To raised perceive this determination, and on the event of World Radio Day on 13 February, which is being celebrated beneath the theme “Radio and Belief”, UN Information spoke to the ITU’s Director of Radiocommunication, Mario Maniewicz, who started by explaining the medium’s significance in Africa.
This interview was carried out in French and has been edited and tailored for publication.
Mario Maniewicz: In Africa, Radio broadcasting nonetheless reigns supreme over different types of mass media channels. Radio is a strong medium for celebrating humanity in all its variety and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. On the international degree, radio stays essentially the most extensively consumed medium. This distinctive capacity to achieve out the widest viewers means radio can form a society’s expertise of variety, stand as an enviornment for all voices to talk out, be represented and heard.
In addition to this, radio helps listeners really feel much less remoted and extra linked to their group. In occasions of emergency and catastrophe, radio broadcasting is without doubt one of the strongest and efficient methods of delivering early warnings. Well timed, related, and sensible info helps efficient response measures and saves lives. For individuals immediately affected, it comes as a significant type of humanitarian help. As we’ve seen through the COVID-19 pandemic, radio has stored individuals linked and entertained, ensured continuity in studying, helped struggle misinformation, and disseminated important well being info.
The ITU lately introduced the identification of latest FM frequencies for Africa. What’s the significance?
Mario Maniewicz: Through the years we’ve seen a gentle enhance in demand for high quality radio broadcasting in Africa. This enhance additionally means there’s strain on the obtainable radio frequencies and particularly for FM radio broadcasting. During the last two years, ITU in collaboration with the African Telecommunications Union and radiocommunication specialists have been engaged on a challenge to establish new frequencies that might facilitate the enlargement of FM radio broadcasting companies throughout the continent.
We’ve been capable of establish over 18,000 frequency assignments that may now be used for FM Broadcasting in Africa with out inflicting or receiving dangerous interference. The success of this challenge helps to safe the long-term sustainability of African radio broadcasting and paves the way in which for the introduction of digital sound broadcasting in Africa.
There have been a number of adjustments within the media panorama lately. The place does the ITU assume radio is headed?
Mario Maniewicz: This 12 months marks 127 years because the first radio transmission was made by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895 on the Isle of Wight, which led ultimately to the signing of the Worldwide Radiotelegraph Conference in 1906. All through this era, the Worldwide Telecommunication Union (ITU) has performed a central position in advancing the medium worldwide, establishing and updating worldwide laws on the usage of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite tv for pc orbits. These laws additionally prescribe how radio tools and methods should function to make sure dependable coexistence amongst radio companies of various administrations and to allow essentially the most environment friendly utilization of in the present day’s more and more crowded airwaves.
So, radio remains to be going sturdy and at ITU we are going to proceed to function the steward of world airwaves, making certain we will join safely, sustainably, and innovatively for hundreds of years to return. Accessible and inexpensive, radio can attain virtually everybody, in every single place. Its loyal listeners embody individuals in huge cities, these in small cities and villages, these in rural communities, and even these in essentially the most remoted locations on the planet.
A part of individuals’s belief in radio is because of its low price and ubiquitous nature. Radio stays inexpensive and will be listened to in every single place, even when electrical energy or web connectivity will not be dependable. Radio is thereby probably the most standard technique of communication, utilized by an awesome majority of individuals. For my part, radio leaves nobody behind.
Do you see conventional radio broadcasting by frequency turning into out of date and someway leaving individuals behind?
Mario Maniewicz: I believe there’ll all the time be a spot for over-the-air radio. Although increasingly persons are connecting with different digital platforms, or on-line, there are nonetheless people who find themselves both not linked, or they do not have electrical energy, or they’re in distant locations the place these applied sciences will not be simply accessible, or they lack the financial means to make use of this different platform.
So, I believe that broadcast radio is all the time going to be standard, beginning with the truth that it is fully free. It is the one considered one of all these platforms that’s fully free. For the others, you must pay for connectivity, you must pay for particular tools, however right here it isn’t. So, I believe there’ll all the time be a spot for it, perhaps not in developed nations, or in huge cities, however in growing nations, in rural areas, extra remoted, the place individuals do not have very excessive requirements of residing, it should all the time be essentially the most widespread means.
You talked about the belief that folks have in radio, which is the theme for this 12 months’s World Radio Day. You additionally stated that it’s a platform for democracy. Are you able to come again to this relationship of belief that folks have in direction of radio?
Mario Maniewicz: Completely. We’re in a world the place pretend information is unfold in every single place and causes injury to everybody, however the platforms par excellence for this type of factor are social networks. As a result of with social networks, there isn’t a particular person accountability. Individuals can submit what they need with out being accountable for what they submit.
However, with radio, there’s all the time an individual accountable for the radio programme that we’re listening to. So, if that you’re listening to a severe station, that the potential for bouncing round, of latest kinds and may be very low, or nil, or non-existent. In order that’s why I believe that broadcast radio is extra dependable for individuals than different on-line platforms.
I discussed democracy as a result of, usually, radio stations give house to everybody to specific themselves, to all political colors and to all actors of the group. So, it’s a common device to speak and to specific themselves to the remainder of the inhabitants…I believe the distinction is that radio is extra clear.
Thanks very a lot Mr. Maniewicz. Do you will have a closing message on World Radio Day?
Mario Maniewicz: Effectively, my message is exactly to benefit from this implies, of this medium, which is the common medium par excellence and to defend this implies, this medium. As a result of it’s all the time beneath assault by new applied sciences. Not as a result of they compete — that is not an issue — however as a result of the provision of radio waves for radio is being more and more contested by different companies.
So, I believe it will be important for governments and regulators in nations to defend the airwaves which are assigned to radio broadcasting, both analogue or digital. And it’s exactly by going to digital radio that we save spectrum and due to this fact we will unencumber extra spectrum with out killing radio.