World Radio Day
Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD).
Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations and operations.
UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, proclaimed World Radio Day on 13 February.
UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain.
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.
A wide consultation process started in June 2011, carried out by UNESCO. It included all stakeholders, i.e. broadcasting associations; public, state, private, community and international broadcasters; UN agencies; funds and programmes; topic-related NGOs; academia; foundations and bilateral development agencies; as well as UNESCO Permanent Delegations and National Commissions. Among the answers, 91% were in favour of the project. The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received over 46 letters of support from diverse stakeholders, including the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Organización de Telecomunicaciones Ibeoramericanas (OTI), BBC, URTI, Vatican Radio, etc.
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.
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.
On 14 January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day. During its 67th Session, the UN General Assembly endorsed the resolution adopted during the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming 13 February, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, as World Radio Day.
CELEBRATIONS IN 2021
On the occasion of World Radio Day 2021 (WRD 2021), UNESCO calls on radio stations to celebrate this event’s 10th anniversary and the more than 110 years of radio.
This edition of WRD is divided into three main sub-themes:
- EVOLUTION. The world changes, radio evolves.
This sub-theme refers to the resilience of the radio, to its sustainability ;
- INNOVATION. The world changes, radio adapts and innovate.
Radio has had to adapt to new technologies to remain the go-to medium of mobility, accessible everywhere and to everyone;
- CONNECTION. The world changes, radio connects.
This sub-theme highlights radio’s services to our society—natural disasters, socio-economic crises, epidemics, etc.
All material is copyright free and may be used to promote World Radio Day.
New World, New Radio (WRD 2021 official Soundtrack)
To celebrate the 10th edition of World Radio Day, Chapelier Fou created a new song around this year's theme, "New World, New Radio."
This original participatory work is an authentic signature of the artist recognized on the international electro scene. It was composed of radio contributions from around the world.
TO BROADCAST: MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
"More than ever, we need this universal humanist medium, vector of freedom. Without radio, the right to information and freedom of expression and, with them, fundamental freedoms would be weakened, as would cultural diversity, since community radio stations are the voices of the voiceless."
— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Radio Day
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- Report 2020 from Academia Española de la Radio: available in English and Spanish.
- Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
- UNESCO Resolution
- UN website about this day
- Previous celebrations: 2021 - 2020 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012
- All UNESCO Commemorations
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