Since the invention of the first set in 1927, television has offered its viewers a fine line between truth, optimism and reality. With soaring numbers of households now owning TVs, broadcasters, producers, programmers, and journalists across the world are connecting people in unprecedented ways. In times of both pain and celebration, their roles in informing the public and as entertainers and educators have become vital. In 2020, as most of the world was forced to stay at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, television has represented for many a place of solace, togetherness, and hope.
The United Nations has long recognised and respected the important place television holds in communities all around the world. In 1996 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day which is celebrated across Europe.
In 2018, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched the SDG Media Compact. Its objective is to inspire media and entertainment companies to leverage their resources and creative talent to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Only two years and 120 members later, information about the SDGs now reaches nearly two billion people in 160 countries across five continents.
SDG Media Compact members are recognised through the annual MIP SDG Award, organised by MIPCOM, the International Market of Communications Programmes. Sky Group Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch was the award’s first recipient for Climate Action and Protection of the Oceans. This was in recognition of Sky Group’s track record in setting the highest standards in sustainability and action on environmental issues.
In a keynote speech at the award ceremony, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming called on television producers, programmers, and distributors to be the driving force in providing the public with scientific-based information about the climate emergency, as well as other Sustainable Development Goals.
“As we work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, and to recover better, the TV industry has a key role to play in keeping people worldwide informed – with accurate, science-backed facts – while also offering solutions and hope.” according to UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming.