Each 21 November has been declared World Television Day by the United Nations (UN). And no, the UN hasn’t quite done this to encourage us all to watch our favourite programmes and comedies – but for a much more serious reason.
The great thing about television is that it’s universal – meaning that news stations broadcast important alerts about world affairs and conflicts.
It all began in 1996 when the United Nations held the first ever World Television Forum. Leading figures in the media met to discuss how television could be significant in informing and broadcasting major changes in the world as they happen.
So aside from telling us what’s happening, what else does the TV do that’s so remarkable? Well first of all unless we were to travel all around the world – which isn’t practical for most of us! – it would be difficult for us learn quickly about different cultures and places without the help of TV.
It can show us similarities between ourselves and other people half way around the globe – and be a great uniting force for good. We can hear inspiring stories from someone in a way that a person living 100 years ago never could!
On a less positive note, TV also lets us in on the more hidden aspects of the world – where hatred is brewing and causing conflict, war and various other issues that must be fought to overcome.
If used properly television can ‘promote mutual understanding and tolerance’. How is this done? Well in a few ways. The news channels that broadcast this kind of information are meant to remain impartial. This means taking away biased opinion and delivering events to viewers as they happen. Because that’s how news should be run in a fair democracy!
Online websites and television programmes also hold debates about issues where a wide range of people can have their say. And it doesn’t stop at that. Even comedies like Mock the Week have brought in a more serious tone along with factually correct drama series and movies. It’s essential that all of these approaches are conducted properly so that TV can encourage democracy all across the world, linking countries together via our TV screen.
So what’s happening on World Television Day? Well educational speakers and institutions will be arranging their plans around promoting how television and cultural diversity are so closely related.
To keep tabs about what is happening on the day, visit the World Television Day website.