World Radio Day on 13 February brings attention to the role of radio in managing disasters and recovery in their aftermath.
The theme of the UNESCO day this year is Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster, in short, as the World Radio Day website so simply puts it, ‘Radio saves lives’. It can also enhance them.
Radio is recognized as a low-cost medium, specifically suited to reach remote communities and is especially effective in reaching people affected by disasters when other means of communication are disrupted. Terrestrial radio broadcasts are effective in providing timely, relevant and practical information to people who are confused and demoralised by the impact of a crisis. Broadcast information is particularly useful in situations where physical access is difficult and aid responders may take several days or weeks to reach affected communities.
Recent natural and man-made disasters are a major cause for concern to the global community. “In times of crisis and emergency, radio can be a lifeline,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “For people in shattered societies, or caught in catastrophe, or desperately seeking news, radio brings lifesaving information. This year, as we start carrying out the Sustainable Development Goals, let us resolve to use radio for human progress. On this World Radio Day, let us resolve to prove that radio saves lives.”
“Radio plays a very significant part of all our lives. On average, we will listen to nine years of radio in a lifetime – more than any activity except breathing and sleeping! However, statistics anonymize the audiences. The human stories behind the figures are moving and compelling. In difficult circumstances, audiences can receive advice about their personal safety, and counter loss and isolation. It can amuse and inform us, as a convenient, flexible way to encounter new ideas, new music and new ways of thinking. Nine years of listening in an average lifetime is indeed an impressive figure, but the real personal impact of radio cannot be quantified. World Radio Day provides a great opportunity to reflect on the power of radio,” said Graham Dixon, Head of Radio, European Broadcasting Union.
Listen to Radio Day congratulations from our colleagues all over the world”