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THE USE OF INTERNATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTING BY REGIONAL
POWERS IN THE POST-COLD WAR ERA: A CASE STUDY OF RADIO
AUSTRALIA AND ALL INDIA RADIO
ANDREW M. CLARK
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
I thank my chair, David Ostroff, and committee members, Kurt Kent, Sid
Pactor, Churchill Roberts, and Ido Oren, for their encouragement, wisdom, and
advice. I thank Jody Hedge and all of the staff in the graduate division and the
Department of Telecommunications who have worked with me during my time at
the University of Florida. I am grateful for all of the friends I have made over the
last 6 years. I thank my family for their love, support, and encouragement. Most
of all, I thank my wife, Jennifer, for her love and patience while I completed this
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................. ...................... ii
ABSTRACT ................ .................... ...... v
1 INTRODUCTION ........................ ............. 1
Research Questions .................................. ........ 1
Shortwave Overview .......................................... 6
Technical Issues ................. .... ..... ............... ... 8
The Early Uses of International Broadcasting ....................... 11
Recent Trends in International Broadcasting ........................ 16
Threats to Shortwave ......................................... 18
Conceptual Framework ........................................ 22
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ............................. 43
General Systems Theory ....................................... 43
International Relations Theory: Constructivism ..................... 44
Regional and Middle Powers .................................... 49
Propaganda and International Broadcasting ........................ 53
International Broadcasting Worldwide ........................... 58
Shortwave, Asia, and the Pacific ............................ 63
3 M ET H O D S ................................................. 67
Qualitative Research ............................ .......... 67
Qualitative Research and Mass Communication Analysis ............. 69
Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research .................. 72
Sampling ............ ........... .... ........ ............ 73
M ethods .......... ......... ............................ 74
S sources ................... ................. .............. 79
4 AUSTRALIA AND RADIO AUSTRALIA ............................ 84
Australian Geography, History, and Demography .................... 85
Aid, Alliances, and Treaties ................................... 87
Radio Australia .......... ................... ............ 90
Description and Analysis ...................................... 102
English Service ................. .............. ........... 110
Radio Australia as a Program Provider ....................... 121
Medium Used to Broadcast and Means of Listening ................. 124
Audience ..................................... ............ 126
5 INDIA AND ALL INDIA RADIO ................................. 135
Indian Geography and History .................................. 136
Foreign Policy Priorities ....................................... 137
All India Radio ........................................... 141
Description and Analysis ...................................... 150
6 CONCLUSION ........................................... 174
Conclusions .................................... .......... 176
Limitations ................................................ 190
Discussion ............................................... 190
A RADIO AUSTRALIA LANGUAGE SERVICE PROGRAM GUIDE ....... 199
B RADIO AUSTRALIA ASIA-PACIFIC SHORTWAVE FREQUENCY GUIDE 204
C ALL INDIA RADIO EXTERNAL SERVICES DIVISION -
BROADCAST SCHEDULE .................................... 206
D E-MAIL SUMMARY OF PACIFIC BEAT PROGRAM ON RADIO
AUSTRALIA ........................................ .. 208
E RADIO AUSTRALIA EDUCATION SERVICE PROGRAM GUIDE ...... 211
REFERENCES ..................................... ......... 215
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................. 227
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE USE OF INTERNATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTING BY REGIONAL
POWERS IN THE POST-COLD WAR ERA: A CASE STUDY OF RADIO
AUSTRALIA AND ALL INDIA RADIO
Andrew M. Clark
Chair: David H. Ostroff
Major Department: Mass Communication
This dissertation uses systems theory to describe how and why two
regional powers, Australia and India, are using their international radio stations,
Radio Australia and All India Radio, in the post-Cold War era. In an era of
change in the world political system, many countries are rethinking their need for,
and use of, their international radio stations. Some governments have shut down
their stations, while others are focusing on other means of transmission apart
Both Australia and India continue to use their international stations but in
different ways. Radio Australia is a regional broadcaster focusing solely on the
Asia-Pacific region. The station is program producer and provider as well as a
broadcaster, and uses many different means of communication to provide a wide
array of programming to individuals and stations in the Asia-Pacific region.
All India Radio's focus is regional, but it also sends its signal worldwide via
shortwave and satellite. It is involved in an ongoing regional conflict with
Pakistan and the station is used to provide people in the region and further afield
with India's view of the conflict and of world events. The station is also used to
provide listeners with a glimpse into Indian culture through the broadcast of
music, talk, and news programming.
Governments, communities, and individuals have relied on international
radio broadcasting1 since shortwave frequencies were first used in the 1920s.
Governments have relied on shortwave radio to get out their messages, whether
propagandistic or informational. Individuals and even countries have relied on
shortwave for information and to provide a sense of community. However, times
have changed. The Cold War has ended and now, instead of a bi-polar world,
scholars talk about a uni-polar world where the United States is the lone super
power. The change in the world system has not removed the need for
international broadcast stations, but it has changed the way in which they are
used. Although global powers such as the United States and Britain have been
long-time users of international broadcasting, regional powers such as Australia
and India have also found international radio broadcasting to be a useful tool.
This research seeks to describe how two regional powers, Australia and
India, are utilizing their international radio stations in the post-Cold War era. The
two broad questions guiding the research are
1The author has elected to follow Browne in defining international radio
broadcasting as "the purposeful attempts on the part of stations in one country to
reach listeners in other countries" (1982, p. 3). As Browne notes, these
organizations are referred to as stations even though they include different
broadcast services and different languages. The different language services are
all under central control.
