World Radio Day: Panos Calls for Sustained Investment in Community Radio
Lusaka, Zambia – February 13, 2024: As the world celebrates World Radio Day, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) calls for sustained investment in community radio to strengthen its contribution to the development and well-being of the Zambian society and the Southern African region.
This year’s World Radio Day theme, “Radio: A Century of Information, Entertainment, and Education,” underscores the enduring significance of radio in our society. In an era marked by technological advancements, radio remains a resilient medium, uniquely capable of reaching diverse audiences, including those in remote and marginalized communities.
At Panos, we recognize the indispensable role that radio plays in amplifying the voices of the marginalized and fostering inclusive dialogue. Despite the numerous advances in technology that have seen the proliferation of all kinds of digital platforms for information dissemination, radio has remained a constant reliable channel for information sharing, especially among the poor and marginalised. We have seen how radio stations have tapped into the new opportunities presented by technology to inform, educate and entertain. Radio has served as a catalyst for social change, empowering communities to advocate for their rights, express their cultural identities, and participate in democratic processes. Particularly in rural areas where access to other forms of media may be limited, radio has served as a lifeline, connecting individuals with essential services, resources, and information, which has transformed many lives.
It is for this reason that, as we celebrate World Radio Day, Panos calls upon governments, civil society organizations, media outlets, and all stakeholders to prioritize investment in radio infrastructure, programming, and capacity-building initiatives. By strengthening the radio sector, we can enhance its ability to serve as a catalyst for positive change, promote social cohesion, and advance sustainable development goals. Investing in Radio require financial support, training for journalists, and protection from undue influence, it also requires investment in local content production that enhances cultural expression, reflects diverse voices and embracing new technologies like digital radio to expand reach and foster innovation in radio programming.
We urge governments to create enabling regulatory and operational environments that support the growth and sustainability of radio stations. Furthermore, we call for increased funding for radio programming that reflects the diversity of voices and perspectives within our societies.
On this occasion, Panos urges stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to harnessing the power of radio to inform, inspire, and empower individuals and communities in Southern Africa and across the globe.