Broadcasters from 41 countries are meeting in Rome on the occasion of the 17th Annual Radio Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), hosted by Vatican Radio, a founding Member of the EBU. This year’s agenda concentrates on the challenges faced by the EBU Radio community at a time when technological evolution accelerates, while funding slows down.
Speakers and discussions will explore strategies to get the most out of new technologies and weather the financial crisis weighing so heavily on Public Radio. A special session on the final day (tomorrow) will discuss how social media are turning the world upside down and how this is influencing journalists and newsrooms.
Among the speakers, delegates will listen to contributions from Doris Pack, President of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament; Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office; Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of the EBU; Ben Hammersley, British internet technologist; and experts from different EBU Member organizations.
EBU Radio Director Raina Konstantinova said: “We are honoured to be invited for our 17th Radio Assembly by Vatican Radio, one of the oldest and best audience-connected Radios in the world. Today more people are listening to the Radio than at any time in the past decade, tuning in on many more different and accessible platforms. People and societies need public media for quality content, its independence of opinion, its plurality of information. More than ever before we need to be knowledgeable and united to sustain and develop Radio further as the real voice of the people.”
The Assembly brings together around 140 leading figures from more than 50 broadcasters, at what is widely acknowledged as the public service Radio forum for discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the medium.
The EBU Radio Assembly delegates will also elect a new Radio Committee on Friday, April 29, the closing day.
After the Radio Assembly closes, on Saturday 30 April, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will receive the delegates at a special audience at his Castel Gandolfo residence, together with the EBU President, Jean-Paul Philippot, and the Director General. The last time this happened was in 1991, when Pope Jean-Paul II gave a special audience to the then EBU President and Director General, who had been attending that year’s 42nd EBU General Assembly, also hosted by Vatican Radio.