13.02.2017 - UNESCO Office in Amman

World Radio Day highlights enduring importance of radio in the digital age


The following is an opinion article by Lidija Sabados, Associate Project Officer at UNESCO Amman Office, published in the Jordan Times on 12 February 2017:

The following is an opinion article by UNESCO Associate Project Officer Lidija Sabados, published in the Jordan Times: - See more at: stmjo.com/en/2017/02/13/world-radio-day-highlights-enduring-importance-of-radio-in-the-digital-age/

World Radio Day is celebrated every year on 13 February. To some radio may seem like a dated medium – with internet penetration rates rising every year, and the use of smartphones increasing, it may seem that radio had its heyday in the analogue era.

However, radio is still an important low cost medium and a powerful communication tool. Globally, radio still reaches more people than smartphones and TV. Radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and promote positive dialogue, including discussion on issues of local concern. It is still the primary method to reach people without access to the internet, and it is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people, including those that are illiterate, disabled, youth, women and the poor.

Radio tower at Hussein Bin Talal University in Maan, Jordan.

Radio tower at Hussein Bin Talal University, Maan, Jordan @Lidija Sabados/UNESCO

In Jordan, radio can offer a platform for citizens far from the capital of Amman to intervene in public debate, irrespective of their educational level and economic status. In Maan for example, radio station Sawt al Januub runs the only FM frequency in the governorate, broadcasting from one radio tower out of Hussein Bin Talal University. The small team of reporters, students and volunteers is dedicated to stories that are of interest to the local community in Maan. On a recent visit to the radio station, they were preparing reports related to the decrease in university enrolment numbers, and the increase in the price of local goods.

While household ownership of conventional radio receivers has been falling in Jordan (and elsewhere), this fall is largely due to platform convergence. Jordanians still listen to radio, but in new ways, primarily online and while on the go.

Under the framework of the EU funded and UNESCO Amman Office implemented “Support to Media in Jordan” Project, UNESCO has been actively supporting new and emerging community radio initiatives, as well as already established radio stations, working with them to improve programming, institutional strengthening and management.

And in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the focus on promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), which specifically include a target on public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms (SDG16.10), it is ever more crucial to continue supporting these important initiatives.

On World Radio Day, we celebrate radio as the powerful medium that it is and we encourage all media players, including commercial and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves, and in their communities.

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