(WASHINGTON — February 13, 2014) RFE/RL celebrates this year’s UNESCO’s World Radio Day and its focus on empowering women through the reach of radio.
For more than 60 years, RFE/RL has used radio to provide uncensored news and discussion in countries where free press has been banned or is not fully established, and the topic of gender equality has been featured widely in RFE/FL’s programming. Additionally, RFE/RL’s newly-launched Lady Liberty website showcases the issues confronted by women in the media profession, the work they do, and the political and cultural landscapes in which they do it.
In a recent Lady Liberty profile, Pakistani journalist Rabia Akram, the only female journalist for Radio Mashaal‘s Islamabad bureau, shared the challenges she has faced while traveling to Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a region of strict tradition where Pashtun women don’t usually take jobs. In another report, journalists from Afghanistan reiterated the obstacles for women’s equality, not just in work but in culture.
Sabina Cabaravdic, a senior broadcaster with RFE/RL’s Balkan Service who is unabashedly “in love with radio,” described delivering the service’s first broadcast in January 1994 during the war in Bosnia, recalling that listeners told her the radio reports were a “light in the darkness.”
“If you are a radio journalist from the very beginning as I was…you always have a picture in your mind of somebody to whom you are talking during the show, but at that moment I had no picture at all,” recalls Cabaravdic. “I just knew that…(t)hey were helpless, and I had to talk to them about what was going on in the world.”
“Even in the most remote corners of our broadcasting area, radio continues to be the lifeline that connects us to our audiences in a real and powerful way,” said RFE/RL President and CEO Kevin Klose. “World Radio Day celebrates this adaptive medium which not only holds its own in a world of converging media, but finds new ways to make an impact.”
World Radio Day was established by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2012 and is held on February 13 to honor the anniversary of the establishment of United Nations Radio in 1946. See more about World Radio Day at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/world-radio-day.