London/New York/Johannesburg, 1 July 2003 – In honor of Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday, MTV: Music Television, owned by Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), announced today that multi-platinum recording artist Beyoncé Knowles will host Meeting Mandela: A Staying Alive Special, celebrating the life of the great humanitarian and former President of South Africa. The 60-minute special, which just wrapped production in Johannesburg, found Mr. Mandela tackling several controversial issues facing young people today for the first time ever in a globally televised special, including topics such as HIV/AIDS awareness, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the oppressive military regime in Burma.
Produced in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNAIDS, the World Bank, the Kaiser Family Foundation & Family Health International's YouthNet, the special marks the 2003 debut of the acclaimed Staying Alive HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and will premiere on MTV and other broadcasters globally from 18th July to a potential audience of more than two billion people. It is being offered rights free to all 3rd party broadcasters worldwide, and many broadcasters have already signed up to air the special including CCTV (China), Doordarshan (India), SABC (South Africa), TV Africa (pan-African network), Network Ten (Australia), ICP (Israel), ERT (Greece), YTR (Yugoslavia), CCN TV6 (Trinidad & Tobago), and Channels 3 & 7 (Guatemala), among others. For the second year in a row, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will distribute the campaign's programming free via satellite to its 71 member broadcasters in 52 countries in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.