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75 Years


Historic moments from the 1990s


1990 - Nelson Mandela freed

Nelson Mandela freed
He spent nearly 27 years in prison and was an icon for the struggle against white rule in South Africa but very few people had actually seen Nelson Mandela. When he took his first steps of freedom, the world's press was waiting to capture the moment.

Listen to the media moment for 1990

1991 - Gorbachev and the BBC

Mikhail Gorbachev
When Communist hardliners in the army staged a shortlived coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev he was kept under house arrest in the Crimea. While there, he listened to the BBC's Russian service to find out what was going on in Moscow.

Listen to the media moment for 1991

1992 - War atrocities in Bosnia

Grieving Bosnian
When the media went into Bosnian prison camps to investigate rumours of atrocities against Muslims, startling images of skeletal men with shaven heads behind barbed wire emerged. This convinced many outside the conflict that the Serbs were in the wrong.

Listen to the media moment for 1992

1993 - Battle for Mogadishu

American soldier in Somalia
Operation Restore Hope, the American intervention to help the UN famine relief team in Somalia had gone wrong. Pictures of a dead US soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu turned the mood at home and in 1994 the troops were being withdrawn.

Listen to the media moment for 1993

1994 - Genocide in Rwanda

Rwandan refugees bearing a coffin
Almost one million Tutsis or moderate Hutus were killed in less than four months in Rwanda. Radio Milles Collines encouraged and celebrated the murders. Two of its senior staff were found guilty of genocide, incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Listen to the media moment for 1994

1995 - Royal media battle

Princess Diana being interviewed by the BBC
After the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana ended, she gave an emotional BBC interview in which she blamed her husband for the collapse of the marriage. Her openness was seen as a stark contrast to the Royal family's stiff exterior.

Listen to the media moment for 1995

1996 - The Unabomber caught

Ted Kazinski, the Unabomber
Ted Kazinski sent parcel bombs across the US without getting caught for over 17 years. But when he demanded publication of his manifesto in the New York Times and Washington Post, it was read by millions of ordinary americans, including his brother David who turned him in.

Listen to the media moment for 1996

1997 - Death of Princess Diana

Soldiers bearing Princess Diana's coffin
On August 31, broadcasters around the world cancelled normal progamming to focus on the news that Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris as she was followed by paparazzi photographers. Many believe she was literally hounded to death by the tabloid press.

Listen to the media moment for 1997

1998 - The Rise of Google

Screen grab of Google website
It's the American dream, two students set up business in a garage and within a decade Larry Page and Sergei Brin own one of the world's most powerful communications companies. Google is now the most popular search engine in the world, worth almost $200 billion.

Listen to the media moment for 1998

1999 - The Y2K Bug

There were fears that the Millenium Bug would cause chaos with every computer in the world at the stroke of midnight on the last day of 1999, causing global systems meltdown. But after massive amounts of preparation and reprogramming, 2000 came without any mishaps.

Listen to the media moment for 1999
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