Q. 1. How are Australia and India using their international radio stations in the
post-Cold War era?
Q. 2 Why are Australia and India using their international radio stations in the
post-Cold War era?
To answer these two overarching questions the following questions must also be
1. How has the development of technology such as satellites and the Internet
influenced, or changed, the use of Radio Australia and All India Radio by
their respective governments?
2. How do regional and world political events influence the use of Radio
Australia and All India Radio by Australia and India?
3. In what way(s) is international radio broadcasting a useful means of
international communication for the Australian and Indian governments?
4. To what extent does the programming and target audience of Radio
Australia and All India Radio reflect their country's foreign policy?
5. To what extent are Radio Australia and All India Radio independent of
government influence in their operation?
6. What role does Radio Australia's and All India Radio's charter play in
governing how Australia and India use the stations?
7. To what extent is a nation's use of international radio broadcasting an
important tool in establishing the nation's identity to listeners in the region
and/or the world?
These questions will be answered throughout the dissertation and then reviewed
in Chapter 6.
The two services analyzed are Radio Australia and All India Radio.
Australia and India are regional powers, that is, countries that by virtue of their
place in the world system are unable to affect the political system on their own
but are looked to as a dominant state in their respective regions. A regional
power's dominance in its region is manifest through economic resources, military
capabilities, and geographic and natural resources (Wendt, 1999). The
combination of all or some of these factors enables certain states to claim the
label regional power. The label regional power gives the state an identity and a
role in the world system that helps to define the nation's interests. However,
there are many factors that must be taken in to account when trying to establish
that identity or role. A regional power's foreign policy is going to be determined
by internal forces and the need to look after its own interests. Its foreign policy is
going to be determined by the region it is in and its role as a leader in that region.
It will also be determined by systemic pressures and the ties it has with a
country, or countries, in the core2 and the need to maintain those relationships.
In terms of the research for this dissertation it is necessary to understand the role
that international radio broadcasting plays in a country's attempt to carve its
identity in its particular region, particularly as several countries appear to be
abandoning the use of international radio broadcasting as a tool of foreign policy.
Australia and India actively use radio broadcasting as a means of
enhancing their foreign policy. India is one of the few countries that remains
committed to its external radio service. This is not surprising when one considers
its ongoing conflict with Pakistan and China. Australia's use of international radio
broadcasting would not have been unusual during the Cold War, but since the
War ended the use of shortwave broadcasting by Australia and by other
2The term core refers to those countries that are the richest, and that
specialize in goods with the highest values (e.g., United States). In concentric
circles out from the core are countries in the semi-periphery and countries in the
periphery. Those in the periphery are raw material suppliers and are often the
poorest countries. Countries in the semi-periphery take the raw materials and sell
them to countries in the core. These countries are often regional financial hubs.
countries, has seemingly become less important. As the world system has
changed many governments are rethinking their use of international radio
broadcasting. Some governments have shut down their shortwave stations or
have dramatically reduced funding because they no longer see a value in the
medium. The shortwave frequencies and the stations that utilize those
frequencies are seen by some as a Cold War relic.
Australia and India are different in that radio is a tool the two governments
are using to promote an image of their country to people in the immediate region
or around the world. As will be seen in Chapter 4, the Australian government
used Radio Australia during World War II and later during the Cold War to
counter propaganda messages put forth by enemy countries and to articulate
Australia's view on world events. Similarly, the British initially used All India
Radio during World War II to promote the Allies' cause. Later, after
independence, the Indian government used the service to aid other countries
In the late 1990s Radio Australia's funding was cut, staff were let go, and
broadcasts in certain languages were eliminated. It seemed that the station was
in jeopardy, but several years later various events in the region led to the
Australian government reinstating funding. Radio Australia emerged from the
crisis period with a stronger identity as Australia's voice to the Asia/Pacific region.
All India Radio (AIR), on the other hand, has not suffered from the same
funding cutbacks. It has continued to articulate India's culture and position on
local, regional, and world events to interested listeners around the world.
Where the shortwave services of, for example, Australia, India, Britain,
and the United States stand apart is that currently they appear to have adequate
government funding, and they have a strong identity stemming from their
relationship with their government. However, as will be illustrated later in this
chapter, many other government funded shortwave radio stations are suffering
from a crisis of identity. Without a strong identity or sense of purpose, the
stations may become ineffective. The identity of a station provides a raison
d'etre that gives the station focus and the programming meaning. Because the
stations are funded by their governments, it is logical to assume that the identity
of the stations should come from the identity of the country or culture that funds
and operates them. These are services designed to target a foreign audience,
and the foreign policy of the country should be reflected in the programming
broadcast, the languages used by the service, and by the governing policy
documents of the service.
The charter is the governing document or mission statement for an
international radio station. It describes the goals for the station and the principles
by which the station operates. The charter is often signed into law by a president
or prime minister and is passed by the legislative body such as Congress or the
Parliament. The charter of, for example, Voice of America was signed into law
by President Ford in 1976. The director of VOA cannot change the charter. If a
sitting President does not agree with the focus of the service, it is not necessary
for him to alter the charter. There are other ways to less overtly influence the
station such as appointing a director with similar ideologies as the president and
his administration, or the adding or removal of language services that can be
done without changing the charter.
