Rwanda joins World Radio Day global conversation for the first time

Radio facilitates public participation, the circulation of new ideas and the sharing of cultural expressions such as music. UNESCO promotes media diversity and the diversity of cultural expressions in Rwanda. Photo courtesy of Ishyo Arts Centre, one of the civil society participants in a UNESCO-run initiative in Rwanda.

Journalists, governments, civil society actors, artists and academics in Rwanda will come together for the first time to celebrate World Radio Day!

“What is the role of the radio in promoting public participation: challenges and opportunities?” will be the theme of this first year of Rwanda’s participation. During a conference, UNESCO and the Rwanda Media Commission with its  partners in Rwanda, the Rwandan National Commission for UNESCO, along with and the  Rwanda Community Radio Network, and other media stakeholders will come together to discuss this theme. They will explore the most locally appropriate ways of using the UNESCO Freedom of Expression tool kit, which is now available in Kinyarwanda, to increase public participation.

The theme of public participation will continue during the evening’s activities focusing on the role of the media and in particular the radio, in promoting diverse local cultural contents. Rwanda has been a partner country in a UNESCO programme, “Enhancing fundamental freedoms through the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions”, funded by the Swedish government. Being a Party to the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Rwanda is spearheading efforts to strengthen its cultural industries through adopting a new cultural policy and implementing participatory policy monitoring. The theme of this year’s World Radio Day, “public participation” and the promotion of media diversity are defining elements of this programme.

Radio: a vital forum for public participation

Radio remains the most popular media source in the country – a vital line of communication and cultural participation for those who are illiterate or cannot afford to own a television. In recent years, new radio stations have opened up and have been channels for debate and news, as well as entertainment such as music and even satire.

“We are delighted that Rwanda is participating in World Radio Day for the first time! Fostering dialogue between the different participants from the spheres of journalism and cultural expression during this year’s event will help guide policy in future. Public participation through community, public and private radio is a major forum for some of the most important discussions in Rwandan society. As UNESCO, we will continue to support the country in ensuring that it develops policies to ensure freedom of expression and artistic freedom, which are vital for development” says Karalyn Monteil, the Culture Programme Specialist in UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa


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