16 February 2015

World Radio Day 2015 – Paris / France 

On February 13, UNESCO celebrated the World Radio Day 2015. RFI Planète Radio was there to take part in this important event. Our friend and colleague Eduardo Olivares, guest at the RFI programme “7 milliards de voisins” broadcast live from UNESCO, spoke about the community radios’ role during times of conflict. Raphael Krafft and Johnny Bissakonou, both journalists, and Yves Laplume (Hirondelle Foundation) were also guests at the radio programme.

What characterises community radios during times of conflict? 

Eduardo Olivares explained that the common characteristics of radio don’t always apply to community radios. Indeed, these community radios reflect ideally « the will and the needs of a small community, allowing them to express themselves, be connected, share links and in case of conflicts, to be kept informed of what’s going on, and radio becomes more a means to raise awareness then to just inform ».

Community radio in times of conflict plays an important social role. It makes easier to share information and to discuss when it is, in real life, difficult or even impossible.

Johnny Bissakonou highlighted the importance of radio as a media that can be trusted by communities and also be likely to reassure them. This trust is highly important because it is sometimes a condition for the existence and viability of the radio itself. As Eduardo Olivares mentioned, community radios often depend materially on its own listeners: « People will not support a radio they don’t trust and the building of this trust is an ongoing effort ».