carefully to ensure the presence of one representative of the East block media, one of the Western media, and one from a non-aligned country. As the years went by, political realities changed and the format became somewhat more relaxed in terms of representation.

"The secret to World Chronicle's longevity and success has been keeping it simple", says Chief of UNTV's Feature Production Section Steve Whitehouse. "It is produced on a miniscule budget, and yet it reaches all these people all over the world with information about the United Nations."

A number of personalities from the international community and the world of media and entertainment have appeared on the show throughout the years, including: Olof Palme, Sir Brian Urquhart, Kofi Annan, actors Peter Ustinov, Liv Ullmann and Roger Moore, mime Marcel Marceau, as well as numerous heads of United Nations agencies, programme directors and many others.

Broadcasters: To get World Chronicle, please contact Ms. C. Petit at petitc@un.org.

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