The station's charter represents the priorities and values of the state, not
necessarily those of the current government. If the charter does not reflect the
foreign policy of the government, that does not necessarily show that the
government has a lack of understanding of the value of an international
broadcast station. The charter may have been created during a time when
international broadcasting was a necessity to aid in the state's objectives
overseas. As times have changed, the charter may still mandate that the state
has an international radio service; but the foreign policy priorities of the
government may dictate such a service is no longer necessary. The government
may understand the effectiveness of international radio broadcasting during
certain times in history but lack an understanding of its relevance in an era of
political and technological change. An examination of this medium and the
relationship among international radio broadcasting, propaganda, and
government policy helps us understand the current state of international
broadcasting and the effectiveness of the medium.
The media have long been considered a useful tool in shaping public
opinion to support foreign policy. In 1780, Thomas Paine wanted to travel to
England and plant fake stories in the British press to sway the British public's
view of America. Paine wrote, "Now there is no other method to give this
information a national currency but this,-the channel of the press, which I have
ever considered the tongue of the world and which governs the sentiments of
mankind more than anything else that ever did or can exist" (as cited in Davison,
1963, p. 28). Benjamin Franklin persuaded Paine, among others, not to go ahead
with his plan because they did not believe it would be successful (Davison, 1963).
Years later in another part of the world, the issue of the media as tools for
propaganda and policy again came to the fore. According to Fenwick (1938) the
idea of hostile government propaganda first became an issue during the
establishment of the Soviet Government in Russia. The Russians became
convinced the success of their revolution hinged on similar revolutions being
carried out in all capitalist countries. This led to attempts by the Russians to
influence people in other states in the hopes that public opinion would be turned
toward the Russian ideology. It also led to efforts by capitalist states to defend
against the attempts.
Soon a new medium, radio, was being used to disseminate information
from one country to another. Radio was a more powerful and intrusive medium
than anything that had been used before. Governments believed radio
broadcasts could help shape or change the beliefs of citizens of other countries.
They believed that if they could change the attitude of the citizens, then they
could have an impact on government policy (Graves, 1941).
Before looking at the early uses of international radio broadcasting, it is
necessary to examine some technical issues to understand why this medium has
been, and continues to be, popular for the transmission of international radio
broadcasts. The section begins by looking at the role of sky waves for shortwave
broadcasts and uses the operation of Radio Netherlands to show how the
number of antennas and types of transmitters used by international radio
broadcasters differ from a regular AM or FM station. The section concludes by
looking at how shortwave frequencies are assigned by the International
Radio stations that target listeners within their own country are able to
reach their desired audience using either the AM or FM portion of the broadcast
spectrum. But, for the most part, frequencies in those portions of the spectrum
while providing better sound do not have the range that shortwave (SW) has. In
the United States and many other countries, FM radio stations use frequencies
between 88 and 108 MHz. However, transmitters using these frequencies have
a service area of up to 100 km and use direct waves or line of sight, meaning the
signal travels in a straight line between the radio station's tower and the receiver
(Radio Netherlands, 2003). AM radio signals travel further especially at night but
after about 1000 km the signal gets weak and noisy.
Therefore, it is necessary to broadcast using frequencies in the shortwave
portion, or high frequency portion of the spectrum. This portion of the spectrum
relies on sky waves to help the signal travel further. According to Head, Spann,
and McGregor (2001),
Most radio waves that radiate upward dissipate their energy in space.
However, waves in the medium-frequency band (AM) and the high-
frequency band (SW) when radiated upward tend to bend back at an
angle toward the Earth when they encounter the ionosphere. The
ionosphere consists of several atmospheric layers located from about 40
to 600 miles above the Earth's surface. Bombarded by high energy
radiation from the sun, these layers take on special electrical properties,
causing refraction (a gradual type of reflection or bending back) of AM and
short-wave signals. Refracted waves are called sky waves. (pp. 96-98)
Depending on the frequency used, power, and ionospheric conditions, sky waves
will bounce off the Earth's surface and the ionosphere many times and the signal
can reach thousands of miles. As sky waves follow the Earth's curvature they
can travel thousands of miles (Head et al., 2001). The other thing that sets
shortwave stations apart is the fact that shortwave stations are not limited to
using a single frequency as are AM or FM stations. Shortwave stations will
switch frequency "several times throughout the day to take continuous advantage
of the ionosphere's changing refractive abilities" (Head et al., 2001, p. 98).
Shortwave stations alert listeners to the change in frequencies by publishing
broadcast schedules with a list of frequencies to be used over a certain time
frame. Engineers at the shortwave stations estimate propagation conditions
weeks or months in advance and select those that will be most favorable for
allowing the station's broadcasts to reach the intended audience. It is not
uncommon for shortwave stations to broadcast propagation reports that alert
listeners to changes in the ionosphere and inform the audience of frequency
changes and the best times to listen to stations.
Transmitters and Antennas
In addition to the properties of shortwave frequencies, something else that
sets shortwave apart from AM or FM stations is the strength of the transmitters,
the number of transmitters, and the type of antennas. For example, in the United
States the maximum power allowed for an AM radio station is 50 kW and for an
FM station 100 kW. And, as mentioned earlier, each station has one frequency
and one transmitting tower.
