Uzbekistan Marks World Radio Day

11On February 13, radio broadcasters came together to discuss the role of the radio in societal development at Tashkent’s Bunyodkor TV Complex as part of World Radio Day 2015 celebrations in Uzbekistan.

Organized by the National Association of Electronic Mass Media of Uzbekistan (NAEMM), UNESCO Office in Tashkent and the UN Information Office, the event kicked off with opening remarks by Firdavs Abdukhalikov, Head of NAEMM, and Krista Pikkat, UNESCO Representative in Uzbekistan.

Speaking about the history of World Radio Day, Pikkat drew attention to the theme of this year’s World Radio Day: Youth and Radio. According to Pikkat, the world presently has a youth population of 1.8 billion and these young people are shaping the future, and it was therefore important to encourage the youth to contribute to this important medium. The first World Radio Day was officially celebrated in 2012.

Event participants spoke about the importance of the radio in Uzbekistan, where it has thrived in terms of content, genre diversity, format and technologies. Discussions also focused on whether radio broadcasting could retain its competitive edge amidst burgeoning Internet use and other resources that contribute to its growth. Some of the participants said that the radio will not lose its relevance and will always be thought after while others opined otherwise, saying that very soon it will be lagging behind other means of communication unless innovations are introduced to this medium.

The gathering also raised issues concerning differences between governmental and nongovernmental radio stations that, in a sense, compete with each other. Participants representing governmental radiobroadcasters expressed resentment at the incompetence and overall level of proficiency demonstrated by program hosts of nongovernmental radio stations that are very popular these days. The discussions led to a proposal that broadcasters put together training sessions and master classes for young presenters and program hosts and conduct opinion polls to develop a better picture of Uzbek radio stations’ audience.

Participants also said it was as important to ensure accuracy of information being broadcast and to maintain balance between news and entertainment content while working to live up to the trust of people, who largely rely on the radio for authentic information. These issues, they said, hinged on journalists’ level of professionalism, ethics and sense of responsibility.

As part of World Radio Day celebrations, Tashkent radio stations aired two programs with support from the UNESCO Office and UN Information Office. In a February 10 program aired by the Ekho Doliny (Echo of the Valley) station, radio broadcasting professionals of various age groups shared their views on the role of the radio in societal development. To highlight the theme of this year’s World Radio Day, the UN Information Office held a competition for aspiring journalists and gave the winners an opportunity to debut a program on a local radio station on February 13.

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