BY ASC Haruna Isa
Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints, and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organisations and operations.
WHAT THEN IS RADIO?
Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna, which radiates the waves, and received by a radio receiver connected to another antenna.
Radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audience and responding to their needs, radio services provide the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face.
On 14 January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day. During its 67th Session, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 13 FEBRUARY AS WORLD RADIO DAY.
The objectives of the Day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Correctional Service is statutorily expected to take into lawful custody all those duly certified to be so kept by courts of competent jurisdiction, Produce suspects and other offenders in courts as and when due, Identify the causes of their anti-social disposition, set in motion mechanisms for their training and reform, to return them to the society as law-abiding citizens at discharge and administer Correctional Farms and Industries for this purpose and in the process generate revenue for the government.
The purpose of corrections is to separate criminals from the society in which they would operate. Corrections operate as part of the criminal justice system, providing housing and programs for offenders who have been convicted of crimes that necessitate the loss of freedom for the offender.
As such, the Correctional radio station provides people in custody and correctional staff with the opportunity to discuss issues related to corrections, offence, rehabilitation as well as increase inmates’ contact with the outside world, is a key factor in improving mental health and reducing feelings of isolation.
National Prison Radio (NPR), now Correctional Radio was the world’s first national radio station for prisoners. It is run by the Prison Radio Association (PRA), a charity, in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). It broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week to inmates in over 100 establishments across England and Wales. Inmates receive the service as an audio channel via in-cell TV systems. It is available to over 80,000 inmates.
It aims to reduce re-offending by engaging inmates in education and discussion, helping people in custody to develop strategies for dealing with the issues that led them to custody. The station’s programmes are presented and produced by serving inmates working alongside the PRA’s staff of professional radio producers.
Likewise, Radio has impacted on correctional service by helping to reduce re-offending by providing information vital for progressing successfully through a correctional sentence. It promotes educational opportunities, discussion of issues related to crime and justice, as well as messages and requests from inmates’ families and friends.
Custodial Radio aims to help inmates face up to the effects their actions have had on themselves, their families, victims, and society as a whole, encouraging them to see the correctional centre as a place of positive change. It offers positive peer influence directly to inmates in their cells, in a way that no other intervention can.
Through Radio, the inmates get access to information on accommodation; education; training and employment; health; drugs and alcohol; finance, benefits and debt; children and families; attitudes, thinking and behaviour.
On this World Radio Day, let us recognise the enduring power of radio to promote reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of offenders to help build a more peaceful and inclusive world.
Haruna Isa, is a Radio Presenter and Correctional Officer with the Nigerian Correctional Service. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or 08168291341(SMS ONLY).