Radio Netherlands, an international radio broadcaster using shortwave,
serves as a good example of how shortwave stations differ from AM or FM
stations. Radio Netherlands has three transmitter sites around the world
enabling the station to cover most of the globe. Its site in Flevoland has four 500
kW computer controlled transmitters with 19 antennas. Seventeen of the
antennas are very directional allowing broadcasts to be focused on Africa, Asia,
and the Middle East. The nondirectional antennas are used by Radio
Netherlands to target Europe. In addition the station has a relay transmitter site
in Bonaire in the Caribbean with 22 antennas (21 of which are directional) and
transmitters ranging in power from 50 kW to 300 kW. This site targets the
Americas, West Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The other relay site is in
Madagascar with 18 antennas directing broadcasts to Africa, Asia, and parts of
Australia. Signals to the relay sites are sent via satellite (Radio Netherlands,
It is also common for shortwave stations to lease time on transmitters
owned by other broadcasters. For example Radio Netherlands uses transmitters
in Russia to reach parts of Asia. It also exchanges airtime on transmitters with
stations such as Deutsche Welle (Germany) and Radio Canada International
(Radio Netherlands, 2003).
Because the signals from shortwave stations cross state boundaries an
international organization must be responsible for assigning frequencies to
shortwave broadcasters so there is no interference and so that shortwave
broadcasting is conducted in a somewhat orderly manner.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is a specialized agency
of the United Nations and is the body which, among other things, regulates which
frequencies are used, by whom, and what technical standards should be used by
the broadcasters. In particular, the Radiocommunication Sector is the branch of
the ITU that develops and adopts the Radio Regulations. The Radio Regulations
are a binding set of rules governing the use of the radio spectrum by about 40
different services worldwide. In much the same way that the FCC is responsible
for licensing stations in the United States in order to alleviate interference, the
ITU Radiocommunication Sector is responsible for overseeing negotiations and
developing binding treaties among sovereign states over the use of radio
frequencies by broadcasting and mobile services. The Radio Regulations
contain over 1000 pages of information detailing how the spectrum may be used
and shared around the globe (International Telecommunication Union [ITU],
Having looked at some of the technical aspects of shortwave
broadcasting, the next section describes some of the early uses of international
radio broadcasting, current trends in international radio broadcasting, and
changes taking place in the medium. It begins with the initial use of shortwave
broadcasting by Russia and the Netherlands and highlights the establishment of
some of the other major shortwave broadcasters
The Early Uses of International Broadcasting
The earliest organized use of radio as a tool for foreign policy (or political
communication) was in 1926, when Russia demanded the return of Bessarabia
from Romania (Rawnsley, 1996, p. 7). International radio broadcasting via
shortwave began in earnest in 1927, when the Phillips Company based in the
Netherlands began broadcasting regularly to Dutch expatriates living in the
Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). The initial goal was to increase the
sale of radios by supplying programming. In 1928, Phillips began another
station, PCJJ, with programming broadcast in English and Spanish (Radio
In 1929 the Soviet Union increased its use of international radio as a tool
for foreign policy. Initially, Radio Moscow started with four languages and by
1933 had expanded to 11 languages. The Soviets attempted to explain the
revolution to sympathizers in the West and to "propagandize its
accomplishments" (Rawnsley, 1996, p. 7). Other countries including Germany in
1929, France in 1931, Britain in 1932, and Japan in 1934 started foreign
languages services targeting audiences in different countries (Browne, 1982).
However, unlike the Soviet Union, which was urging revolution in its broadcasts,
the majority of the broadcasts from other countries attempted to maintain contact
with expatriates rather than overtly trying to persuade the foreign populace of a
particular ideological viewpoint.
The rise of Fascism was a catalyst for countries to begin using their
international stations to attack other nations' ideologies or to defend themselves
from such attacks. In 1935, Italy began broadcasting attacks in Arabic against
the British government's Middle East policy. Britain, in turn, responded by
launching its first foreign language service in Arabic in 1938 attempting to win
inhabitants of the region over to the British side (Rawnsley, 1996).
Not surprisingly, given the troubled state of the world at that time other
countries, particularly Nazi Germany, quickly began using international
broadcasting for propaganda purposes. The Nazi Minister for Propaganda and
Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels, proved adept at using broadcasting to
disperse propaganda to the masses. One particularly ingenious method was the
free distribution throughout Austria of 25,000 radio sets tuned to only German
frequencies. This scheme ensured the Germans had a near monopoly of
information3 (Rawnsley, 1996). Goebbel's efforts were not confined to countries
Germany occupied; they also were targeted at countries farther afield.
Soon after World War II began, Berlin was directing about 11 hours of
programming a day toward the United States. This effort consisted of broadcasts
from 6 to 9 a.m., and then from the late afternoon until 1 a.m. One third of the
programming was talk, with the rest devoted to musical and variety programs.
The Germans used Americans, or people educated in the States, to host the
programs (Graves, 1940). The goal was to broadcast German news and
programs, using people familiar with American culture, in a way that would
appeal to the American population (von Strempel, 1946).
According to Herbert von Strempel4 (1946), then First Secretary of the
German Embassy in Washington in charge of cultural relations, radio
propaganda was very important to the Nazis, particularly to Goebbels. Von
3Rawlings notes that the technique of distributing free pretuned radios was
then used by the Allies during the war and subsequently throughout the 20'h
century, most notably during the Vietnam War.
4The article in Public Opinion Quarterly is an excerpt from his interrogation by
Capt. Sam Harris of the staff of the War Crimes Commission.
