The ninth annual World Radio Day (WRD) is celebrated around the world
The ninth annual World Radio Day (WRD) is celebrated around the world on 13th February 2020 under the theme “Radio Diversity”. WRD 2020 focuses on advocating for pluralism in radio, encouraging representation in the newsroom and promoting a diversity of editorial content and programme types.
The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa joins the rest of the world in celebrating the day in the 9 countries it covers.
In Zimbabwe, the national celebrations are taking place in Gweru with the participation of several media stakeholders, radio personalities, government officials, students and members of the public, among others.
The 2020 theme draws attention to the unique value of radio as a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and a platform for democratic discourse.
Globally, radio is the most widely used medium. Its affordability and accessibility determine the importance of radio under various situations for people in both urban and rural areas. To promote diversity, UNESCO encourages radio to integrate people from diverse groups in their editorial teams, reflect diversity in their workforce and programme types and use new technologies to create a favorable environment for radio diversity.
In Southern Africa, radio plays an important role in providing information, educating citizens and entertaining audiences, reaching the widest audience. In Malawi, over 80% of the population are radio listeners living in rural areas. In Zambia, radio is highly used (85% in urban areas and 68% in rural areas). In Lesotho, radio stations have increased to over 20 since 1964. Surveys in Botswana found that amongst people living with disability, radio is the most popular and dominant medium.
A recent mapping exercise of community radio stations conducted by UNESCO ROSA highlights that the Southern Africa region has three countries without community radio stations. All countries should consider licensing community radio stations because they represent radio diversity, which facilitates the spreading of diverse voices from different groups of people for development in the community.