MTV Networks Awarded UNESCO's Gandhi Gold MedalSeptember 20, 1998. Vol 5, No.8
Washington D.C. - UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor on July 25 awarded UNESCO's Mahatma Gandhi Medal to MTV Networks, a Viacom company, in a
MTV Networks, which includes MTV, VH I and Nickelodeon, was awarded the medal "for encouraging social responsibility, tolerance and diversity through global entertainment for young people." The company was nominated for the award by Friends of the United Nations, a U.S. non-governmental organization.
Mr. Mayor stressed the importance of MTV's public service announcements which spread a message of peace and tolerance and highlighted the importance of the entertainment industry's contribution to youth education.
Recalling that the GandhiAward is in "commemoration of a great teacher of non-violence," Mr. Mayor remarked on the importance of honoring a private sector concern, "in the all-important field of global entertainment, [which has] made the conscious decision to teach civic values, tolerance and respect for diversity within the context of MTV Networks' worldwide programming."
"Young people today are much more tolerant than past generations," said MTV Networks President Mark Rosenthal, who accepted the award. "Kids of different races, ethnic origins, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds are learning to accept and embrace diversity. Young people around the world are sharing more things in common, from communication and technology to fashion and the arts."
He noted that MTV's "Free Your Mind" campaign, which initially focused on diversity in the U.S. and "how it truly defines America," has grown to become an "international priority for us" and the network's "first integrated, global pro-social campaign." MTV's affiliates around the world have customized the campaign to make their viewers "aware of the importance of respecting racial, religious and sexual differences."