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ABU joins UNESCO-led call for accessible radio on centenary anniversary of radio broadcast

The ABU has joined a UNESCO-led initiative to ensure radio’s continued success as the world marks the 100th anniversary of the first radio broadcast, an event commemorated annually as World Radio Day.

A joint statement, endorsed by sister unions and spearheaded by UNESCO, urged governments, regulatory bodies, the technology and automotive industries, and the global radio community to implement measures guaranteeing radio’s longevity. It called for actions to maintain radio’s role in offering free and unrestricted access to diverse opinions and reliable information, to support communities and speakers of minority languages by ensuring they receive information and participate in democratic processes, and to guarantee radio’s accessibility to all, regardless of financial status or personal circumstances.

This year’s theme, “Radio: A Century Informing, Entertaining, and Educating,” celebrates the medium’s enduring influence and significance over the past century.

“The year 2024 signifies a notable moment in the history of this medium: it marks the centenary of the first live radio broadcast of the Olympic Games, coinciding with the eve of the upcoming Games in Paris,” stated Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, in a press release.

Malaysia’s Minister of Communications, Fahmi Fadzil, expressed his thoughts on X (formerly, Twitter), highlighting radio’s critical role in information dissemination, entertainment, and education across all societal segments.

Radio continues to play a crucial role in disaster preparedness in the Asia-Pacific region. For instance, in Tonga, on 15 January 2022, emergency radio broadcasts provided early warnings to the populace about the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck the country.