World Radio Day was proclaimed at the 36th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2011 to take place on each 13 February. It was then unanimously endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as a UN Day.
Radio is still the mass media that reaches the widest audience in the world.
It is a powerful and low-cost medium even suited to reach remote communities. Serving as a platform for public debate, radio allows for equal participation and empowers some of the most marginalized groups in our societies, including the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor. Furthermore, radio has a strong impact in emergency communication and disaster relief.
There is a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles, DAB+ and tablets.
The 13 February was specifically chosen for World Radio Day as United Nations Radio was established on this date in 1946. The Day aims to raise greater awareness among the public and the media on the importance of radio, to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio, and to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.
This Day highlights 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.” The Organization works to ensure that radio develops and remains free, independent and pluralistic, encouraging a variety of voices in the public debate, and widening access to information and knowledge.
World Radio Day has continued to break visibility records for UN International Days. Around 500 events are registered in over 100 countries each year, with the official website receiving an average of more than 100,000 annual page views since 2014. The Day hashtag UNESCO diffuses is also consistent as one of the top ten global trending topics on Twitter for the past 4 years, reaching an excess of one million users in 2018. The event additionally holds the record for the highest number of UNESCO interviews delivered to the media, peaking at over 130 on World Radio Day 2015.