UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that radio is a powerful, low-cost communication tool that reaches the widest global audience while also connecting people to grassroots sports within communities.
“It can unite and empower communities and give voice to the marginalized,” the secretary-general said on the World Radio Day.
The UN chief noted that radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people, including the illiterate, disabled and poor.
He added that it also offers a platform to participate in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level, and has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.
“This year, with the Winter Olympics now under way, we also recognize the many ways in which sports broadcasting brings people together around excitement and achievement,” the UN chief said.
“On World Radio Day, let us celebrate both radio and sports as ways of helping people achieve their full potential,” he concluded.
In looking forward to a year of momentous sporting events that can unite the hearts and minds of people everywhere, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the theme of the 2018 edition of the Day — Radio and Sports — was an opportunity for radio stations worldwide to showcase the beauty of sports in all of its diversity.
In her message, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay called radio “a powerful means to transmit the enthusiasm of sport events.”
“It is also a means to convey the values of fair play, teamwork and equality in sport,” she continued, emphasizing that radio can help combat racist and xenophobic stereotypes that are expressed both on and off the field.
Radio also allows a broad range of traditional sports to be covered, far beyond the elite teams, providing an opportunity to nurture diversity, as a force for dialogue and tolerance.
“The fight for gender equality is central to this effort,” Azoulay added.
According to the UNESCO-supported Global Media Monitoring Project report, a mere 4 percent of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sport and only 12 percent of sports news is presented by women.
“UNESCO is working to improve the coverage of women’s sports, to combat gender discrimination on the airwaves and to promote equal opportunities in sports media,” she stated, adding “the task is immense.”
Azoulay urged everyone to mobilize in making radio an increasingly independent and pluralistic media.
“Let us join forces to celebrate the potential of sports radio in furthering development and peace,” she said.
World Radio Day is an observance day held annually on Feb. 13. It is a day to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe.
It was proclaimed on Nov. 3, 2011 by UNESCO’s 36th General Conference after originally being proposed by Spain.