Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of World Radio Day
13 February 2020
On this World Day, we celebrate the power of radio to reflect and promote diversity in all its forms.
Everyone can feel at home in “voice land”, as Walter Benjamin called the radio in his writings for the radio. The diversity of broadcasting channels – AM, FM, long wave and, increasingly, digital radio, web radio and podcasts – is matched by the diversity of content and programmes produced, and the plurality of opinions, cultural expressions and sensitivities expressed.
Through the freedom it offers, radio is thus a unique means of promoting cultural diversity. This is particularly the case for indigenous peoples, for whom radio can be an accessible medium for sharing their experiences, promoting their cultures and expressing their ideas in their own languages. It is also the case with community radio stations, which relay the concerns of many social groups whose voices would have much less impact in public debate without radio. That is why UNESCO actively supports these radio stations and ensures, with all the means that its mandate confers on it, that they can develop.
By inviting listeners to broaden their horizons, to discover new perspectives and to foster intercultural understanding, radio is a humanistic medium that helps to combat prejudice and discrimination.
This diversity must be seen in radio content, as well as among the creators of content – technicians, programmers, journalists, sound engineers, everyone has a role to play in this respect. In this context, it is important that the radio industry itself be an industry of diversity, reflecting the complexity and richness of our societies. Diversity is also an asset, as it is synonymous with more creativity and innovation in product content.
In this regard, UNESCO is paying particular attention to promoting greater participation by women in the radio industry. The Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media thus help to measure the degree of awareness of gender equality in the media and the content produced, making it possible to assess in concrete terms the progress made – and that which still remains to be done – in giving more space to diversity.
“Whenever we turn on the radio, the phenomena that ensue have a certain expression. The radio ‘talks to us’, even though we listen to no-one”. With these words, Theodor Adorno celebrated the magic of radio, the magic that we continue to sustain on World Radio Day.