Strempel noted that a member of the German Embassy in the United States,
referred to only as von Gienanth, would report political and technical information
back to the German Foreign Office which then passed the information on to the
Propaganda Ministry. He also would report themes that might prove effective in
broadcasts to the United States. Not all the information was accurate, however,
as von Gienanth told the German Foreign Office that 5 million people were
listening to the German broadcasts, an estimate that von Strempel said was
"grossly exaggerated" (p. 228). He estimated the audience at no more than
500,000 people. For technical reasons, the broadcasts from Germany did not
reach the west coast of the United States, so a shortwave branch was
established in Shanghai to reach that part of the United States.
The Nazis did not always establish their own stations to broadcast
propaganda; sometimes they took advantage of facilities in occupied countries.
In May 1940, the invading Nazi army took over the Dutch shortwave station PCJJ
and used the station for propaganda broadcasts to Asia. The BBC gave the
Dutch government-in-exile in London air-time to broadcast back to The
Netherlands (Radio Netherlands, 2000). World War II was being fought over the
radio waves as well as on the battlefields.
In September, 1940, the BBC broadcast almost 70 news bulletins and
programs in 24 languages to countries outside the United Kingdom. The British
did not direct their political broadcasts only at enemy countries but also at
potential allies. The British wanted the United States to join them in the war
effort, and so the BBC was used to try to sway American public opinion with the
hope that, in turn, the public would have an effect on American foreign policy.
Part of the problem the BBC faced was that the American public seemed leery of
propaganda. There needed to be a balance between keeping opinion moving in
the British favor without appearing too forceful (Graves, 1941). However, some
people felt that being forceful was necessary. Graves quoted the actor Leslie
The united British Commonwealth and the United States have surely got
beyond the point of... niceties. We have arrived at the stage at which
we must tell each other openly what is in our hearts and minds .... I say
to hell with whether what I say sounds like propaganda or not. I have
never stopped to figure it out, and I don't think it matters any more. (p. 51)
The United States recognized the potential for propaganda broadcasts
aimed overseas but started broadcasting later than some other countries. By the
middle of 1942 Germany controlled 68 shortwave transmitters while Japan
controlled 46. By contrast the United States international broadcasting program
was in its infancy. It had one government owned transmitter in operation before
1942, four in 1943, another 11 in 1944, and a further three in 1945 (Fitzpatrick,
1946). Robert E. Sherwood, in charge of the Foreign Information Service of the
Office of Coordinator of Information, reflected on the early years of United States
Although this nation was then building up its defenses, training an
enormous army, there were no preparations being made for psychological
warfare. Although the United States has led the world in radio
broadcasting, we had done little to develop international broadcasting from
this continent. (as cited in Fitzpatrick, 1946, p. 583)
In 1945, Secretary of State James Byrnes wrote to President Truman that
the use of shortwave "will be a new departure for the United States, the last of
the great nations of the earth to engage in informing other peoples about its
policies and institutions" (as cited in Fitzpatrick, 1946, p. 587). Despite its slow
start, the American stations had clear objectives. Then Assistant Secretary of
State William Benton said America's shortwave endeavors did six things:
First, they give the world news in brief; second, they give American
editorial and radio comments on the news; third, they include statements
on American official policy from the President, members of the Cabinet,
Congressional leaders, and prominent people in all walks of life; fourth,
they present news on American internal affairs; fifth they supply news from
the Far East and from the American occupation zone in Germany; and
finally they present features on the American way of life and American
science, education, the arts, and agriculture. (as cited in Fitzpatrick, 1946,
During the Cold War these services and others continued to grow. Two of
the most significant international stations during the Cold War battles were Radio
Free Europe and Radio Liberty.5 The two stations were developed to help fight
Communism in Eastern Europe. Radio Free Europe was established in 1949 to
provide news and informational programs to countries in Eastern Europe. Radio
Liberty was created in 1951 to focus on the Soviet Union. Both stations were
initially funded by the U.S. Congress via the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1971
the CIA involvement in the stations ended, and the two stations merged in 1975.
The stations met defiance from the Soviet Union, which jammed their signals.
The Soviets also increased the power of its own stations to try to counter what
RFE/RL were doing. Other stations came and went during the Cold War, but
these two stations remained as symbols of the United State's opposition to
Recent Trends in International Broadcasting
Over 75 years after Russia first used the shortwave band to broadcast
political communication, the medium is undergoing some major changes. Many
sMore information on RFE/RL can be found at www.rferl.org
of the original broadcast services still exist and have grown stronger. The BBC
World Service now has about 153 million listeners, the most of any international
broadcast service. Radio Moscow has become the Voice of Russia, and the
American services now include Voice of America, broadcasting in 53 languages,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Marti, and Radio Free Asia. Each one
has its own unique purpose and identity, but each is tied by ownership to the
political ideology and philosophy of its government.
Shortwave as a medium for radio broadcasting is still useful and indeed
vital to many people throughout the world. The military coup on the Pacific island
of Fiji in the year 2000 was the third such event within the past 14 years. During
the first military take-over, the local press was censored and people in the
outlying islands of Fiji had little access to information about what was happening.
Shortwave became the one reliable source of information. Fijians were able to
listen to Radio New Zealand International, Radio Australia, and the BBC World
Service to hear news about what was happening in their own country. Fijians
were provided with a sense of assurance that they were not forgotten, but rather
that the world was taking an active interest in what was happening in their
country (Ogden & Hailey, 1988).
Radio New Zealand International broadcasts cyclone warnings and other
weather related programming to people in the South Pacific who have no other
way of getting such information (Clark, 2000). The New Zealand government
used the station to broadcast information to New Zealand troops in Indonesia
during the East Timor conflict (Radio New Zealand International, 2002).
