In its bid to strengthen the Nation’s democracy, the Federal Government has pledged its commitment to expand and support community radio.
This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.
The statement was issued in commemoration of World Radio Day.
The World Radio Day is celebrated annually every February 13 and the theme for this year’s celebration was: “Radio: A century informing, entertaining and educating.”
Idris acknowledged that this year’s celebration “reflects the remarkable achievement of radio as a means of communication and information for over 100 years, despite the advent of social media.
“Radio plays a vital role in shaping public opinion and promoting cultural unity in our diverse nation.
“It also provides a platform for people of all backgrounds to speak out, be represented, and be heard, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.”
The Minister stated that owing to the radio’s wide-reaching information dissemination, “the government has initiated necessary reforms in the process of establishing community radio stations”.
Idris disclosed that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration was ready to provide a more conducive environment for other radio stations to emerge and at the same time strengthen the already established ones.
It is pertinent to note that Nigeria has 89 licensed Community Radio Stations.
The statement by Idris read: “Today, I join the global radio audience to celebrate the 2024 World Radio Day as proclaimed and adopted as an International Day by member states of UNESCO.
“The theme for 2024 is ‘Radio: A Century of Informing, Entertaining and Educating.’ This theme reflects the remarkable achievement of radio as a means of communication and information for over 100 years, despite the advent of social media.
“It also highlights the promise of a dynamic future for radio as a platform that has stood the test of time.
“The radio has been an essential medium of communication in Nigeria since 1933. Its unique ability to reach a wide audience makes it an ideal tool for disseminating government plans and programs to all levels of society, including the grassroots.
“Radio has played a vital role in shaping public opinion and promoting cultural unity in our diverse nation.
“It provides a platform for people of all backgrounds to speak out, be represented, and be heard, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.
“In recent times, radio has also become a valuable means of conflict resolution and a source of hope for the oppressed.
“The government recognises the diversity of the Nigerian population and acknowledges the power of radio to reach people in their local languages. To make community radio more reliable, efficient, and affordable, the government has initiated necessary reforms in the process of establishing community radio stations.
“Currently, only 89 such stations have been granted broadcast licenses in Nigeria. However, the government intends to change this trend by providing a more favourable environment for other radio stations to emerge and for the existing ones to strengthen their capacity and thrive.”
The minister called for investments in community radio stations, stressing: “Such an investment will undoubtedly strengthen democracy, promote social cohesion, and provide those living in rural areas with access to credible information, in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.”
Idris said the Federal Government “will collaborate with UNESCO to drive these reforms and develop the required capacity in the sector to strengthen radio’s ability to disseminate credible and reliable information to the people.
“As Nigeria celebrates with the rest of the world, I urge all radio stations, whether traditional or online, to be more responsible in their operations by adhering to the principles and ethics of broadcasting.
“Editorial functions, such as fact-checking, objectivity, and balance, must be ensured before news is released. We must uphold the credibility and trust associated with radio, which most Nigerians value highly.”
“Finally, I congratulate radio listeners and urge them to use radio to learn, grow, and make their voices heard. I congratulate UNESCO for reminding us of the value radio adds to our lives. Happy World Radio Day!”
Relatedly, in celebration of World Radio Day, the American Spaces Nigeria and United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria via the Education Sector of the US Consulate General organised a training workshop for journalists across Nigeria.
The training, held on February 12, 2024, was tagged: “Training workshop for journalists on new tools and techniques for combating misinformation and disinformation.”