Building on more than a century of history, radio remains one of the most trusted and widely used media. Throughout the years, radio has provided affordable access to information in real time and professional coverage about matters of public interest, as well as guaranteed distance learning and entertainment. Bridging the gap between traditional and state-of-the art technologies, radio now offers a variety of content through different devices and formats, such as podcasts and multimedia websites.
Recent world events and the COVID-19 pandemic have eroded trust in the media in general, fuelled by the circulation of false content rapidly spreading on social media. But while studies reveal a global decline in trust in the internet and social networks, they show a rise in overall trust in the news. And many citizens still have greater confidence in radio than in other media.
Digital access to information is far from being equal, with huge differences remaining between regions and between communities. In comparison, radio remains affordable and can be listened to everywhere, even when electricity or connectivity is not reliable. It is also diverse and inclusive. Community radio, for instance, reaches out to those under-represented in the mainstream and social media, who may feel better, understood and fairly portrayed and consequently trust their local station.
Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations and operations.