There was an era when most of the household routine started with radio wake-up shows and ended with late-night shows. In this period, the families huddled around the radio for a cricket match, a comedy skit, and a beauty pageant in the evening, not in front of a TV. They had the luxury of imagining visuals with the guidance of the voice. It was a different experience from nowadays, where we passively watch the set pictures on the screen.
When did it all begin?
It all began with the Spanish Radio Academy’s request on the 20th of September 2010 to the UNESCO Executive Board to include an agenda item on the proclamation of a World Radio Day. Then, it was proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day. The World Radio Day is celebrated on the 13th of February, commemorating the anniversary of the United Nations establishing the United Nations Radio in 1946.
Radio and Peace
“On this World Day, we celebrate radio’s power to nurture and build peace.”
-Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO-
Following the themes under which World Radio Day has been celebrated, this year’s theme is introduced as “Radio and Peace” highlighting independent radio as a pillar for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Before television, radio was the most effective way to prevent or promote social change and was used as a wartime propaganda tool, famously starting with the second world war. Despite being in the 21st century, radio remains a popular platform of communication where radio propaganda is undeniable. Yet, seeing the negative consequences of distorted information diffused by media, the 2023 World Radio Day calls for the closure of media narrative conflicts, which spring up along with armed conflicts. Accordingly, standard and capable radio journalism can become an investment in peace clearing off misunderstandings, clarifying confusion and identifying issues of distrust rather than spreading violence and presenting biased narratives.
By setting an example, the UN has established radio stations in conflict-affected areas ensuring the right of access to credible and trustworthy information for the people in war zones as a part of the peacekeeping missions.
Therefore, radio is still a valid source of information that can even be employed as a peacemaker.