The Federal Government is committed to expanding community radio as a tool to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
This is contained in a message by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, on Tuesday in commemoration of World Radio Day.
The day is celebrated annually every February 13.
Mr Idris said the theme for this year’s celebration titled, ‘Radio: A century informing, entertaining and educating,’ reflects the remarkable achievement of radio as a means of communication and information for over 100 years despite the advent of social media.
Mr Idris stated that owing to the radio’s wide-reaching information dissemination, “the government has initiated necessary reforms in the process of establishing community radio stations.”
While Nigeria has 89 licensed community radio stations, the minister stressed that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration is ready to provide a more conducive environment for other radio stations to emerge, and at the same time, strengthen the already-established ones.
“As we celebrate with the rest of the world, I urge all radio stations, whether traditional or online, to be more responsible in their operations by adhering to the principles and the ethics of broadcasting” he said.
“Editorial functions, such as fact-checking, objectivity, and balance, must be ensured before news is released. We must uphold the credibility and trust associated with radio, which most Nigerians value highly. I congratulate radio listeners and urge them to use radio to learn, grow, and make their voices heard. I congratulate UNESCO for reminding us of the value radio adds to our lives,” Mr Idris said
He said that radio has been an essential medium of communication in Nigeria since 1933.
The minister added that its unique ability to reach a wider audience makes it an ideal tool for disseminating government plans and programmes to all levels of society, including the grassroots.
He maintained that radio has been playing a vital role in shaping public opinion and promoting cultural unity in our diverse nation.
“It has also provided the platform to people of all backgrounds to speak out, be represented, and be heard, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation” he added.
“In recent times, radio has also become a valuable means of conflict resolution and a source of hope for the oppressed. The government recognises the diversity of the Nigerian population and acknowledges the power of radio to reach people in their local languages,” Mr Idris said
He further explained that to make community radio more reliable, efficient, and affordable, the government has initiated necessary reforms in the process of establishing community radio stations.
Mr Idris added that the government intend to change this trend by providing a more favourable environment for other radio stations to emerge and for the existing ones to strengthen their capacity and thrive.
The minister urged sub-national governments, wealthy Nigerians, and other stakeholders to invest in establishing community radio stations.
He said, “Such an investment will undoubtedly strengthen democracy, promote social cohesion, and provide those living in rural areas with access to credible information, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
“We will collaborate with UNESCO to drive these reforms and develop the required capacity in the sector towards strengthening radio’s ability in disseminating credible and reliable information to the people.’’