In an era of constant digital disruption the IIC enables the open balanced discussion that informs the policy agenda.
If our story over the last 50 years has anything to reveal, it’s the role IIC members around the world can play in shaping a future from which all of society can benefit. During 2019 we will be charting some of the significant changes that have taken place since our creation in 1969 and looking ahead to what the next decade will bring.Watch Video
Evolution, innovation and regulation in telecoms, media and technology
To celebrate our anniversary, we have compiled more than 50 significant developments, launches, failures and trends that have taken place over the last five decades. Some of these are major trends, others lesser known but nonetheless impactful in the role they’ve played in shaping how we communicate, learn, govern and do business today.
In 1945 Arthur C. Clarke posited the idea that three geostationary satellites could transmit messages across the planet.
Widely dismissed as fanciful at the time, 23 years later, in 1968 the UN General Assembly approved the establishment of a working group to report on the technical feasibility of communication by direct broadcasts from satellites. Drawing on expertise from Europe, the USA and Asia and including academics, economists, government and industry, the group formed the beginnings of the International Broadcasting Institute (IBI), later to become the IIC.Learn More
The IIC owes its success to many committed and visionary leaders over the last five decades. Here are some of the people who have helped to make the IIC what it is today:
A renowned Second World War historian, Arthur Morse became an Executive Producer at CBS. Through his relationship with Joseph E Slater of the Ford Foundation, he took a central role in establishing the then IBI, creating a broad international base, and becoming its first Executive Director. He tragically died in car accident while attending an IBI conference in Yugoslavia in 1971.
The IIC’s first ever president, Rydbeck began his career as a diplomat, working at the UN and as Sweden’s Ambassador to the UK, before becoming head of Sveriges Radio, the Swedish national broadcaster, in 1955. It was Olof’s unique experience that led him to chair a UN committee on satellite television that eventually gave rise to the IIC.
Beginning his career as a newspaper reporter, Sig Mickelson was a vice president at time Life Broadcasts and served as President of CBS News and Radio Free Europe. He founded the Radio and Television News Directors Association, and it was through this that he became a prime mover in the IIC. When the IIC was accused of attracting CIA funding, he retorted: ‘If we had had CIA funding we would have been a lot better off – that’s the final proof we never had it.’
Lord Asa Briggs was a historian with a long and distinguished academic career. He worked in the codebreaking operation at Bletchley Park during the war, turning to academic life in 1945 as a fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. He was a prolific writer, authoring the official 5 volume history of the BBC. Asa Briggs was an Honorary Director of the IIC, regarded as its ‘research supremo’ and responsible for many of its early research projects.
Along with Jean, Eddi was regarded as half of the ‘driving duumvirate’ of the IIC in its early years. Ploman worked with and for d’Arcy at UN Headquarters and was head of Eurovison from 1958 until 1963. He wrote several books and spoke a number of languages. Cosmopolitan in outlook, Ploman believed strongly in the idea of the new communications (then television) as a vehicle for international understanding.
From its inception, the IIC enjoyed the professional and financial support of Japanese Public broadcaster NHK under its president, Yoshinori Maeda. A fluent Italian speaker, Maeda was a news reporter in Italy during the Second World War (and was reputed to have known Mussolini ‘fairly well’) before joining NHK in 1945. A staunch believer in promoting international dialogue and understanding, Maeda was made the first Honorary President of the IIC in 1973.
A founder member of the IIC, d’Arcy helped to set up Eurovision, part of the EBU. For ten years he was Director of the UN’s Radio and Visual Services division. He became the IIC’s president in 1975, taking over from Olof Rydbeck, a post in which he served until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1983.
President of the IIC from 1983-1987, Tom Hardiman served as the Director General of Radio Telefis Eirann (RTE) and as a Director of the Bank of Ireland for many years. He was instrumental in the creation of the Telecommunications Forum, which began as a two year programme in 1987, and continues to this day. He is a Life Trustee of the IIC.
Chair of the IIC from 1991-1994, Alain Gourd had a distinguished background in broadcasting, in both radio and television. He was a Minister at the Federal Department for Communications in Canada, and subsequently Associate Secretary to the Canadian Cabinet. He stepped in at a time of financial difficulties for the IIC, providing much needed zeal, leadership and stability.
A former CEO of the AFP news agency and chairman of a number of media companies and trade bodies, Henri Pigeat joined the IIC in 1973 and became chairman of the Executive Committee in 1990, serving as president from 1992-1998. He also taught on various media subjects as an Associate Professor at the University of Paris Pantheon Assas, and was an expert advisor to the European Union.
A lawyer with over 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications sector, Bernard Courtois served in a variety of executive roles with Bell Canada from 1991 to 2003, including those of Chief Regulatory Officer and Chief Strategy Officer. He was President of the IIC from 2002 to 2004, and is currently the president and CEO of ITAC, the Information Technology Association of Canada.
Beginning his career as a journalist in Finland, Arne Wessberg rose to CEO of the Finnish Broadcasting Company, and Chairman of the European Broadcasting Union. He served as President of the IIC from 2005-2010. He has been chairman of Digita Oy, a Finnish network operator for wireless communications networks, since 2012.
An economist by training, Fabio Colasanti worked with Italcable SpA of Rome before joining the European Commission in 1977. He worked in the Enterprise Department and was Director General in charge of the Department for Information Society and Media until 2010. Fabio served as IIC President from 2010 until 2016. He is now a Life Trustee of the IIC and a Board Member of RAI Way.
Chris Chapman held senior management positions with the Seven Network, Stadium Australia Management, Optus and Babcock & Brown and was an associate member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. He served two terms at the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as Chairman and CEO before becoming President of the IIC in 2016.
Explore the events and locations we've been to around the World.
In 1969 our board of directors, trustees and members comprised those at the forefront of the broadcast industry. In 2019 as our remit has widened and the telecoms media and technology sectors have converged, we still pride ourselves on having as strategic IIC Partners some of the major content platforms, telecoms operators and technology businesses. As well as regulators and policy makers from all continents.