UN preaches peace for all on World Radio Day
IF, in the world today, “one billion people still do not have access to radio” in spite of it being widely accessible, relatively cheap and very simple to use, Nigeria will certainly have a big share of the figure because one decade of agitation for the establishment of community radio in the country has not yielded any fruit.
So, on the occasion of today’s (February 13) World Radio Day dedicated to “celebrate radio as a medium, to improve international co-operation between broadcasters, and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves,” advocates of community broadcasting under the auspices of the Nigerian Community Radio Coalition (NCRC) are displeased with President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. And they appear to have strong reason for their displeasure.
Twenty-eight months (since October 19, 2010) after the President conferred on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) the power to consider and issue community radio licences, the order has not been carried out, the stakeholders lamented in a statement.
Worse still, it appears the “stumbling blocks” against the operationalisation of this directive have not been explicitly communicated to the stakeholders. Hear President Jonathan on the occasion of the eighth Biennial Conference of African Broadcasters (AFRICAST) in October 2010: “We are aware of the need to expand the broadcast space and give more voice to the people.
“Consequently, the Federal Executive Council has considered and approved the guidelines proposed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the licensing of community radio in Nigeria. Further, we have devolved to the commission the power to consider and issue the licences without further recourse to the Presidency, provided such applicants have met all conditions stipulated by law.”
While the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, emphasised in his commemoration message the need to use the occasion of the World Radio Day to “tune the world to the frequency of peace, development and human rights for all,” the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, lauded the pervasiveness, affordability and accessibility profile of radio, essentially as a medium “that can carry any message to any place at any time – even without electricity.”
The UN scribe noted further: “Since its invention more than 100 years ago, radio has sparked the imagination, opened doors for change, and served as a channel for life-saving information.”
Radio entertains, educates and informs. It promotes democratic expression and influences ideas.
“From short-wave to FM to satellite transmission – radio connects people wherever they are. In conflict situations and times of crisis, radio is a lifeline for vulnerable communities.”
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