Clockwork radios with AM, FM, and shortwave bands have been
distributed by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other relief agencies in
war-torn areas around the world. In 1999, 50,000 such radios were distributed to
refugee families in Kosovo so they could keep in touch with developments in the
war. The clockwork radios have a wind-up handle which, when wound, powers
the radio. It provides about an hour of listening before it needs to be wound
again. This service has proved valuable as the local media often have been
censored by those who have taken control of the country. These are just a few
examples of how shortwave radio is useful to people in different communities
around the world (Clockwork Radio, 2003, p. 2).
Threats to Shortwave
Many international broadcasters have the Internet to complement
shortwave broadcasts. Now stations are able to broadcast in real time or to
archive files with broadcasts of popular programs or newscasts. No longer is
there a need to listen in real time or to search for a station and barely pick it up
because of atmospheric interference; listeners can listen whenever they want to
a broadcast that is now crystal clear. In addition, stations are able to provide
web pages with information about the station, biographies and pictures of the
staff, and transcripts or information on individual programs. Stations can also
send out regular e-mails to subscribers with programming guides, programming
details, frequency information, and more. All of this was impossible just a few
years ago but is now making the Internet more attractive to some station
managers and government officials than shortwave broadcasting. However,
some governments are not just using the Internet to compliment their shortwave
services; they are actually using the Internet instead of shortwave.
Swiss Radio International (SRI) announced in March 2001 it would cease
all shortwave broadcasting. Nicolas Lombard, SRI's Director, and Christine
Dudle-Crevoisier, SRI's Head of Communication and Marketing, said SRI would
discontinue its shortwave broadcasting over a period of time with no such
broadcasting after 2004. SRI's decision revolved around the availability of, and
easy access to, other media. The majority of Swiss expatriates reside in other
European countries where a wide variety of media contain much information
about Switzerland. In addition, the development of on-line services with graphics
and text as well as audio files made an Internet-based service more appealing to
SRI. Finally, the increased competition generated by new sources of information
signals a bleak future for "expensive shortwave services" (Swiss Radio
International [SRI], personal correspondence, March 2001) according to SRI. It
may be understandable that smaller countries like Switzerland or Austria would
switch to the Internet or consider shutting broadcasts down altogether, but this
revolution of technology has also hit the larger stations.
In July 2001, the BBC World Service, long considered the epitome of
international radio broadcasting, cut its shortwave broadcasting services to North
America and the Pacific. The rationale was twofold: first the move would save
the service over five hundred thousand pounds,6 and second the availability of
other means of transmission meant that broadcasting by shortwave was not
6The budget for the BBC World Service is approximately 180 million pounds
or about US$280 million.
effective. The decision did not go down well with loyal listeners in the regions
affected by the decision. Ralph Brandi began a lobbying effort and set up a web
site called Save the BBC (2002) with information about why the decision was a
mistake and who to contact to protest the move. He was interviewed on the BBC
program "Newshour" and gave one reason why he thought the decision to stop
transmitting did not make sense:
With a shortwave transmitter, you turn on the transmitter and it doesn't
matter how many people are listening, you don't have to, like, add any
more transmitters. But when you're listening on the Internet, every listener
requires a new connection, and the more listeners you get, the more
servers you need; the more bandwidth you need. So every listener costs
the BBC a little more money. (Save the BBC, 2002b, p. 1)
BBC World Service Director Mark Byford was also interviewed on the
program and said
It's about recognizing changes in listening patterns in different areas of the
world. In the United States, one of if not the most mature broadcasting
marketplaces in the world, more people are listening to us today through
those FM rebroadcasting partnerships than on shortwave. And on the
Internet, 168 million today are connected in the US to the net, and you can
listen to the World Service on that net site in higher quality sound than
even shortwave. (Newshour, 2001, p. 3)
Byford reiterated that the decision to cut transmissions to some parts of
the world was all about "recognizing that we have different delivery methods for
different markets and different audience groups (Newshour, 2001, p. 3). He said
that in today's age it is not possible for the BBC to be solely a shortwave
broadcaster, or to switch completely to the Internet. Either way would mean the
audience would decline. In his view, using the Internet to target some areas and
shortwave to target others is the best of both worlds.
The final change that is happening in shortwave broadcasting is also
technological. An organization called Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is seeking to
digitize broadcast frequencies below 30 MHz, which would affect the long,
medium (or AM), and shortwave portions of the broadcast spectrum. As of April
2001, DRM had 67 members consisting of broadcast stations and organizations
around the world. Testing is currently on-going, and in April 2001 the
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ratified DRM's system. The
system would provide a digital system with a quality similar to FM.7 DRM hopes
to have its service in place by 2003. According to DRM (DRM FAQ, 01), many
existing transmitters can be modified to carry DRM signals, but it may not be cost
effective to modify older transmitters. Of course the introduction of digital
transmissions means that the listener will also have to have a new receiver to get
the signal. It is hoped that the cost for the new receivers will range between
"about $25 more than the current low end receivers and $50 more than current
high end" (Digital Radio Mondiale, 2003, p. 1). As with all new technology,
however, the initial cost of a receiver will probably be somewhat higher and
decrease in cost over the years.
Such a change may well revolutionize broadcasting in general, but the
question is whether listeners will be willing to pay for a new receiver. Obviously,
those in more developed countries may have the disposable income to afford a
new radio, but those in lesser developed countries will have a harder time.
