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    Press Release No:  UNIS/PI/206
    Release Date:   14 June 2000
    Millennium UN World Television Forum to Focus on Convergence 
    With Internet, 16-17 November, Will Also Discuss Bridging “Digital Divide”

    The convergence between television, digital technology and the Internet will be the focus of the fifth United Nations World Television Forum, to be held at United Nations Headquarters on 16-17 November.  The Forum, entitled “TV@globe: Adding Values in the Digital Era”, will convene media industry leaders and experts from every part of the world for a unique perspective on this revolution-in-progress.  The theme and the dates of the Forum were formally agreed upon yesterday in a meeting between the Department of Public Information (DPI) and representatives of the sponsors of this year’s Forum.

    The Forum is organized by the DPI, with the support of the Permanent Missions of Italy and Japan to the United Nations; in partnership with Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), Mediaset Group, World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) and Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK); with the sponsorship of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT), and the support of Türkiye Gazetsei Radyo ve Televizyon and Radicalfringe (TGRT).

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan will address the Forum.  Other confirmed speakers include: Greg Dyke, Director-General, British Broadcasting  Corporation (BBC); Roberto Zaccaria, Chairman, RAI; Fedele Confalonieri, Chairman of Mediaset; Bruce Cowie, representing WBU; and Katsuji Ebisawa, Chairman, NHK.

    As stated by the Secretary-General in his Millennium Report, “The convergence of information technology, the Internet and e-commerce may well become as transformative as the industrial revolution”.  The latest international research shows almost 300 million people logging on to the Internet, with 150 million more planning to do so this year.  The Forum, which is expected to draw 1,000 participants, will address the fundamental challenges facing television in the new digital age, region by region.  It will also discuss the role of the television industry in bridging the “digital divide”; the innovative experiments emerging from specific programme genres; the positive impact of new media on social communications; and radio’s embrace of digital technology. 

    A new Web site for the Forum, www.un.org/tvforum, will be launched on 19 June.  The site will feature online discussions on the themes of the Forum.

    Following the first World Television Forum in 1996, the General Assembly designated 
    21 November as World Television Day. 

    For further information, contact tvforum@un.org or call Jon Herbertsson, Information Officer, at (212) 963-7949.

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