Minister of Communications celebrates World Radio Day

Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi says the radio remains one of the most loved, cherished and ubiquitous symbols of communication and human progress.

"Radio has faced tough times and challenging competition, but it is still one of the most effective mediums around; one that reaches the homes and hearts of almost every person no matter where they are in the world," said the Minister.

For this reason, she said, radio is still one of the most important communications tools for disseminating information that people need to improve their lives.

She was speaking as broadcasters around the globe gear up to celebrate World Radio Day on 13 February 2016.

The day was proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate radio broadcast, improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters and encourage decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio, including community radio stations.

"South Africans are blessed to be able to choose between an array of radio stations that serve their interests. We also have a plethora of community radio stations which give people from all spheres of our country a platform to voice their concerns about issues that touch them personally and celebrate their achievements," she said.

There are more than 150 operational licensed community radio stations, about 23 commercial radio stations and 19 public radio stations in South Africa.

"As the Department of Communications, together with Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), we will continue to work hard to create an environment that encourages the entry and creativity of new entrants into the broadcasting environment," said Minister Muthambi.

In an effort to create sustainable community media, in 2015 the government gazetted the Community Broadcasting Support Scheme Policy for both radio and television.

The policy highlights the nature of support it provides, but also in how to sustain to sustain this support for the benefit of communities, particularly those who rely heavily on community broadcasting services for their information, education and entertainment needs.