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Community Radio in the Twenty-First Century

Edited By Janey Gordon

In the twenty-first century, community radio is fulfilling an increasingly important role in the world’s mediascape. This book documents the ways in which community radio broadcasters and activists are using the medium in countries around the world to challenge political corruption, aid the transition to political democracy and broadcast voices that are otherwise unheard. The contributors to the volume are academics and practitioners from five continents, many with first-hand experience of community radio. Each chapter demonstrates the pivotal role that small radio stations can play in developing, sustaining and invigorating communities. The book charts campaigns for the legalisation of community radio and relates them to a theoretical context, while providing illustrations and examples from community radio stations around the world.


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Janey GordonIntroduction 1


Janey Gordon Introduction Community radio broadcasters are working to make the airwaves acces- sible and open, and to transform radio into a medium in the service of their communities. With radio activists from around the world as your guides, this book of fers a voyage to the heart of the alternative airwaves, and an understanding of why these activists have a passion for radio. — Girard 1992: 10–11 It is now twenty years since Bruce Girard closed his introduction to A Passion for Radio with the words above and I can think of no better way to start this book, since once more radio activists, each with a passion for community radio will be your guides through its chapters. All the authors of Community Radio in the Twenty-First Century are activists and prac- titioners as well as being academics with first-hand experience of involve- ment in this third tier of broadcasting, which is neither commercial nor state run. In the second decade of the twenty-first century concepts of what a ‘community’ is, have sometimes become somewhat muddied and clichéd. Governmental and non-governmental authorities have found ‘community’ a convenient tag to give respectability to their favourite projects. The term ‘community’ has a number of very dif ferent yet distinct meanings, depend- ing on who is using the word, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists or archaeologists for example all have a slightly dif fering view. Robert Putnam comes from a Public Policy discourse and his work concerning groups of people who come together...

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