Sarah McNeill, UNLIMITED Productions (UK)
Far from being subsumed, as had often been predicted, into the new technology of digital broadband multimedia of the 1990s, children's & youth radio has emerged as an identifiable strand in the media of the developing world. There seems to be a rising awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and of radio's potential to deliver information on child rights related issues such as health (HIV & AIDS), safety (land mines) and education, as well as its power to action children's participatory rights.
International radio networks also provide programming that features voices of the young and responds to the needs of new audiences such as children affected by war and other disadvantaged groups. There are many examples of children's and youth participation in small, grassroots radio projects, all of which depend on the support of local and national radio broadcasters. Many represent fragile beginnings, but the long-term effects of allowing these voices to be heard should not be underestimated.
I truly believe that in a globalised media environment, radio is the technology to span the digital divide.