UNESCO celebrates World Radio Day to honor the medium that seeks 'a more peaceful and tolerant world'

Under the theme "Dialogue, tolerance and peace," the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is once again leading the celebration of World Radio Day on Feb. 13 to highlight the importance of the radio in its search for a "more peaceful and tolerant world."

World Radio Day. (Photo: UNESCO).

World Radio Day. (Photo: UNESCO).

Convinced of the power of radio to promote understanding and powerful communities, UNESCO emphasizes radio as “the perfect medium to counter the appeals for violence and the spread of conflict, especially in regions potentially more exposed to such realities.

In her message to commemorate this day, the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, pointed out how the radio becomes a great ally to "dispel fear" in areas of conflict. One example, according to Azoulay, is in northwestern Colombia where community radios “are healing old wounds by highlighting the good deeds of demobilized combatants.”

“To this day, dialogue across the airwaves can offer an antidote to the negativity that sometimes seem to predominate online, which is why UNESCO works across the world to improve the plurality and diversity of radio stations,” she added.

Azoulay also highlighted the need to make radio more plural by including traditionally marginalized populations as well as making it more diverse in terms of language.

Like every year, UNESCO invited any person or organization to join in the day’s celebration. The main event, held in Paris, France, consisted of a series of workshops on writing for radio, sound editing, radio and internet, sounds for podcasts, among others.

Different free-to-use content is available on the event’s main website, including interviews with people who have used the radio to improve communications in conflict zones, to strengthen peace processes and even to empower young people, among other topics. It also offers ways to join the celebration that include training audiences, including people who do not have a voice, celebrating the spirit of community, among others.

World Radio Day was proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference in 2011, and unanimously approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2012. February 13 was chosen because it was the day UN Radio was established in 1946.

Its objective is “to raise greater awareness among the public and the media on the importance of radio, to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio, and to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters,” according to UNESCO’s website.

To commemorate Feb. 13, Latin Americans shared content produced for the occasion and their own stories in radio by using the hashtag #DiaMundialDeLaRadio on social media.