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World Radio Day: Reinforcing freedom of expression, cultural diversity and gender equality

An on-air sign is seen at a radio station in Mogadishu, Somalia, 8 December 2012
An on-air sign is seen at a radio station in Mogadishu, Somalia, 8 December 2012

REUTERS/AU-UN IST Photo/Tobin Jones/Handout

On the occasion of the third World Radio Day, on February 13th, 2014, AMARC is working to increase access to the airwaves for local and community radio.

At its 36th General Conference in 2011, UNESCO recognized the "transformative power of radio" by establishing February 13 as World Radio Day. On this date in 1946, the United Nations Radio was launched in New York.

Since its first appearance more than a century ago, radio has remained a powerful source of information and mobilization for education, economic development and social change. In a world where illiteracy affects a quarter of the population, radio is the medium that reaches the largest audience. According to Patrice Berger, engineer at the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and President of the Office of Radio Broadcasting and Electronic Communications (ORCEL , France), "half the world's population is permanently affected by information-illiteracy, and public, associative and community radio remains the benchmark media for billions of people." In this era of new technologies, the low cost of production and broadcasting make radio the most accessible media. Radio plays a pivotal role in emergency communications and disaster relief and is one of the most important ways to access information.

World Radio Day aims to raise public awareness regarding the importance of radio, to encourage states to provide access to information through radio, and to improve international cooperation between radio stations. In some countries, public service broadcasting and community radio are at the forefront of this cooperation.

To celebrate this day, the World Radio Day International Committee (WRD) has planned three actions:

1 - Radios around the world are invited to promote the official interactive platform of the WRD International Committee (www.wrd13.com), inviting listeners to send short messages for broadcast on February 13th.

2 - A classical music concert will be offered by Radio France to all radios -associative, community, public or private - for free broadcast on February 13.

3 – The WRD International Committee and URTI will host a party for World Radio Day 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet at the heart of Paris, on February 13. This evening will be followed by a concert by the Orchestre National de France.

UNESCO also encourages broad networks and community radios to promote gender equality and women's empowerment. Through World Radio Day celebrations around the world, UNESCO will promote gender equality by:

  • Sensitizing radio station owners, executives, journalists, and governments to develop gender-related policies and strategies for radio
  • Eliminating stereotypes and promoting multidimensional portrayal in radio
  • Building radio skills for youth radio production, with a focus on young women as producers, hosts, reporters
  • Promoting the safety of women radio journalists
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