Paris: Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay has given a special message for the Special Book for the 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat on Sunday. She said that in a century since the invention of radio, it has never been so true that the medium is the message.

"The Prime Minister's Mann Ki Baat program is certainly one of the most celebrated, with its hundreds of millions of listeners in more than 50 languages and dialects. However, this book is not just about this extraordinary broadcast, it is also a testament to the tremendous power of radio to bring people together," reads her message for the Special Book for the 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat.

She said that this book is an opportunity to pay tribute to a monument of the world's radio heritage and to call on everyone to celebrate radio and its values.

It is for all these reasons that UNESCO celebrates radio every year on World Radio Day on 13 February - but also through publications such as this one.

"With radio, it has never been so true that the medium is the message," her message read.

"Radio has been a part of each one of our lives since its invention a century ago. From traditional AM and FM frequencies to the far-reaching long wave, and now expanding into the ever-growing realm of digital radio, web radio, and podcasts, its accessibility continues to grow. It is truly a universal medium," she said through the message.

"Radio also carries a message of proximity, affinity and diversity. There may be no other medium with the same variety of content and programmes produced, the plurality of opinions and cultural expressions, even the number of languages available," the message read further.

And this is what makes Radio such a valuable ally in crisis situations, she said. UNESCO harnessed this potential in sub-Saharan Africa, forging a pedagogy through the airwaves for children isolated and deprived of school by the Covid pandemic. And we continue to use radio to educate, for example in Afghanistan where we work with local stations to broadcast content relating to health and security to millions of young Afghans.

The message from UNESCO DG further read that radio carries a message of freedom because it is a window to the world. A century after its invention, the radio is still one of the most reactive, engaging media there is, offering new ways to interact and participate in the conversations that matter, especially for the most disadvantaged. And UNESCO is dedicated to ensuring that it remains so, in defending the freedom of the press and the plurality of media.