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Broadcasters, UNESCO Celebrate World Radio Day

Feb 1, 2013, 10:51 AM

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio China International (RCI), Monte-Carlo Doualya (MCD), Radio Exterior d’España (REE), Radio France international (RFI), Radio Orient (RO) and Voice of Russia radio (VoR) will be broadcasting some programmes from UNESCO Headquarters on the occasion of World Radio Day, on 13 February, a news release from UNESCO says.

A number of debates concerning the history and present developments in radio broadcasting will be held at UNESCO on that day: “Youth radio toolkit”; “Killed for doing their job: The threat to radio journalists”; “United Nations plan of action on safety of journalists”; “Shortwave broadcasting; a radio of the past?” and “Albert Turpain, two years before Guglielmo Marconi”.

Radio is the most universal medium, used by 95% of the world’s population. Requiring inexpensive and relatively simple technology, radio broadcasts reach remote and marginalised communities. Internet and mobile technologies are helping extend the availability of radio broadcasts and increasing the medium’s potential. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 75% of households in developing countries own at least one radio receiver.

In the age of new media, radio remains the medium that can carry any message to any place at any time,” says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in an audio message produced for the Day. “It provides a voice to the voiceless, to the poor, to minorities, to women. This is why we must promote freedom of opinion and expression and protect the safety of all journalists.”

The date of the celebration, 13 February, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO as it marks the anniversary of the creation of United Nations Radio in 1946. World Radio Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of radio, encourage decision-makers to provide access to information through radio and improve networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

UNESCO has posted a dedicated page on its site. It includes ideas on how to celebrate the Day, messages from radio personalities, audio reportages as well as texts that can be use freely and an interactive map featuring information about events scheduled to take place in places such as London, Nairobi and Madrid to mark the Day.