Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of World Radio Day
“New World, New Radio”
13 February 2021
As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of World Radio Day, the past year has highlighted the extent to which radio, this young medium, developed some 110 years ago, remains essential to our contemporary societies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of its added value: with a penetration rate of over 75% in developing countries, radio remains the most accessible medium.
That is why it has been a key tool for our action in response to the crisis.
It has helped to save lives by making it possible to relay health instructions, make reliable information accessible and combat hate speech. UNESCO has harnessed its potential by producing royalty-free audio messages in 56 languages and offering them to radio stations around the world to counter false rumours.
It has also enabled continuity of learning for populations that could only be reached through such means. UNESCO, with the Global Education Coalition, has thus developed effective teaching over the airwaves. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, our Organization has developed and disseminated educational content for more than 4 million learners, broadcast on community radio stations.
Radio thus remains an essential medium that proves its resilience on a daily basis, along with its capacity for innovation.
In this century of images, radio accompanies our mornings and our evenings, and mirrors the thoughts of a world that must be heard to be understood. With the creation of Internet radio, podcasts, smartphones and new technologies, it is truly blossoming in its second youth.
This World Radio Day, with its theme “New World, New Radio”, affirms the central role of radio, for today and tomorrow, because, more than ever, we need this universal humanist medium, vector of freedom. Without radio, the right to information and freedom of expression and, with them, fundamental freedoms would be weakened, as would cultural diversity, since community radio stations are the voices of the voiceless.
On this World Day, UNESCO calls on everyone – audiences, radio broadcasters and audiovisual professionals – to celebrate radio and its values and to promote reliable information as a common good.