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  • Jamaica joins with other nations around the globe in observing World Radio Day, an initiative of the United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • The theme of World Radio Day 2015 is ‘Youth and Radio’. It recognizes the fact that youth make up more than half of the people on Planet Earth.
  • Radio in Jamaica has come a long way since its debut in 1939, and while today we boast a diverse and dynamic radio market, there is still a need to open up new opportunity windows for greater engagement of youth and meaningful programming which supports their development.

Jamaica joins with other nations around the globe in observing World Radio Day, an initiative of the United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The theme of World Radio Day 2015 is ‘Youth and Radio’. It recognizes the fact that youth make up more than half of the people on Planet Earth. This significant demographic is not always adequately reflected in the level of meaningful participation in this powerful medium. In many parts of the world, the youth are confronted by some of the same challenges facing marginalized groups, such as stereotyping and prejudice in the way they are portrayed in the media.

Here in Jamaica and despite the proliferation of media and the impressive reach of radio, a considerable proportion of media content continues to feature music and other aspects of entertainment geared to the youth, with less attention given to the many serious issues with which they grapple. The potential of radio as an agent of change and development remains for the most part, under-utilized.

The time has come to use this medium to its fullest advantage; as a developmental tool, an avenue through which youth can be more inspired and equipped, as well as a louder and more effective voice in the shaping of national policy. Communities and the nation as a whole could do well with more youth-focused programmes developed, produced, scripted and presented by young people.

Radio in Jamaica has come a long way since its debut in 1939, and while today we boast a diverse and dynamic radio market, there is still a need to open up new opportunity windows for greater engagement of youth and meaningful programming which supports their development.

On this World Radio Day, I also salute the pioneers of the industry, and those who work and contribute to radio fulfilling its role to inform, educate and entertain. However, as the UNESCO Director General has charged, let us “rally round radio” and support its efforts to be more and do more for the cause of development. Let us continue to find ingenious ways to make radio a true agent of social inclusion, a meaningful forum for the discussion of youth issues, and a facilitator for dialogue between youth and other sections of the community.

 

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