Radio and Television Day

International Radio and Television Organisation

The International Radio and Television Organisation (official name in French: Organisation Internationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision or OIRT (before 1960 Organisation Internationale de Radiodiffusion (OIR)) was an East European network of radio and television broadcasters with the primary purpose of establishing ties and securing an interchange of information between those various organizations responsible for broadcasting services, promoting the interests of broadcasting, seeking by international cooperation a solution to any matter relating to broadcasting, and studying and working out all measures having as their aim the development of broadcasting.

Without British participation, 26 members found the OIR on 28 June 1946. Next day, at the General Assembly of the International Broadcasting Union (IBU), an attempt was made to dissolve this body, but the motion fails to obtain the required majority. However, 18 of the 28 existing members leave the IBU and become co-founders of the new OIR. Albania, Byeloarussia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czekoslovakia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Moldavia, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia

In 1946, the newly created OIR installed itself in the IBU building in Brussels. Technical activity was taken up again under the authority of two Directors, one delegated by the Soviet Union and the other by France. However, the political situation gradually degraded into the Cold War and this created an uneasy situation of distrust within the staff of the Technical Centre.

In 1950 many western European members leave the organization to form the new European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Broadcasting organizations from the following countries remain members: People’s Republic of Albania, SSR of Byelorussia, People’s Republic of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, SSR of Esthonia, Finland, Hungary, SSR of Finnish Carelia, SSR of Latvia, SSR of Lithuania, SSR of Moldavia, Republic of Poland, Romanian People’s Republic, Syria, SSR of Ukranie, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Yugoslavia.

As a consequense, the OIR and its Technical Centre was relocated from Brussels to Prague in 1950. Staff members from Belgium and other Western countries, some of whom had already been active before the war, stayed on in Brussels and the centre became the technical centre of the new EBU.

The television network of OIRT was established in 1961 and was called Intervision (Russian Интервидение, Bulgarian Интервизия, Polish Interwizja, Hungarian Intervízió),

The members of the OIRT were Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the European republics of USSR. From 1950 onwards, its headquarters were located in Prague. Finland as a neutral country was also a full member of EBU, which was the corresponding West-European organisation and used Western FM bands instead of Eastern OIRT FM bands in broadcasting. This double membership was a part of Finnish neutrality policy at the time.

Between 1977 and 1980 the OIRT organised four contests of the Intervision Song Contest in Sopot, Poland, in an attempt to emulate the highly successful Eurovision Song Contest.

On January 1, 1993, it merged with the European Broadcasting Union (which runs the Eurovision Network).

For more information on the history of Intervision click here

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