Shortwave has been the medium of choice for international radio broadcasting
'DRM says that with the system there is almost no background noise and an
audio bandwidth of 15kHz.
because of its use of sky waves and the ability of the signals to travel vast
distances. It seems that countries such as Switzerland, without ties to countries
overseas as a result of colonialization, have decided they can more effectively
reach expatriates and others interested in its country via the Intemet. Even
countries like Britain and the Netherlands with colonial ties are now using the
Internet and satellite to reach listeners in developed countries while
concentrating its shortwave efforts on people in lesser developed nations. This
does not mean the end of shortwave broadcasting, but it does mean countries
are trying to use the most effective technology available to reach their desired
audience. For people in some countries shortwave is the most effective
technology, for others the Internet and Satellite give one country the best chance
of reaching the target audience in another country.
Having looked at the foundation of international broadcasting, at some of
the major stations that paved the way for what has followed over the years, and
at changes that are influencing international broadcasting, this next section
examines the framework for conducting the research for this dissertation.
The goal of this research is to understand how and why nations labeled
regional powers are using international radio stations in the post-Cold War era.
One focus will be the factors contributing to that use. Regional powers are being
studied primarily because, as can be seen in the literature review in Chapter 2,
some of the "big" stations like Voice of America and the BBC World Service have
been subject to much analysis over the years. Little attention, however, has
been paid to stations operated by countries identified as regional powers.
Chapter 2 examines in detail the notion of the identity of countries and in
particular literature on the International Relations theory of constructivism. This
theory is used to help provide an understanding of the multiple identities that a
country has in the world system. This next section exams General Systems
Theory and the use of the theory as a framework for the analysis of Radio
Australia and All India Radio.
General Systems Theory
The framework used in this dissertation is based on a systems theory
approach first proposed by Hungarian biologist Ludwig Von Bertalanffy in the
1940s. His idea was that a system should not be known by its individual parts,
but rather by the dynamic interaction among those parts. According to Longres
(1995), the system is influenced by the environment of which it is a part. That
environment is not static but is very much in a state of flux and ever-changing.
Infante, Rancer, & Womack (1997) define a system as "a set of
interdependent units working together to adapt to a changing environment"
(p. 93). They mention that a systems approach is particularly suited for
investigations of organizations. They say that the approach has a positive side
because it is flexible and it covers all aspects of interactions and relationships
within a system. Also, there is no attempt to make universal generalizations;
rather the generalizations that may come from a systems perspective are
situation specific, or culture specific.
Critics of the approach note that there is not much explanatory power in
the systems perspective and that systems theory does not shed light on why
things happen. However, Monge (1973) "notes that scientists developed theories
which predicted the motion of planets before they had one that explained it" (as
cited in Infante et al., 1997, p. 97). The research for this dissertation does use
systems theory to answer the "why" question. The question "why does Radio
Australia offer the programming it does?" can be answered when one
understands the relationship between Radio Australia, the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian government, and the audience. The
question "why does Radio Australia use the languages it does?" can be
answered by understanding the foreign policy priorities of the Australian
government and again the relationship between Radio Australia and the
government. The question "why do people listen to Radio Australia?" can be
answered partly by hearing from listeners. There is no attempt to generalize
these findings universally because the listeners who contacted the author do not
comprise a representative sample of all of Radio Australia's listeners. The
answer to why listeners listen to Radio Australia can only be generalized to those
the author communicated with. In terms of the research for this dissertation,
systems theory is a useful framework in that it illustrates that the radio stations
studied do not operate in isolation or some type of vacuum. Instead, they are a
part of a system where they are both influenced, and influence other parts of the
system and the environment.
Systems Metaphor and Systems Components8
Miller (1995) says that "at its most basic level, a system is an assemblage
of parts, or components" (p. 87). She says a system can be thought of as
8The title is borrowed from Miller (1995).
anything from a biological system where the parts are cells and organs, to an
organization where the parts are people and departments, to a large society
where the components are organizations and institutions. Hall and Fagen (as
cited in Reuben & Kim, 1975) define a system as "a set of objects together with
relationships between the objects and between their attributes" (p. 52). Hall and
Fagen elaborate by defining objects as the parts or components of a system,
attributes as the properties of the objects, and relationships as "those that tie the
system together" (as cited in Reuben & Kim, 1975, p. 53). The most important
step in describing and analyzing any system is to identify the components of the
system. After identifying the components, the researcher can then look at how
they are arranged and how they work as part of the system. Miller (1995) notes,
"Three concepts characterize system components: hierarchical ordering,
interdependence, and permeability" (p. 87).
Hierarchical ordering. Miller (1995) uses the analogy of a hospital as an
example of hierarchical ordering. The hospital as an organizational system
comprises a number of departmental subsystems such as surgical units,
laboratories, and offices. The subsystems comprise of smaller systems and
individuals. However, it is also possible to move the systemic analysis in a
different direction and look at the hospital as part of a larger "supersystem" called
the health care industry including hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and
pharmaceutical companies. Similarly, Radio Australia and All India Radio are
made up of subsystems or departments such as news, programming, audience
research, and technical. But, the stations also are part of a larger system which
includes the radio stations, the government that owns and funds the stations, the
organizations like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and All India Radio
that provide programming, and the audience which, as will be illustrated later, is
important among other things for providing feedback.
