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Radio: a Powerful Force for Shaping a More Peaceful & Sustainable Future

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 13 2013 (IPS) - U.N. officials have hailed the enduring and transformative power of radio, not only as a means of sharing information with millions of people worldwide but also as a tool for shaping a more peaceful and sustainable future.

 “Since its invention more than 100 years ago, radio has sparked the imagination, opened doors for change, and served as a channel for life-saving information”, said Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General, in his message on the occasion of the World Radio Day.

He added: “On this day, let us celebrate the power of radio and let us work together to tune the world to the frequency of peace, development and human rights for all.”

In 2011, the General Conference of the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed 13 February as World Radio Day, the day U.N. Radio was established in 1946. Radio is the most prevalent mass medium, with the ability to reach up to 95 per cent of the world’s population.

“This day is an opportunity to raise four major issues: youths, culture and diversity, safety of journalists, and post-disaster situation,” stressed Philippe Kridelka, Director of UNESCO Office in New York and Representative to the U.N..

He was speaking at  a panel discussion about the ‘Enduring Power of Radio in the 21st Century’, co-organised by UNESCO and the U.N. Department of Public Information (DPI).

As radio continues to evolve in the digital age, it remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide. This multi-purpose medium can help people, including youth, to engage in discussions on topics that affect them. It provides journalists with a platform to report facts and tell their stories and it can also save lives during natural or human-made disasters.

“Radio has embraced the digital revolution to expand its power and reach. Across the world, the cost of broadcasting is decreasing and the number of radio stations is increasing. Citizen journalists and community media are using online radio stations to give voices to those who are rarely heard,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

Along with radios, mobile phones are one of the most accessible forms of technology, covering over 70 percent of the world’s population, according to the 2012 Education for All Global Global Monitoring Report, published by UNESCO. Training via such technology can be particularly beneficial for women who are restricted from attending regularly scheduled classes.

Bokova added: “More than ever, radio remains a force for social change, by sharing knowledge and providing a platform for inclusive debate.

 
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