ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Community Radio

Understanding from an Ethnographer’s Lens

Community Radio Policies in South Asia: A Deliberative Policy Ecology Approach by Preeti Raghunath, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020;
pp xxiii+ 
`370 (hardcover).

Community radio in South Asia is understood from various perspe­ctives, but predominantly from the communication for social change perspective. Though the book is publi­shed as part of the Palgrave Studies in Communication for Social Change, Preeti Raghunath interestingly engages with community radio policymaking processes and practices while opting for an untro­dden research path within the community radio scholarship in the South Asian region. She draws on her extensive multi-sited and cross-country ethnographic fieldwork in four countries of South Asia—Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Unlike the existing scholarship related to community radios in the region, which primarily engages with the questions of impact, effect, development, empowerment, and participation, Raghunath specifically focuses on understan­ding the making of community radio policies and the existing practices across the South Asian region (Pavarala and Malik 2007; Jena 2021; Backhaus 2021). Globally, community radio has gained prominence as an effective alternative to the mainstream broadcast media that caters explicitly to communities that are otherwise sidelined and located in media-dark areas. Unlike more established community radio sectors in other developing worlds like Latin America and Africa, countries like Afghanistan, Bangla­desh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives have been making consolidated efforts to legitimise the community radio sector to strengthen community voices and to address and promote communication rights—media democracy, freedom of expression, and social change (Malik and Pavarala 2021). However, it is often argued that the community radio movement in South Asia has achieved an identity but tasted limited success (Dash 2015). Therefore, the sector is thriving in some South Asian countries while it is also at a nascent stage in a few others. Raghunath’s work is the first of its kind in the context of the community radio sector in South Asia because her work looks at its policymaking and practice from the standpoint of policy ethnography. Her work studies the community radio policymaking process in the South Asian countries—Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka—where community radio footprint is rich in the region.

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Updated On : 8th Mar, 2023
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