Tune in to World Radio Day on 13 February
Radio is the most prevalent mass medium in the world with the ability to reach 95% of planet’s population. UNESCO’s General Conference last year proclaimed 13 February as World Radio Day*, to celebrate radio as a vector for education, freedom of expression and public debate as well as a source of vital information in times of natural disasters, for example. UNESCO is inviting broadcasters around the world to celebrate the first edition of Radio Day next week.
Inexpensive and technologically relatively basic, radio can reach remote communities and marginalized groups. The Internet and mobile applications have further increased its scope and potential.
According to the International Telecommunication Union, over 75 % of the world’s homes own a radio. Moreover, a growing number of people use broadband connections to get news and interact.
“Radio is the mass medium that reaches the widest audience, especially the most marginalized parts of our societies,” says Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, in a message recorded for the Day. “Free, independent and pluralistic radio is essential for healthy societies, it is vital for advancing human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she adds.
UNESCO has created a website with audio messages in several languages and community radio manuals to encourage public, private and community broadcasters to celebrate the Day. It enables the public to listen to material from UNESCO’s sound archives free of charge with the voices of, among others, Pablo Neruda, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jorge Luis Borges, André Malraux, Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle, Yuri Gagarin, Nikolay Nikolaevich Semenov, Nelson Mandela, Frederik de Klerk or Harry Belafonte.
Over its six decades, UNESCO has pioneered a number of initiatives with this medium, particularly in the area of community radio, and in the use of radio for humanitarian assistance, for which it developed the radio-in-a-box.
*13 February also marks the anniversary of United Nations Radio, which was launched in 1946.