Interstellar Network News

Interstellar Network News

Interstellar Network News (ISN) is a fictional TV news network in the Babylon 5 universe. ISN's motto is "The Galaxy's Most Important Network." ISN was modelled on real-world news outlets, such as CNN.

Broadcasting from Geneva (seat of the Earth Alliance Government), ISN is the only Earth network that can afford the massive costs of live interstellar broadcasting, explaining why we never see another news network in Babylon 5. ISN's signal reaches Earth, all the Earth Alliance colonies, Babylon 5 and other alien worlds. By 2260 ISN had won six Platinum Network awards.

Throughout the series, ISN reports events happening all over known space from Earth's (and EarthGov's) perspective. Due to ISN's dependence on expensive tachyon transmitters mostly supplied by the government, the network was extremely vulnerable to government pressure.

During the administration of Morgan Clark, ISN suffered censorship of many news reports that were contrary to the President's interests. With the full outbreak of the Earth Alliance Civil War, a group of ISN reporters attempted to disclose uncensored news of the bombardment of Mars and the secession of Proxima III and Orion VII from the Alliance during a live broadcast. ISN's facilities were stormed by elite military forces and the network went off air for several weeks. ("Severed Dreams")

Eventually ISN returned to operations, but it was nothing more than a propaganda machine completely subservient to Clark. It became known that the network's previous anchors had been arrested. ISN's recurring female anchor Jane was replaced by a previously unseen female anchor who cheerfully spouted off lies in favor of the new fascist police-state Clark had established on Earth. For the remainder of the Civil War ISN continued to serve Clark's interests, broadcasting "special reports" aimed to discredit anti-Clark forces, especially Babylon 5, and John Sheridan in particular. ("The Illusion of Truth") To counter ISN's blatant propaganda, Babylon 5 launched the Voice of the Resistance.

Following the end of President Clark's tyranny, ISN was liberated and many of the network's previous anchors were released from imprisonment and returned to the cameras. Like the rest of the Earth Alliance, ISN tried to cope with and recover from the events of the Civil War.

Besides normal news bulletins, ISN broadcasts a variety of programs, including documentaries, special investigative reports (such as "36 Hours") and political talk shows such as "ISN Night Side" ("a no-holds-barred look at the events of today that will shape the world of tomorrow"), hosted by Derek Mitchell.

"36 Hours"

"36 Hours" is a fictional Interstellar Network News show hosted by Cynthia Torqueman which spends 36 hours on location investigating a subject. One such show dealing with "Babylon 5" aired September 16, 2259, sponsored by Interplanetary Expeditions in the episode "And Now For a Word". Commercial messages aired during that program included subliminal propaganda for the Psi Corps.

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