UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, proclaimed World Radio Day on 13 February.
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 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.
This goal guides UNESCO’s commitment to bolster communication between all societies for the purpose of deepening mutual understanding through the “free flow of ideas by word and image.” UNESCO works to ensure that radio is a tool for peace -- sharing knowledge and information about the diversity of cultures, encouraging a pluralism of voices and widening access to knowledge. To this end, UNESCO supports free, independent and pluralistic media through all transmission platforms -- including community radio, “radio-in-a-box” start-up kits, shortwave and satellite radio use.