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Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Radio Day, 13 February 2015

The fourth annual World Radio Day focuses on young women and men. On this occasion, UNESCO calls for greater social inclusion of the generation under 30 years old, which accounts for more than half of the world’s population and underline the power of radio to contribute to this objective.

Young women and men are not sufficiently represented in the media -- an exclusion that often reflects a wider social, economic and democratic exclusion. Young producers and broadcasters are still rare. Too few programmes are devoted to or designed by young people. This deficit explains the many stereotypes concerning young people circulating in the media and over the airwaves.

Radio provides the means for change.

It is a vector of cohesion, education and culture.

It is a platform for exchange, where young people may find their place and express themselves.

It is often through young people (citizen journalists or freelancers) that the international press are able to cover current affairs in sensitive or dangerous regions. Many have risked their lives in the service of information and the radio. Supporting them better by giving them greater voice, we can air innovative ideas and new viewpoints and renew collective energies. This is the goal of World Radio Day in 2015, reflecting UNESCO’s efforts to counter all forms of discrimination.

Radio also helps to create a sense of community through the dissemination of information. It supports communities in breaking out of their isolation in situations of armed conflict, political tension and humanitarian hardship. UNESCO is currently using the radio to broadcast health emergency messages in response to the Ebola crisis. Radio can also help to rebuild social links in refugee communities and UNESCO contributes here to disseminating education, culture and information, by backing programmes created and hosted by young people.

Today, I call on all UNESCO Member States and partners, especially in the world of radio, to rally around this medium and make the most of it as a force for social inclusion, intergenerational dialogue and social change. 

 

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03.02.2015