The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day commemorating the date on which the first World Television Forum was held in 1996 it brought together leading figures from the media industry to analyze the growing impact that TV had on decision-making and public opinion when it comes to issues of worldwide peace and security. In December 1996 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 21st of November World Television Day, the same year the first World Television Forum was held. Acording to the United Nations, this decision was taken in order to give recognition of the increasing impact television has had on decision-making by bringing various conflicts and threats to peace and security to the world’s attention, as well as its coverage of other major issues, including economic and social.
World Television Day is not meant to be so much a celebration of the electronic medium itself, but rather of the philosophy which it represents–a philosophy of openness and transparency of world issues. Television has long been thought to represent communication and globalization in the contemporary world. However, not all of the government representatives present saw matters quite that way. The delegation from Germany said, “Television is only one means of information and an information medium to which a considerable majority of the world population has no access… That vast majority could easily look at World Television Day as a rich man’s day. They do not have access to television. There are more important information media and here I would mention radio in particular.”
World Television Day can be marked by watching television. However instead of watching vulgar reality shows offering little to no value of any kind to their audience it may be a good opportunity to rewatch and relive some of the greatest moments of television such as David Attenborough, or some other groundbreaking series such as Cosmos, Important Televised Events like the moon landing, Royal Events or Live Aid which that helped bring the reality of a rapidly technologically advancing world into people’s homes, forever changing their lives and how they perceived the world. 1954 marked the launch of Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color”, a family-friendly variety program that mixed iconic cartoons, drama and documentary programming. The very first televised presidential debate between Republican Vice President Richard Nixon and his challenger, relatively unknown Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960 changed the presidential elections forever. For the first time ever, American voters actually saw the candidates present their ideas, which worked greatly in favor of the young and handsome Kennedy, who went on to win the election. And few moments, if any, in television history could ever surpass Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Ed “Buzz” Aldrin’s moon landing in 1969, which many people consider to be a pivotal moment in their lives until this very day–after that, nothing was going to be impossible again.
World Television Day was established as a way of bringing focus back to these issues on an annual basis. In years gone by major TV stations have come together on the day to broadcast tributes to the importance of television in people’s lives. The obvious way for anyone to celebrate is to turn on their TV and watch. Those that want to become more involved and have ideas about how to honor the day are welcomed to send their thoughts to the official website. However not everybody was happy about this and Opposition to this declaration took the form of 11 abstentions to a vote on the resolution; in expressing their opposition, the delegation from Germany said:
“ There are already three United Nations days encompassing similar subjects: World Press Freedom Day; World Telecommunication Day; and World Development Information Day. To add another day does not make much sense… [T]elevision is only one means of information and an information medium to which a considerable majority of the world population has no access… That vast majority could easily look at World Television Day as a rich man’s day. They do not have access to television. There are more important information media and here I would mention radio in particular. We think it is more important to enhance the role of those media than that of television.”