UNESCO Office commemorates World Radio Day 2014
Amman – 13 February is World Radio Day, a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.
Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.
“Radio gives a voice to the voiceless, it helps educate the illiterate, and it saves lives during natural disasters. A force for freedom of expression and pluralism, radio is essential to building inclusive knowledge societies and to promoting respect and understanding between people, states Mr Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General on the occasion of World Radio Day 2014.I
Inspired by this compelling message, the UNESCO Amman office constantly supports radio through its programmes. As part of its response to the impact of the Syria Crisis in Jordan, the office is currently implementing a radio project called “Sa’a Surriya” that enhances access to information and freedom of expression for Syrian refugees in Jordan through radio. The programme provides vital information to the Syrian refugee community and host communities of urban areas in the northern and central parts of Jordan. It also includes services extended by different organizations and local institutions with a specific focus on facilities for women and youth.
“We tried to deliver the agony of the Syrian Refugees and the problems they face through the ‘Syrian Hour’ Radio show. Our humanity brought us together and we became brothers” said Majid, one of the participants of the first season of Sa’a Surriya.
Under the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), in the last years the Amman Office also supported Community Media Network’s Al Balad Radio and Farah al Nas. The latter contributed to building capacities of young citizen journalists in three underserved communities in Jordan, while the former addressed women citizen journalists in rural areas.
UNESCO has partnered with Al Balad Radio and Fann FM throughout its youth focused mass media campaign on HIV/AIDS in 2013 that aimed at promoting behavior change among youth through a high quality audiovisual webcast/podcast program.
“In 2014, UNESCO plans to expand its engagement in supporting media independence and transparency, as well as in further developing the capacities of media professionals and institutions. Radio as a vital media tool, will be one of the major components of these initiatives”, said Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative in Jordan.
For this year’s celebration of World Radio Day, UNESCO Amman Office will support local radio stations in Jordan through the provision of material on the day and interviews on air during specific programming activities to highlight the importance of this year’s theme: women in radio and those who support them.
“In this period, UNESCO calls today on all broadcasters, from local community stations, to international media outlets to promote gender equality and the empowerment and men both in and through radio. This is UNESCO’s message at World Radio Day” says UNESCO DG Irina Bokova on the occasion of World Radio Day 2014.
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