Lusaka, 12 February 2020: To commemorate World Radio Day 2020, Panos Institute Southern Africa calls on radio stations in the region to provide platforms for a diversity of voices and viewpoints, covering diverse development issues and actors, and targeting diverse audiences.
Since its proclamation in 2011, and adoption as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly the following year, World Radio Day is commemorated annually on 13th February.
This year, the commemorations are held under the theme “Radio and Diversity”. Panos views this theme as a call on public, private and community radio stations to uphold diversity in their newsrooms and on the airwaves. The theme encourages radio stations to promote diversity in their content and programme types, and to cater for diverse groups.
Panos works with and through radio stations to mobilise citizens, raise their awareness, amplify their voices and enhance their engagement with decision makers and other stakeholders on diverse development issues. We are of the view that increased diversity will enable radio stations to effectively play this role.
Panos is aware of the numerous challenges that hinder radio stations from promoting diversity. These include lack of resources, limited capacity and interference from external stakeholders, especially political actors. As a result, radio stations are compelled to produce and air content that favours those who appointed key personnel like board members and senior managers.
To promote diversity, radio content must be reflective of both the majority and minority groups, cater for all cultures and other interests within the coverage area. To achieve this, Panos recommends the following:
Panos believes that these steps will enable radio stations to widen their content in terms of angles, languages, music, invited guests and sources in a manner that reflects and upholds the diversity within their target audience. Increased diversity will enable radio stations to play their watchdog role and contribute to increased transparency and accountability.
Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)
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