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World Television Day. Photo: Thinkbox


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 the television would become the emblem for an international day promoting the spread of global information.

On November 21 and 22 in 1996, the United Nations held the first World Television Forum. Here, leading media figures met to discuss the growing significance of television in the rapidly changing world and consider how they might enhance their mutual cooperation. UN leaders recognized that television could bring attention to conflicts, raise awareness of threats to peace and security, and sharpen focus on social and economic issues. Television was acknowledged as a major tool in informing, channeling, and affecting public opinion, having an undoubtable presence and influence on world politics. Because of this event, the UN General Assembly decided to name November 21 World Television Day, not to celebrate the object itself, but the symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world that it represents, according to National Today.


A UN organised day, which recognises the impact of television 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.


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Celebrating World Television Day. Photo: Informer57

The most obvious way to celebrate World Television Day is by watching television. But what? Surely not vulgar reality shows offering little to no value of any kind to their audience? World Television Day is a time to rewatch and relive some of the greatest moments of television that helped bring the reality of a rapidly technologically advancing world into people’s homes, forever changing their lives and how they perceived the world.

1954 marked the launch of Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color”, a family-friendly variety program that mixed iconic cartoons, drama and documentary programming. The very first televised presidential debate between Republican Vice President Richard Nixon and his challenger, relatively unknown Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960 changed the presidential elections forever.

For the first time ever, American voters actually saw the candidates present their ideas, which worked greatly in favor of the young and handsome Kennedy, who went on to win the election. And few moments, if any, in television history could ever surpass Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Ed “Buzz” Aldrin’s moon landing in 1969, which many people consider to be a pivotal moment in their lives until this very day–after that, nothing was going to be impossible again.

World Television Day was established as a way of bringing focus back to these issues on an annual basis. In years gone by, major TV stations have come together on the day to broadcast tributes to the importance of television in people’s lives. The obvious way for anyone to celebrate is to turn on their TV and watch.

But you don’t have to rely on broadcasting networks to bring you ideas of what to watch on World Television Day. These days our television sets are also internet compatible, allowing us to access a range of content suitable to our specific interests, whether they be educational or for entertainment value. It’s easy to use your television set to look up an historical documentary giving you a window into the past, or choose a cultural figure who was influential in her time and changed the world in some way. In doing so you will be in-keeping with the true purpose of television media, to educate and inspire.

But if you would rather be entertained, why not select a classic film from the Hollywood archives and imagine you are watching it for the first time, as a member of the original audience. Feeling adventurous? Go all out and dress up in period costumes as well, turn World Television Day into an Annual event that you and your friends can enjoy planning months in advance, as said by Days of the Year.


1. Share your favorite TV moment

There’s a lot to love and get excited about on television. Head over to social media and write about your favorite television moment, whether it happened last week or 20 years ago.

2. Have a TV themed night

Invite over your favorite people for TV dinners while watching your favorite program. Complete the evening with a family game like Scene It, or a television themed game like Loony Tunes, Monopoly, or Yu-Gi-Oh!

3. Go ahead and binge

Do you forego a good TV binge because you think you should be getting stuff done? This day was made for you! Put on some cozy sweats, make yourself some popcorn and indulge in episode after episode of your favorite show. If you feel any guilt over such a leisurely activity, remind yourself that you're supporting the ideals of the United Nations with your actions—or in this case, inaction, National Today cites.

Head to social media and type in your favorite television show, news program or network and there will be plenty of comments, likes and shares. Television offers a commonly held experience to talk about with others. So whether your interests extend to who has died on The Walking Dead or an interview with the president on Face the Nation, there is a whole community in the virtual world with whom you can gossip.
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