In December 1996 the United Nations declared 21 November as World Television Day, to celebrate the first World Television Meeting in 1996. The meeting at the UN headquarters in New York City focused on the role of television and communication in creating a more perfect world and eliminating conflicts. The meeting brought together representatives from various countries with different cultures, lifestyles and views, to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by television.
The United States and Russia were among the countries that were represented at the conference. Among other countries there were those from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The conference produced numerous proposals for change, and many people were surprised at some of the global issues resolved during the event. For example, the consensus reached on World Television Day that bullying is a problem that needs to be tackled head on.
During the meeting, the rapport that existed between participants was strengthened and many people were able to draw positive conclusions from the exchanges. The key elements of the discussion included issues of gender equality, ethnic and cultural diversity, media discrimination, child labor and violence against women. The issues of global warming and poverty were also discussed during the World Television day.
According to organizers, the participants at the World Congress on Television welcomed change. They were excited to see new horizons and believed that the possibilities for change were limitless. Participants in the meeting hoped that the message of the day would help bring about change and create a better awareness of various social problems. The key issues of the day included the fight against illiteracy, the promotion of female TV correspondents, equal opportunity for all, and freedom of expression for gay and lesbian people. Many people thought that the most important issue, however, was the inclusion of disabled people and rural areas.
Many disabled people do not have access to computers or telephones. Moving images and televised news can provide them with the opportunity to participate in the World Congress on Television day. For many years, the novelette television set has been relegated to those who are very mobile, such as hunters and fishermen. The World Congress on Television is a forum for people who want to participate but cannot travel with their belongings. Because people living in wheelchairs and those with physical disabilities cannot move around easily, they need special equipment to capture moving images.
Handheld video cameras are available to those in wheelchairs to capture moving images of everything that takes place around them. Special software programs are available that can be loaded on personal computers and mobile phones to enable users to view the world television day in a way that is comfortable to them. For many years, the video cameras used by television networks have been large and bulky, but advancements in technology have made for smaller and more portable devices.
Social media has also played a significant role in the development of the World television day. Many of the organizations that participate in the event have websites, blogs and other ways for their members to stay connected. By using social media to promote themselves and their teams, and by providing a venue through which social media members can interact with each other, these organizations are able to tell the world about upcoming events. Without this social media component, television networks would not be able to reach out to the global community and keep them informed.
The development of the World television day demonstrates the ability of television to connect and globalize the way people live their lives. By providing a forum for the visually disabled and physically restricted to participate, television networks have shown their willingness to extend open arms to people who might otherwise be shut out of the contemporary world. The accessibility that the contemporary world offers to disabled persons and the social media opportunities that provide them with the means to share their stories is a testament to the power of television and its ability to connect the whole world.