Remarks by the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Musinga T. Bandora at the commemoration of the World Radio Day 2014

Feb 13, 2014

I am happy to be part of this gathering this morning to celebrate the second anniversary of the World Radio Day declared by the United Nations General Assembly on the 14th January last year. The United Nations set this day aside to underline the value and role of radio and to raise awareness on the importance of radio. It is also intended to facilitate a platform that promotes national, regional and international cooperation between broadcasters, to encourage major networks and community radios to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves. In addition it was to sensitize decision makers in the broadcasting industries and  in governments,  to establish and implement  policies  that provide access to information as well as provide  inclusive and diversified  content that benefits the interests of  citizens regardless  of age, gender, political affiliations among others.

As we mark this day, I wish to start by congratulating all the Namibian radios for this well deserved recognition by the world community and by the Namibia stakeholders who have joined in celebrating and honoring your achievements today.  This is in recognition of the tremendous role that radio has played -in communicating, educating and entertaining the citizens of this country as well as providing a platform for expression, exchange of ideas and knowledge. From the days of the Voice of Namibia that galvanized the citizens in support of the independence struggle to today, radio continues to play a critical role especially in serving the less privileged in society.

We do reckon that radio is not just a low cost medium of communication but   and a powerful tool that can easily reach remote communities where the most vulnerable, the illiterate, marginalised and poor groups reside.

Radio-in its versatility and reach, offers these groups a platform to intervene in public debates across language and geographical barriers. Radio-more than any communication medium, has done the most in giving a voice to the voiceless.  Even in this digital age, radio continues to fill the gaps in connectivity and other communication infrastructure.

As you know, the theme for the World Radio Day Celebrations this year is “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in Radio”. This is in line with the UN Millennium development goal on “Promoting gender equality and empowering women”.  By focusing on this theme, the United Nations aims at sensitizing all the radio broadcasters to improve the coverage of issues affecting women, and increased female representation in media leadership and staffing.

The United Nations supports and emphasises gender equality in all its activities because we believe that   that equality   exists only when women and men have equal access to facilities, to resources, to power and opportunities. Therefore gender equality in all spheres including in the media, must be seen as a necessity and ethical requirement and not, in any way as a favour to any gender.

In this respect I wish to echo the appeal made by President Pohamba during his address to Parliament on Tuesday to fight the scourge of gender based violence in the country. This is unacceptable and radio has a central role in advocating, in educating and mobilizing society against it. We need to hear the radio voices-loud and clear against Gender-based violence.

On this note, I would like to once more   extend our gratitude to the Namibian media, including the public, private and community radios, for the role you are playing in support of development activities.

We will continue engaging you and providing a platform such as this, to ensure that the UN as a development partner in this country is able to communicate its activities and partner more effectively in supporting the development aspirations of this country.

I now wish to read the official message of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon for this World Radio Day.

“World Radio Day recognizes the unique role and impact of a medium that reaches the largest audience worldwide.

This year’s observance highlights the need for radio broadcasters everywhere to promote the voice of women and to enhance the role of women within broadcast organizations.

The airwaves have frequently lagged behind when it comes to gender equality.

Not nearly enough women’s voices are heard -- either in front or behind the microphone.

Not nearly enough stories about women and girls are being told.

And women make up only a quarter of the members of the boards of the world’s media enterprises. 

I encourage radio stations to be more inclusive by equally recognizing women in their staff and in their audience.

Radio can also help dismantle stereotypical and imbalanced programming.

This is an opportunity for everyone.  Let us celebrate this World Radio Day by saluting women in radio today -- and doing our utmost to nurture the new voices for tomorrow”.

I Thank you and wish you a very happy Radio Day.