13 February is World Radio Day

World Radio Day was proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate world’s most popular medium.

13 February is the day when the United Nations Radio was launched in 1946 to promote the UN universal values: “peace, respect for human rights, gender equality, tolerance, economic and social development, and upholding international law”.

13 February is also World Radio Day. Formally recognized by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 14 January 2013, the day was proclaimed with the aim of celebrating radio as a medium, raising awareness on media among users and celebrating its importance in the development of peoples.

world radio day
A man listens to the radio in a refugee camp near Bunia airport, Congo © Mark Renders/Getty Images.

The most widespread communications medium in the world

Radio is the communications medium reaching the widest audience in the world in the shortest time possible: the advent of the Internet, tablets and smartphones enhanced its qualities and cut costs.

Even if it’s widely spread, up to a billion people still don’t have access to radio today. For this reason, on 13 February demonstrations take place all around the world to celebrate and encourage decision-makers to provide access to information through radio.

Radio is a powerful communications medium in times of emergency and disaster. For this reason UNESCO puts forward five key messages:

  • Freedom of expression and journalists’ safety should be disaster-proof: responding to an emergency is easier when everyone enjoys freedom of expression and when journalists safely do their work;
  • Radio empowers survivors and vulnerable people, including those living in refugee camps: their right to confidentiality must be respected;
  • Radio has social impact and provides access to information. It raises awareness on controversial issues. Social media play an important role in this respect, but when they benefit from a trustworthy radio service, their impact is more effective;
  • Radio saves lives: it can help listeners and give support to rescuers in case of emergency;
  • Frequencies should be protected: the immediate accessibility of radio frequencies is vital in case it’s urgent to spread information.
WRD 2016 infographic
WRD 2016 infographic

On the official site of World Radio Day, all public, private and web radios as well as radio listeners, hams and enthusiasts are invited to collaborate by using the hashtag #WorldRadioDay on their social media pages.

Whatever your opinion on this medium, on 13 February everybody can make their voice heard and tell the world why radio is still one of the most powerful communications media.

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