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MTV Networks Awarded UNESCO's Gandhi Gold Medal

September 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

Left to right - {Mark Rosenthal - President MTV Networks} - {Carole Sumner Krechman - Chair - Friends of the UN} - {Dr. Noel Brown - President - Friends of the UN} - {Federico Mayor - Director General - UNESCO}
ceremony here during the Second Congress of the international teachers' organization, Education International.

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."

Left to Right - {Mark Rosenthal - Gandhi Metal Awardee} - {Dr. Noel Brown - President - Friends of the UN} - {Federico Mayor - Gold Medal Presenter}
Mr. Mayor paid particular tribute to MTV's AIDS prevention and awareness campaigns. Speaking about programming which targets the youngest audiences, he cited the "Orange-A-Peels" public service announcements promoting equal rights and opportunities for all, and the "Big Help" program which promotes community involvement.

"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."

Left to Right - {Mark Rosenthal - President MTV Networks} - {UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal} - {Federico Mayor - Director-General UNESCO}
"We at the Friends of the United Nations take so much pride in our successful nomination of the MTV Network and for Nickelodeon for the 1998 Gandhi Award, for their work in promoting respect for cultural diversity and reinforcing the values of tolerance and human differences," said Noel Brown, the NGO's president. "It was simply keeping faith with its viewers to air programs which creatively link entertainment with social responsibilities."
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