The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) in collaboration with the Malawi National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (MNCU), on 13th February, 2019 commemorated World Radio Day under the theme “Radio: Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace”. This was the 8th edition of its kind since 2011 when the day was first celebrated. MACRA in partnership with the MNCU led Malawians in celebrating 2019 World Radio Day in Mchinji District. The main activity was a panel discussion which was aired on Mudziwathu Community Radio Station and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)
Radio 1. The panel discussion focused on how radio can be used as a tool for the promotion of dialogue, peace, understanding and co-existence among the youth.
The Guest of Honour at the event was MACRA Director General, Mr Godfrey Itaye. In his opening remarks, the Guest of Honour said he was grateful to MNCU for partnering with them and to Mchinji
District Council and Mudziwathu Community Radio for hosting the function. He stated that the day was a moment to celebrate radio as a powerful medium of communication that rises above geographical, language, gender, cultural and political barriers. Other speakers were the representative of Mudziwathu Community Radio, Mr Japhet Mayeso Banda; the representative of Mchinji District Commissioner, Mr. Raphael Munthali, Director of Planning and Development; and the Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for Malawi National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. David Mulera who read out UNESCO Director General’s message about the day. MACRA Director of Broadcasting, Mr. Fegus Lipenga was the director of ceremony.
World Radio Day marks a time when people around the world celebrate radio and how it shapes their lives. Radio informs, transforms and unites people. It brings together people and communities from all backgrounds to foster positive dialogue for change. More specifically, radio is the perfect medium to counter the appeals for violence and the spread of conflict, especially in regions potentially more exposed to such realities.
On this day, the celebration focused on sub-themes namely “Promoting peace on air through dialogue and participation”; and “Surpassing differences by uniting under common overarching concerns”. Radio is a tool that broadcasts and provides a platform for dialogue and democratic debate over issues, such as political violence or violence against women and the vulnerable in our society; can help to raise awareness among listeners and inspire understanding for new perspectives in paving the way for positive action.
Radio programmes build tolerance and surpass differences that separate groups by uniting them under common goals and causes, like ensuring education for one’s children or addressing local health concerns.
The 2019 theme is relevant and very strategic to Malawians as they are preparing for the 21st May, 2019 tripartite elections. There is a view that politicians and political parties use the youth as agents of violence. The panel discussion suggested positive interventions on how the youth can be involved in politics to initiate development and reject being used as weapons of political violence. The discussions brought under scope the role of radio in sensitizing the youths on their role. The panelists on the discussion included Human Rights Activists; Lilongwe Press Club; and reporters from both the print and electronic media.