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 accountsfor more than half of the world’s population, and we underline the power of radio tocontribute to this objective.
Young women and men are not sufficiently represented in the media – an exclusion that oftenreflects a wider social, economic and democratic exclusion. Young producers andbroadcasters 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 andover the airwaves.
Radio provides the means for change. Radio provides the means for change. It is a vector ofcohesion, education and culture. It is a platform for exchange, where young people may findtheir place and express themselves.It is often through young people (citizen journalists orfreelancers) that the international press are able to cover current affairs in sensitive ordangerous 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 newviewpoints 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. Itsupports communities in breaking out of their isolation in situations of armed conflict, politicaltension and humanitarian hardship. UNESCO is currently using the radio to broadcast healthemergency messages in response to the Ebola crisis. Radio can also help to rebuild social linksin refugee communities and UNESCO contributes here to disseminating education, culture andinformation, 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 rallyaround this medium and make the most of it as a force for social inclusion, intergenerationaldialogue and social change.