Broadcasters and UNESCO celebrate World Radio Day – FEB 13


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio China International (RCI), Monte-Carlo Doualya (MCD), Radio Exterior d’España (REE), Radio France international (RFI), Radio Orient (RO) and Voice of Russia radio (VoR) will be broadcasting some programmes from UNESCO Headquarters on the occasion of World Radio Day, on 13 February.


13 February is World Radio Day — a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves.

WHY World Radio Day?

UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, proclaimed World Radio Day on 13 February.

UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain.

world radio day 1Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level.

Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

There is also a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets.

However, it is said that up to a billion people still do not have access to radio today.

A wide consultation process started in June 2011, carried out by UNESCO.

It included all stakeholders, i.e. broadcasting associations; public, state, private, community and international broadcasters; UN agencies; funds and programmes; topic-related NGOs; academia; foundations and bilateral development agencies; as well as UNESCO Permanent Delegations and National Commissions.

Among the answers, 91% were in favour of the project. The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received over 46 letters of support from diverse stakeholders, including the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Organización de Telecomunicaciones Ibeoramericanas (OTI), BBC, URTI, Vatican Radio, etc.

A World Radio Day Feasibility Study  provides more details about the consultation process.

wrd banner_world_radio_day_308x150_enThe date of 13 February, the day the United Nations radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO. The objectives of the Day will be to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

The consulted stakeholders also proposed ideas for the programme of celebration: extensive use of social media, annual themes, a dedicated website enabling virtual participation, special radio programmes, radio programmes exchange, a festival involving key partners, and so forth.

The resolution is being submitted to the United Nations’ General Assembly, at its 67th session in September 2012, for endorsement.
UNESCO invites you to a series of conferences and debates with various experts to discuss a wide range of topics including youth radio, shortwave broadcasting and the safety of journalists.

When: 13 February, 11:00 – 18:00

Location: 7, place de Fontenoy – Paris, France 75007

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 can save lives during natural or human-made disasters; and it provides journalists with a platform to report facts and tell their stories.

UNESCO encourages all countries to celebrate World Radio Day by planning activities in partnership with regional, national and international broadcasters, non-governmental organizations, the media and the public.

Throughout these web pages, you will find a wealth of resources that you can use free of charge and without copyright restriction to help plan your World Radio Day event.

Let’s celebrate!

unescos-world-radio-dayA number of debates concerning the history and present developments in radio broadcasting will be held at UNESCO on that day: “Youth radio toolkit”; “Killed for doing their job: The threat to radio journalists”; “United Nations plan of action on safety of journalists”; “Shortwave broadcasting; a radio of the past?” and “Albert Turpain, two years before Guglielmo Marconi”.

Radio is the most universal medium, used by 95% of the world’s population. Requiring inexpensive and relatively simple technology, radio broadcasts reach remote and marginalized communities.

Internet and mobile technologies are helping extend the availability of radio broadcasts and increasing the medium’s potential.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, 75% of households in developing countries own at least one radio receiver.

Irina Bokova,“In the age of new media, radio remains the medium that can carry any message to any place at any time,” says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in an audio message produced for the Day.

It provides a voice to the voiceless, to the poor, to minorities, to women.

This is why we must promote freedom of opinion and expression and protect the safety of all journalists.”

The date of the celebration, 13 February, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO as it marks the Anniversary of the creation of United Nations Radio in 1946. World Radio Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of radio, encourage decision-makers to provide access to information through radio and improve networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

UNESCO has posted a dedicated page on its site.

It includes ideas on how to Celebrate the Day, messages from radio personalities, audio reportages as well as texts that can used freely and an interactive map featuring information about events scheduled to take place in places such as London, Nairobi and Madrid to mark the Day.

It will be possible to follow events on the day on Twitter (: #Worldradioday).

UN-invites-countries-to-tune-in-for-first-World-Radio-Day_NGArticleFullJOIN IN ON SPECIAL STATIONS, available through the following links: 



On 13 February, we invite you to Celebrate World Radio Day at UNESCO headquarters.


Media contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service,

a.bardon(at) +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 02


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