This was a statement issued by the African National Congress on 13 February 2023 to celebrate the World Radio Day
The 13th of February is a day when South Africa joins the world in celebrating radio broadcast, a date proclaimed in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, WRD.
The theme for the 12th edition of World Radio Day is, “Radio and Peace”. UNESCO highlights independent radio as a pillar for conflict prevention and peace building.
The ANC joins the world in marking the WRD as an occasion to draw attention to the unique value of radio, which remains the medium to reach the widest audience and is currently taking up new technological forms and devices.
In SA, 2023 marks 100 years of radio. This 100 years history of radio goes back to 1923 under SA Railways and the SABC’s Radio South Africa of 1936 and is rooted in the brutal apartheid political environment of the period and the liberation struggle for a free, equal and diverse South Africa wherein we mark the first broadcasting of Radio Freedom in 1963.
These 100 years also include commercial Capitol Radio in 1979 and the revolutionary introduction of community radio in 1993/4, with Bush Radio being the first and giving birth through its Radio Freedom training support to several community radio stations countrywide.
The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), now ICASA empowered by law transformed the regulation and licensing of broadcasting. The transformation of the broadcasting industry led to a three-tier system of public, community and commercial services.
The SABC was transformed from a State broadcaster to a Public broadcaster. Post 1994, thanks to the ANC Government’s new policies and law, supported by independent regulation of broadcasting, profound transformational changes in the radio industry, the broadcasting industry is diverse, underpin nation building and democracy, cover all cultural and heritage content, all indigenous languages and covers all areas of our country.
The new system reflects the journey this country has and it is still travelling both in its political and development paths towards an equal and prosperous society. South Africa has a very vibrant radio sector, according to BRC, the audience grew from 34.6 million in 2014 to 38.2 million in 2018 and it reported that 80% of South Africans listen to the radio.
South African radio industry post-1994 has changed for the better and deepens our democracy. We have a good story and reason to celebrate. Radio has informed, educated and entertained our citizens even during the apartheid days, Radio Freedom and community radio (through cassettes, campaigns, etc.) continued to empower citizens with alternative information.
Radio continues to play a significant role in helping people in all their diversity to communicate with each other in order to strengthen our democracy, promote a culture of human rights and enable all to participate fully in our economic growth and speed up transformation and development.
Radio is even more important in SA, where the rate of illiteracy is high. Radio reaches almost every corner of our country, rural, peri-urban and urban. Information is knowledge and power.
Every citizen irrespective of their social class, (where ever located, rural or urban, poor or rich) should have access to a choice of a diverse range of media.
Access to communication and information empowers citizens, facilitates participatory democracy, and assists in defending, advancing and deepening our democracy. We must also support and create an enabling environment for media development and diversity.
ANC celebrates WRD, and acknowledges radio as the most trusted and accessible media. ANC is looking forward to many 100 years of radio to come.
National Spokesperson: Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, 0768915420
Media Relations: Amos Phago, 0767506961