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Gathering of TV Execs at the U.N. Gives Italy & the World a Forum.

The "Impact of Television on Peace and Development" was the theme of last year's United Nations World Television Forum. Another thematic question that the Forum attempted to answer was whether television is a "Mirror or a Map?" of society.

Some 900 people registered for this fourth annual TV Forum, held November 18-19, at the U.N. headquarters in New York. This is up from 550 Forum participants from 45 countries in 1998.

As usual, the event attracted a mix of politicians, diplomats, educators, communications experts, journalists and media executives from a record 70 countries. Executives in attendance included: Giuliano Berretta of EUTELSAT, Katsuji Ebisawa of NHK (Japan), Don Wear of Discovery Channel International (U.S.), Mikhail Shvydkoi of RTR (Russia), Jean Stock of TV5 (France), Arne Wessberg of YLE (Finland), Alejandra Lajous Vargas of Once TV (Mexico), Jan Mojto of KirchGruppe (Germany) and Ahmet Ohren of TGRT (Turkey), among others. A large contingent flew in from developing countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Far East.

After the keynote presentation by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Roberto Zaccaria, chairman of RAI, jumpstarted the new millennium by suggesting the topic of Forum 2000 -- the Internet and its implications on the field of communications. Subsequently, Fedele Confalonieri, chairman of Italy's Mediaset also touched on the pressing topic of the Internet when he wondered: "Is television a mirror or a map? This is the theme of this Forum and it is a fundamental question. But the answer is clear, television is, or at least should be, both....This is something that the new media, and I'm thinking particularly of the Internet, cannot do. The Internet divides and individualizes the public....Unlike the Internet, broadcast TV does not permit free navigation. It provides a route, a destination, a narrative connection."

After the opening remarks at the General Assembly, the delegates moved to attend one of three parallel workshops offered: "News: Setting the Agenda," "Education: Television as Tutor" and "Development: Communication for Social Change." On the last day, discussions were about Trade and Sports (morning sessions) and News, Education and Development (afternoon). The Forum closed with remarks by Xavier Gouyou Beauchamps, vp of the European Broadcasting Union, and Sir Arthur C. Clark, the author of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Sponsored by RAI, the Italian public broadcasting organization, along with Mediaset, one of Europe's largest commercial broadcasters, the Forum opened November 17 with registration and a cocktail reception. Delegates were also invited to sit-down luncheons on both days.

Parallel events included a demonstration of high definition television technology presented by Japan's NHK.

Among the co-sponsors were the International Council of NATAS, NHK, EUTELSAT, TV5 and TGRT. Contributing sponsors were Video Age and Daily Variety.

All the activities were webcast live on the site that RAI set up expressly for the Forum (, as well as extensive coverage on RAI's sites ( and ( In addition, the U.N.
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Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Jan 1, 2000
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