The day, 13 February is a date proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate radio broadcast, improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters and encourage decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio, including community radios. It’s an occasion to draw attention to the unique value of radio, which remains the medium to reach the widest audience and is currently taking up new technological forms and devices.
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Following a request from the Spanish Radio Academy on 20 September 2010, Spain proposed that the UNESCO Executive Board include an agenda item on the proclamation of a World Radio Day. UNESCO’s Executive Board approved the agenda item in its provisional agenda for the proclamation of a “World Radio Day” on 29 September 2011. UNESCO carried out a wide consultation in 2011 with diverse stakeholders, such as broadcasting associations, UN agencies, funds and programmes, relevant NGOs, foundations and bilateral development agencies, as well as UNESCO Permanent Delegations and National Commissions for UNESCO. Among the answers, 91% were in favour of the project, including official support from the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Organización de Telecomunicaciones Ibeoramericanas (OTI), BBC, URTI, Vatican Radio, etc. The results of this consultation are available in UNESCO’s document 187 EX/13.
The Board recommended to the UNESCO 36th session of the General Conference that it proclaim a World Radio Day at its 36th session, and that this day be celebrated by UNESCO on 13 February, the anniversary of the day that the United Nations established the United Nations Radio in 1946. It also invited all United Nations Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, professional associations and broadcasting unions, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to duly celebrate World Radio Day, in the way that each considers most adequate. The board further requested that UNESCO’s Director-General bring the resolution to the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, so that World Radio Day could be endorsed by the General Assembly and celebrated by the whole system. The matter was subsequently treated by UNESCO’s General Conference, which adopted resolution contained in the file 36 C/63. World Radio Day was thus unanimously proclaimed by all Member States of UNESCO in November 2011.
In December 2012, The General Assembly of the UN endorsed the proclamation of World Radio Day, which thereby became a day to be celebrated by all UN agencies, funds and programmes and their partners (File A/RES/67/124). Various radio industry bodies around the world are supporting the initiative by encouraging stations in developed countries to assist those in the developing world. At UNESCO, the consultation, proclamation and celebrations were handled by Mirta Lourenco, Chief of the Sector for Media Development.
The first World Radio Day
In honour of the first World Radio Day in 2012, Lifeline Energy, FrontlineSMS, SOAS Radio and Empower house hosted a seminar in London. A variety of practitioners, academics and tools providers joined at the School of Oriental and African Studies to explore ways in which radio reaches even the most remote and vulnerable communities.
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The Theme and Purpose of the World Radio Day 2020: Radio and Diversity
The theme of the World Radio Day, year 2020 is Radio and Diversity. For World Radio Day 2020, UNESCO calls on radio stations to uphold diversity, both in their newsroom and on the airwaves. It also encourages all countries to celebrate this Day by undertaking activities with diverse partners, such as national, regional and international broadcasting associations and organizations, non-governmental organizations, media organizations, outlets as well as the public at large.
The purpose and objectives of the Day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters
Commercial and state-owned radio stations will celebrate the day on air, inviting experts and intercultural communications to discuss cultural traditions and heritage.
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