Our C4D Network Co-ordinator, Samuel Perez Ramirez, gives an overview of the World Radio Day celebrations held on 7 February at SOAS, London.
UNESCO’s annual World Radio Day was celebrated this year on February 7th at SOAS University, London. The theme this year was “Radio and sports” and the event focused on the under-representation of women, BAME communities, and LGBTIQ+ communities, and disability sport in the UK mainstream media.
The event was co-hosted by SOAS Radio, and ConnectSport, with support from the SOAS Centre of African Studies, Communication for Development (C4D) Network and Roundhouse.
The first part of the event was a ‘Radio Fair’ — where different organisations had their stalls and the public had the opportunity to come and have a chat and learn about the work of the organisations and their ideas about radio, sport, development or communication in general. Organisations that participated in the fair included Insightshare, K2Kradio, Live Sports FM, Street Child United/World Cup and FBB (Football Beyond Borders) Productions, as well as our C4D Network stall.
The second part of the event was a panel discussion with Michelle Moore, a former athlete and advocate of sports for social change; Emma Wright, a Senior Accounts Director (Sport) at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Inc; Leon Mann, interviewer, sports consultant, and film-maker, and Jason Bourne, presenter and journalist at talkSPORT radio, moderated by Simon Lansley, CEO at ConnectSport. The topic for discussion was has the media forgotten the social value of sport and is there is a lack of representation of certain groups and communities in the mainstream media.
All the speakers agreed that there is a lack of diversity, as well as stereotypes faced by some groups and communities when it comes to sport and mass media. Men’s football takes a good portion of the time on the TV, radio and newspaper while other sports and women, LGBTIQ+ community, BAME and disability sport have little media coverage.
Some of the speakers talked about sports governance and the responsibility the government has in changing the situation by giving more visibility to those underrepresented groups and communities, as well as influencing at leadership levels and the quota’s governance.
Another key point of the panel discussion was the main roll we (all) play as consumers. The speakers focused on how changing our way of consuming information from the media — with a new focus and ethics that represent all those who haven’t been fairly treated so far in sport — would bring a change of the media mainstream content and give a fairer representation across mass media.
The speakers also exchanged observations about what would be the best communication channel to reach those who are not aware of the situation of under-representation of women and other groups and communities in sport. Social Media seemed to be the preferred channel and because sport is a reflection of society, calling people out on social media could have a big impact on changing attitudes and behaviours.
To summarise, all the speakers agreed that we have a moral responsibility to change and that by rising our voices and creating a big social movement, sport will experience a considerable change and women, BAME, LGTBIQ+ communities and disability sport will have a bigger positive social impact, ending discrimination and creating a more inclusive sport culture.