World Television Day

Can any of us imagine a world without television. The generation which has grown up with the flickering television screen would probably be as brefet of it as today’s generation without access to the internet.

In 1927, a 21 year old inventor by the name of Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented the world’s first electronic television. He lived in a home without electricity until he was 14 years old. In high school, he began to think of a system that could capture moving pictures, change them into a code, and them move those images with radio waves to different devices. He was years ahead of the mechanical television system as his structure captured moving images using a beam of electrons. Farnsworth later famously transmitted the image of a dollar sign using his television after a fellow inventor asked “When are we going to see some dollars from this thing?” Neither of them knew how prelevant the television would become across the world with young people today having no concept of a world without one. The first mechanical tv station called W3XK, created by Charles Francis Jenkins aired its first broadcast in 1928.

Television continues to be the single largest source of video consumption. I seriously doubt there are many households in this world today who don’t have access to a television set. Though screen sizes have changed, and people create, post, stream and consume content on different platforms, the number of households with television sets around the world continues to rise. The interaction between emerging and traditional forms of broadcast creates a great opportunity to raise awareness about the important issues facing our communities and our planet.

In times of internet, with people hooked to their laptops and mobile screens, does the television still hold importance, one may ask. As per the United Nations, television continues to be the single largest source of video consumption with the number of TV households across the world rising from 1.63 million in 2017 to 1.74 billion by 2023, according to a study. The World Television Day stands as a reminder of the power of visual media and how it helps in shaping public opinion and influencing world politics.

In recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by bringing world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day, through resolution 51/205 of 17 December 1996.

World Television Day is not so much a celebration of the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalisation in the contemporary world. On 21 and 22 November 1996 the United Nations held the first World Television Forum, where leading media figures met under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss the growing significance of television in today’s changing world and to consider how they might enhance their mutual cooperation. That is why the General Assembly decided to proclaim 21 November as World Television Day. This was done in recognition of the increasing impact television has on the process of decision-making. Television was thus acknowledged as a major tool in informing, channelling and affecting public opinion. Its impact and presence and its influence on world politics could not be denied.

Now the day is commemorated with meet-ups at local and global levels to raise awareness among people about the role television plays in communication and globalisation. This day acknowledges the role of broadcast media. Writers, journalists, bloggers and others associated with the medium come together to promote this day. The interaction between emerging and traditional forms of broadcast creates a great opportunity to raise awareness about the important issues facing our communities and our planet. The World Television Day also marks the commitment of governments, news organisations and individuals to deliver unbiased information in times when veracity of content on social media is questionable.

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