February 13 was proclaimed in 2011 by UNESCO Member States and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as World Radio Day (WDD).
“Radio a powerful tool to celebrate humanity in all its diversity and is a platform for democratic discourse” according to the United Nations.
On the world stage, radio remains the most consumed medium. This reality is present everywhere, not only here in the Pontiac and more widely in Canada, but also in the vast majority of African countries. CHIP 101,9 spoke with a radio collaborator, Fernand Ackey, originally from Togo, who recalls the daily impact of this way of communicating on democracy.
“The radio has often been there in Africa to be the means of bypassing the official voices of certain totalitarian regimes” explains Fernand Ackey.
This impact that radio can have on democracy is also present in Canada. It is often through the airwaves that citizens can hear about what is happening in their municipality and local issues. Similar reality also in the Pontiac with the various municipal officials who are questioned daily.
Radio is defined as a means of local communication, making it possible to create links that are sometimes personal. Like CHIP 101.9, several African radio stations have a segment devoted to obituaries. “With us in Togo, there are often people who use local radios to warn that they will be back in the village to visit their families. It lets the whole community know. It may seem trivial, but obituaries are listened to by many people, ”says Fernand Ackey.
The floods of 2017 and 2019 in the Pontiac, the tornadoes in 2018 or the current pandemic, have enabled many to realize the importance of radio in emergency situations. This reality is also present in Togo, sometimes certain radio stations focus their programming on the daily life of farmers. This is the case, among others, of the organization Farm Radio International whose mission is to make radio a powerful engine for well in rural Africa, an engine that shares knowledge, amplifies voices and drives positive change.
People are often surprised to learn that radio is a powerful tool in international development. In rural Africa, where we work, people rely on the radio as their main source of information. That’s why for almost 40 years we’ve chosen it to help farmers help themselves. And now we are combining radio and information technologies - such as cell phones - to make our tool even more efficient.
-Farm Radio International
Full conversation with Fernand Ackey: