Monday, 13 February, marks the world’s first World Radio Day. The day is being observed for the first time by the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Radio has the ability to reach up to 95 per cent of the world’s population, and is the most prevalent mass medium which has the ability to reach remote communities and marginalized groups at a low cost. Free independent and pluralistic radio is essential for healthy societies as it is seen as a facilitator of education, freedom of expression and public debate.
Radio has also been used as a vital source of information during natural disasters, and as a central instrument in community life with the potential of mobilizing social change.
The observance of the day on 13 February also marks the anniversary of UN Radio, which was launched in 1946.
The World Radio Day seeks raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through radio and enhance networking among broadcasters. Radio has to be recognized as a low cost medium, 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.