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About World Radio Day
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.
This year, the UNESCO theme for World Radio Day is “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster”. Radio still remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, in the quickest possible time.
Through World Radio Day celebrations around the world, UNESCO will promote radio in times of emergency and disaster, and put forward the following messages:
- Freedom of expression and journalists’ safety should be disaster-proof.
- Radio empowers survivors and vulnerable people, whose right to privacy is to be respected.
- Radio has social impact and provides access to information. People’s right to information should be protected even in times of emergency and disaster.
- Radio saves lives.
- The immediate accessibility of radio frequencies is essential to saving lives. These frequencies should be protected so they are available in times of emergency.
On 13 February, international broadcasters will broadcast live on UNESCO’s dedicated website, www.worldradioday.org.
Through National Commissions for UNESCO Field Offices and partner organisations, World Radio Day will be celebrated worldwide. UNESCO will also provide copyright free articles, audio and video messages from opinion leaders, celebrities, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors related to radio for use by broadcasters on World Radio Day.
UNESCO invites all countries to celebrate World Radio Day by planning activities in partnership with regional, national and international broadcasters, non-governmental organizations, national authorities, the media and the public.