Community Radio in South Asia: Reclaiming the Airwaves, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Community Radio in South Asia

Reclaiming the Airwaves, 1st Edition

Edited by Kanchan K. Malik, Vinod Pavarala

Routledge India

288 pages

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Hardback: 9781138558533
pub: 2020-06-30
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This book explores the state of community radio, a significant independent media movement that began about two decades ago, in different parts of South Asia.

The volume outlines the socioeconomic and historical contexts for understanding the evolution and functioning of community radio in an increasingly globalised media environment. It provides a ring-side view of how various countries in South Asia have formulated policies that enabled the emergence of this third sector of broadcasting (public and private being the other two) through radio, rendering the media ecology in the region more pluralistic and diverse. The academic essays in the volume, interspersed by practitioner perspectives, discuss a range of key issues related to community radio — radio policies; NGOization of community radio; spectrum management and democratization of technology; disasters/emergencies; gender issues; sustainability and conflicts.

One of the first of its kind, this volume will appeal to scholars and researchers of community media and independent media studies, cultural studies, as well as sociology and social anthropology, and South Asian studies.


“This volume, put together by two of the leading researchers of community radio in South Asia, is an authoritative and rich collection of articles from a mix of esteemed and emerging scholars. This is a timely and important follow up on Pavarala and Malik’s much-cited 2007 book, Other Voices: The Struggle for Community Radio in India.

Jo Tacchi, Loughborough University London, UK

“Kanchan K. Malik and Vinod Pavarala, two of South Asia’s leading experts on the subject, have pulled together an impressive collection that shines a light on the complexity and contradictions of community radio in the region. Like all good books, it raises as many questions as it answers. If policy processes are slow, as they often are, might we be better off without policy? Why are there fewer community radio stations in India, which has a policy for supporting and encouraging them, than in Nepal, which doesn’t? What differentiates participatory and populist media? But the questions asked, and the answers offered, are fascinating and full of insights that will help define the next steps for community radio, development communication, and participatory communication for years to come.”

Bruce Girard, Author of A Passion for Radio

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Community Radio in South Asia: A Roadmap for Media Democracy

Kanchan K. Malik and Vinod Pavarala


2. Deliberating Community Radio in India: A Policy Ethnography

Preeti Raghunath

3. Community Radio in Bangladesh: Policy and Practice

Mohammad Sahid Ullah

4. Community Radios of Nepal: Trajectory of a Cultural Movement

Sudhamshu Dahal

5. Community Radio in Sri Lanka: Need for Legal Recognition and Community Ownership

M. C. Rasmin and W.A.D.P. Wanigasundera


6. Beyond the Development Trap: NGOization of Community Radio in India

Vinod Pavarala

7. Radio Spectrum Management: Implications for Community Radio in South Asia

Ram Bhat

8. The Paradoxes of Technology: Reflections about Community Radio in South Asia

Hemant Babu

9. Women and Community Radio in South Asia: The Participation and Empowerment Dilemmas

Kanchan K. Malik

10. Community Radio in the Times of Disaster: Contemplations for South Asia

Ashish Sen

11. Not Quite There Yet: Sustainability of Community Radio in South Asia

N. Ramakrishnan and Venu Arora


12. Conflict and Community Radio in India: Solutions Possible and Impossible

Pradip Ninan Thomas

13. Evaluating Community Radio: An Analysis of a Toolkit for Self-Assessment

Vasuki Belavadi

14. Mapping Material Media Practices: The DDS Sangam Radio in India

Madhavi Manchi

15. Grassroots Democracy via Community Radio: A Case Study in Rural India

Bidu Bhusan Dash

16. Community Radio for Creating Communication Channels: Theoretical Musings Emanating from Himalayan Rural Locales

Priya Kapoor

About the Editors

Kanchan K. Malik is Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Hyderabad, India. She is also a faculty fellow with the UNESCO Chair on Community Media since 2011 and Editor of the newsletter – CR News.

Vinod Pavarala is Senior Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Hyderabad, India, where he has also held the UNESCO Chair on Community Media since 2011.

They have previously authored Other Voices: The Struggle for Community Radio in India (2007), and several joint articles and research reports on community radio in leading publications.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Radio / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Radio / History & Criticism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Communication Policy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Media & Internet
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies