UNESCO to celebrate World Radio Day

Youth reporter Yolanda from Cape Town, South Africa – © C. Petit-Perrot / Children’s Radio Foundation

On 13 February, UNESCO celebrates radio as a medium vital to its mission of creating a more peaceful, more sustainable and more inclusive future for all. World Radio Day is an opportunity to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to promote diversified content, access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves.

Since the 19th century, radio has remained widely accessible, relatively cheap and very simple to use. It is a medium that surpasses all other communication technologies and reaches 95% of the world’s population

Radio has shaped the way we communicate with one another and will continue to help span distances across cultural, political, social and economic divides. Internet and new technologies have further extended their reach. Radio promotes development, lifelong learning and cultural diversity. It helps preserve local cultures and languages while contributing to global understanding.

Youth Radio

Children and youth represent more than one-third of the world’s population and will represent even more in the years to come. In less developed countries, young people account for nearly 70 per cent of the total population.

Around the world, young people turn to radio as a mentor, a companion, an educator and as a virtual community where they can express views and opinions freely and constructively. But there is still much work to be done to give young people a voice over the airwaves. UNESCO encourages broadcasters to include youth in the daily programming schedule. >> More

Short Wave Radio

Far from being a radio of the past, shortwave radio continues to reache both local and international audiences. It can provide service where other platforms cannot due to high cost, lack of infrastructure, geographical location or hazards.

In situations of conflict and natural disaster, shortwave radio provides a lifeline of information that can save lives. Shortwave radio can also be used for distance education. It reaches children, women and men in areas where traditional education systems cannot due to lack of financial means, education infrastructure or accessibility. >> More

Safety of Journalists

Free speech on radio advances democracy and human rights, allowing journalists to do their work, and citizens to hold authorities accountable. Journalists take great personal risk when reporting facts and exposing injustice.

Last year was the deadliest on record for journalists, with over 120 killings observed by the end of 2012. The majority were local reporters covering issues such as corruption or drug trafficking. In light of the worsening situation, UNESCO is spearheading the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. >> More

Future of Radio

Radio has shaped our history and remains a powerful force for creating a more peaceful, more sustainable and more inclusive future for all.

Radio has embraced the digital revolution and employs new platforms to reach international audiences. The cost of broadcasting is decreasing and the number of traditional and non-traditional radio stations is increasing. Citizen journalists and community stations are using online radio to give voices to the underrepresented. Radio continues to be a force for social change, by sharing knowledge and providing new platforms for freedom of expression and inclusive debate.

Help celebrate World Radio Day

13 February is a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation; and to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves. UNESCO encourages all countries to celebrate World Radio Day by planning activities in partnership with regional, national and international broadcasters, non-governmental organizations, the media and the public.

Throughout the World Radio Day web pages, you will find a wealth of resources that you can use free of charge and without copyright restriction to help plan your World Radio Day event. Let’s celebrate!

Why World Radio Day?

On 18 December, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the 2011 resolution adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming 13 February as World Radio Day, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946. The objectives of the Day will be to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters. >> More about the history behind World Radio Day.

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