07.02.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Why World Radio Day?

© UNESCO/Sergio Santimano

“In a world changing quickly, we must make the most of radio’s ability to connect people and societies, to share knowledge and information and to strengthen understanding. This World Radio Day is a moment to recognize the marvel of radio and to harness its power for the benefit of all,” said UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova in her message on the occasion of the first World Radio Day.

On November 3, 2011, during its 36th General Conference, UNESCO recognized the “transformational power of radio” by establishing World Radio Day on 13 February, which marks the day when the United Nations Radio was launched in 1946. The initial idea came from the Spanish Academy of Radio and was formally presented by the Permanent Delegation of Spain to UNESCO at the 187 session of the Executive Board in September 2011.

Since the first broadcast over 100 years ago, radio has proven to be a powerful information source for mobilizing social change and a central point for community life. It is the mass media that reaches the widest audience in the world. In an era of new technologies, it remains the world’s most accessible platform, a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium.

Radio technology, which began as "wireless telegraphy," owes its development to two other inventions, the telegraph and the telephone. Since the end of the 19th century, when the first successful radio transmissions were achieved and to this day, radio remains as important means of communications as ever. With the advent of new technologies and media convergence, radio is being transformed and is moving onto new delivery platforms, such as broadband internet, mobiles and tablets. In the digital era, radio continues to be relevant, as people digitally tune in via computers, satellite radio and mobile devices.

Radio is especially suited to reach remote and marginalized communities, while simultaneously offering a platform for information sharing and promoting public debate. Radio plays an important role in emergency communication and disaster relief. It is also one of the most important ways to widen access to knowledge, promote the freedom of expression as well as encourage mutual respect and multicultural understanding.

World Radio Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of radio, to encourage decision makers to provide access to information through radio and improve networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

The resolution is being submitted to the United Nations’ General Assembly, at its 67th session in September 2012, for endorsement.




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