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"Peace and TV" Topic of the U.N. 4th Forum.

Television today is the form of communication that has the greatest impact on public opinion the world over. Therefore, the relationship between the United Nations and the world's media is indispensable, especially for an organization such as the United Nations.

Suffice to recall the impact that television images (or lack thereof) have had on the perception of the wars in Rwanda-Burundi, Somalia, the Gulf War, Bosnia, the Kosovo conflict and now, East Timor. One of the U.N.' concerns has always been to understand how the world of communication evolves. On our part, we -- as television executives -- have a need to understand and to compare notes at an international level.

Indeed, we are meeting at the U.N. to satisfy this need, especially in view of the new scenarios imposed by digital technology and media convergence. We can compare the U.N. TV Forum to something akin to the Universal States of Television, where representatives from the international audiovisual and cultural worlds converge and meet with ambassadors from various nations. The purpose is to analyze new trends, to compare strategies, to share production experiences and, naturally, to strengthen personal relationships, resulting in new exchanges and developing new forms of cooperation.

Every television broadcaster in the world has felt the need to have a place where one could compare notes: a place that fosters open and frank discussions of common problems, such as the training and education of broadcasters. Undoubtedly, the U.N. Forum is the most prestigious venue for this challenge, since it satisfies broadcasters' desires, allowing them to exchange views and opinions among international communication professionals. Year after year, the meetings at the U.N. headquarters have given a positive charge to television executives from all over the world. To have in one place all these top-level communicators speaking the common language of television has benefited us, as well as the United Nations.

Together with Italy's U.N. mission and the U.N. Department of Public Information, RAI launched the TV Forum in 1996. Following the success of this first event, RAI has continued its key role as primary sponsor for the second (1997) and third (1998) events. RAI is also the main sponsor for this years gathering to be held November 18-19.

Every year the Forum has introduced a new theme: "Globalization and Convergence" was the topic for the 1996 Forum. "The Information Gap Among Various Countries" was the dialogue introduced in 1997. Last year, the Forum focused on the "Audiovisual Memory and the Marketability of the Audiovisual Archives." Today, those archives represent an asset for the most fortunate countries, but tomorrow they will also be a cultural asset for those countries with fewer resources. The goal is to make these meetings at the U.N. a place where one can study, analyze and ponder international television.

But it is also necessary to give substance to the various intriguing speeches heard at the Forum. This means that after having chosen the Forum's theme, a tool must be available for discussing various solutions proposed during the event. For this purpose, RAI has assembled a multinational task force. Indeed, the number of countries that want to be a part of the organizational process is growing every year: another proof of the Forums success.

A key element of this upcoming Forum will be the seminars on specific topics held throughout the conference grounds. Delegates will be able to choose those seminars most suited to their needs.

The seminars, some of which will be aided by audiovisual material, deal with three main subjects: new scenarios for information and news gathering; production and distribution of educational programs; and the role of television in the growth of countries. However, each of these three subjects will have the same underlying challenge -- how to provide quality and production value. This is a challenge that RAI has acknowledged and is now proposing to the international television community.

We all know the television images that reach us can create pain and sorrow, but they can also make us think and stimulate our curiosity. The responsibility of television executives is to ensure that those who produce, assemble or choose the information to air make "truth" their ultimate goal.

For our part, RAI has just ended a winning season, one rewarded with high ratings and sporting a new structure that has strengthened our programming. We still have a long way to go knowing that today's television business game is played by forging alliances at the national, European and international levels. We have to produce programs that are suitable for international distribution. For this reason, we have to compare projects and find partners on all continents. We have to build a universal television community that, without relinquishing local cultural roots, appeals to the whole world, and is able to use a common visual language. This world should also allow everyone free access to information. But we have to keep in mind that ultimately, the key element is the quality of our product. It is with this spirit in mind that we are preparing for the fourth New York rendezvous.

Roberto Zaccaria is chairman of RAI, Italy's public broadcasting organization.

UNITED NATION WORLD TELEVISION FORUM AGENDA

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18 * 10 A.M.

Opening Remarks

Kofi Annan

Lamberto Dini

Kensaku Hogen

Television and the United Nations: A Dialogue with Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan

Tom Brokaw

Jean-Pierre Elkabbach

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Remarks by Representatives of Sponsoring Partners

Roberto Zaccaria

Fedele Confalonieri

Albert Scharf

Robert Ottenhoff

3P.M. PARALLEL WORKSHOPS

Setting the Agenda: Television News as Stakehoder, not Spectator

Bob Collins

Boris Biancheri

Rena Golden

Yoshinori Imai

Hamdy Kandil

Eladio Larez

John Ruggie

Television as Tutor: From Distance Learning to Edutainment

Francois Bertrand

William Baker

Jorome Clement

Abdul W. Khan

Heung-Soo Park

Mario Sesti

Don Wear

Communication for Social Change: Social Responsibility and the Role of Television

Yue-Sai Kan

Michele Fortin

Mark Malloch Brown

Albert Schart

Jean Stock

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19 * 8 A.M. PARALLEL BREAKFAST WORKSHOPS

Crossing the Line: Trade Regulation as Television Goes Cross-border

David Levy

Ian McGarrity

Luis Tarsitano

State of Play: Television and Global Sporting Events

Les Murray

Amaury Daumas

Stefan Kurten

Arne Wessberg

From the Font Lines: News Reporting of Armed Conflicts

Carlos Antonio de Elia

Waruna Karunatilleke

Ennio Remondino

Lloyd Robertson

Allister Sparks

Shashi Taroor

Enhance, Enlighten and Enrich: Balancing Education and Entertainment in Children's Programming

Christian Nissen

Feny de los Angeles-Bautista

Carlos Fontan Balestra

Bill Hetzer

Alejandra Lajous Vargas

Adrian Mills

Albert Schafer

Myths & Opportunities: Globalization Means New Markets to Some and Cultural Imperialism to Others

Pavel Korchagin

Hugh Cholmondeley

Dariga Nazarbayeza

David Nostbakken

Ihsan Ramzi

3 P.M. FINAL WORKSHOP

Winds of Change: Summing Up the Challenges and Opportunities Explored by the Forum Workshops

Jennifer Sibanda

Xavier Gouyou Beauchamps
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Author:ZACCARIA, ROBERTO
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Nov 1, 1999
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