Today, 13th of February, 2017 is World Radio Day — a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.
Proclaimed during UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, the date of 13 February, the day the United Nations radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO. 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.
Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.
There is also a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets. However, it is said that up to a billion people still do not have access to radio today.
The consulted stakeholders also proposed ideas for the programme of celebration: extensive use of social media, annual themes, a dedicated website enabling virtual participation, special radio programmes, radio programmes exchange, a festival involving key partners, and so forth.