22.02.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

UNESCO holds 2nd Regional World Radio Day Celebrations in Kampala to reinforce capacity in the Region’s Media Sector

2nd Regional World Radio Day (2018) participants in Kampala, Copyright UNESCO 2018.

13 to 15 February 2018, Kampala, Uganda Community radio practitioners from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda celebrated World Radio Day with support from UNESCO within the framework of a Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) project Empowering Local Radio with ICTs. More than 100 participants celebrated the day under the theme Radio and Sports, emphasizing the role of radio in Eastern Africa as a means for information, communication, education, media plurality, and freedom for diverse cultural and other forms of expression.

The 3-day event was opened by the Assistant Commissioner, Information Technology of the Ugandan Ministry of Information Communications Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, Mr Michael Ocero and noted the significance of this being the first World Radio Day event in Uganda. Representing the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms Victoria Kisaakye, UNESCO Programme Coordinator in Uganda, emphasised the vital role of radio building communities. She said, “Despite being over 100 years old, radio remains the most popular medium for information, education and social change. Notably, radio represents a low cost medium focal point for community life, accessible even in the most remote and underserved locations including those at risk due to conflict or disaster.” Finally, Mr Peter Wallet from the UNESCO Regional Office in Eastern Africa, who delivered the Director General’s, Ms Audrey Azoulay, official address stressed radio’s potential to unify people and bridge social divides. According to him, “Radio can help combat racist and xenophobic stereotypes that are, alas, expressed both on and off the sports field; it allows a broad range of traditional sports to be covered, far beyond the elite teams; and it provides the opportunity to nurture diversity, as a force for dialogue and tolerance.”

The sustainable development and expansion of the media industry is a great challenge in different developing countries for multiple reasons, such as difficulty in access financing and pressures exerted by governments. However, with the proliferation of digital media and ‘citizen journalism’, a thriving radio industry continues to emerge resulting in growing numbers of economically viable media outlets. Moreover, this evolution calls into question the old business model that sustained radio outlets in the past.

With more than 100 participants from media institutions including managers (private and community radio stations), media development practitioners, media educators, international scholars, trainers, students from local media and journalism schools, international partners and Government, the celebrations highlighted expertise and best practices from industry players. The 3-day radio week event saw various panel discussions and presentations in a number of relevant and emerging business practices such as the economics of broadcast media and sustainable business models, the role of social media and technology engagement for fundraising and audience engagement, the use of mobile phones to gauge listeners, the role of identifying and fostering on-air talent, radio sales methods, the role of the cloud in broadcasting, and data collection and monitoring to inform programming.

Acknowledging the important role of radio in fostering social change, the event also included a discussion on how radio supports achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular on sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), on gender equality (SDG5), and peace and justice and strong institutions (SDG16). It included discussions related to covering global issues versus local impact, and finally there was a panel on youth empowerment, youth broadcasting, and the shaping of the next generation of media and radio leaders.

As the event closed, participants had increased their capacity in a number of areas as well as having reinforced a national Ugandan and regional network of media and radio stakeholders alike. There was also an increased awareness of best practices for media sustainability and a report will be drafted for circulation amongst participants and beyond.

World Radio Day was a collaboration with the Radio Week Learning Conference, Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), and DW Akademie. The latter sponsored three specialised training sessions for media and radio practitioners on participatory Youth Radio formats, delivered by the Media Challenge Initiative; Digital Safety, delivered by the Hub for Investigative Media and amplifying local voices through Community Media, delivered by the Centre for Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD).

World Radio Day is a global event that is marked on the 13th of February every year. Following a UNESCO proposal, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed it in December 2012 to coincide with the anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Radio in 1946. This day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of the radio and how it positively affects millions of lives every day. It is also a day to celebrate radio as a medium of communication, to improve international cooperation among broadcasters and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression.

For more information on the programme Empowering Local Radios with ICTs, click here.

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