Interdependence. Kuhn (as cited in Rebeun & Kim, 1975) says in "Action
Systems" there is "mutual cause-effect relations between at least two elements,
A and B. A change in each element, by movement of matter-energy or
information, induces a change in the otherss" (p. 124). In the system in which,
for example, Radio Australia exists, there is a relationship between Radio
Australia and the government which operates and funds it, between Radio
Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and between Radio
Australia and the audience. A change in spending priorities by the government
could lead to a reduction in revenue for Radio Australia. The reduction in
revenue changes the amount and type of programming Radio Australia produces
and broadcasts. This was highlighted by funding cuts in the late 1990s (see
Chapter 4). Clark (2000) in research on Radio New Zealand International
provides another example of how cuts in funding by a government affected a
radio station, and the audience. A change in government may lead to a change
in foreign policy priorities. That change in foreign policy priorities could lead to a
complete change in the focus of the radio station.
Miller (1995) says that "no component within the [system] can function
effectively without active assistance from other system parts" (p. 88). While it
could be argued that the Australian government functions well without Radio
Australia, in terms of foreign policy and its efforts to establish and maintain
relations with the Asia/ Pacific region, Radio Australia is proving to be an
important part in the equation, and the government does not function as well in
its foreign policy endeavors without the station.
Permeability. The third part of the system as described by Miller (1995)
is that there are "permeable boundaries that allow information and materials to
flow in and out" (p. 88). Some systems are closed, which leads to entropy (Kuhn
as cited in Reuben & Kim, 1975, p. 117). Miller (1995) says "permeability refers
to both the system as a whole-which must be open to its environment-and to
the components within the system" (p. 88). Hall and Fagen (as cited in Reuben
& Kim, 1975) note that
In a sense, a system together with its environment makes up a universe of
all things of interest in a given context. Subdivision of this universe into
two sets, system and environment, can be done in many ways which are
in fact quite arbitrary. Ultimately it depends on the intentions of the one
who is studying the particular universe as to which of the possible
configurations of objects is to be taken as the system. (p. 56)
Kuhn (as cited in Reuben, 1975) makes the point that "a system does not
respond to its total environment, but only those aspects which impinge upon it"
(p. 121). He notes that "it is only to the extent that system has itself been
modified by its environment that it can respond to it, and in the strict sense the
system responds only to these modifications, not to the environment as such"
In the case of Radio Australia and All India Radio, the environment in
which their system functions is comprised of a number of variables including,
technological developments, changes in the regional political system, and
change in the world system. Both technological and political developments
greatly influence the system. For example on a global scale, the end of the Cold
War and the subsequent changes in the world led to many countries reevaluating
the need for international radio stations. Regional conflict with Pakistan or in
Indonesia has heightened the need for international radio broadcasts from India
and Australia. And changes in the technological environment has opened up
new, and in some cases, more effective means of communication with the
Both positive and negative feedback is crucial to the functioning of any
system (Miller, 1995; Kim as cited in Reuben & Kim, 1975). Miller also identifies
negative feedback as "corrective feedback," and notes that "it serves to keep
organizational functioning on a steady course" (p. 89). Miller refers to positive
feedback as "growth" (p. 89), which leads to some type of positive change in the
system. For example even international stations have target audiences and
broadcast programming designed to reach that audience. One way the station
finds out if the programming is reaching its desired target audience is through
feedback in the form of letters from listeners, feedback in terms qualitative and
quantitative audience research, and phone calls to call in programs on the
station. This feedback either validates that the stations programming is indeed
reaching the desired target, or enables the station to adjust its programming
strategy in order to reach the intended audience. The latter is an example of
Having looked at components and relationships, the final part of the
system to consider is the properties of a system. Miller (1995) says there are
four properties that characterize a system: holism, equifinality, negative entropy,
and requisite variety.
Holism. Holism suggests the interdependence of the components the
system is bigger than the sum of its parts. It is possible to look at a part of the
system, for example the relationship between Radio Australia and the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation or Radio Australia and the audience, but that would
only be a part of the picture. Looking at the whole system and the relationship of
the radio station with all the parts provides a more complete description of what
is going on.
Equifinality. According to Rappaport (as cited in Reuben & Kim, 1975),
equifinality is a characteristic or property of open systems. Katz and Kahn (1978)
define equifinality as "a system can reach the same final state from differing initial
conditions and by a variety of paths" (p. 30). For example, the goal of All India
Radio's system might be for people in surrounding countries to learn about Indian
culture and thereby form a favorable opinion of India. It might be that AIR uses
shortwave to broadcast to its audience. However, it also could use satellite or
the Internet to also get its message out. Or, AIR could produce its own spoken
word programs to inform people of its culture, or it could use music programming
produced by the terrestrial service of AIR. Either way, the audience is being
exposed to AIR's broadcasts (final state) by a variety of paths (both in terms of
delivery and in terms of different programming content).
Negative entropy. As noted earlier, entropy is a characteristic of a closed
system and happens when the system receives no input from its environment.
Negative entropy, on the other hand, is characterized by the flow of information
between the environment and the system leading to growth in the system (Miller,
1995). If a radio station insists on broadcasting in shortwave but has no
information that the majority of its target audience no longer uses shortwave but
listens to FM or uses the Internet, then eventually it will cease to be effective and
the government will no longer fund it and the system will die. However, if it
adapts to the information and begins to broadcast via the Internet, and via FM
translators in its target country, then it will continue to be successful and, it is
hoped, grow stronger.
Requisite variety. Morgan (1986) states that "only by incorporating
required variety into internal controls can a system deal with the variety and
challenges posed by its environment" (p. 91). Miller (1995) says, "the internal
workings of the system must be as diverse and complicated as the environment
in which it is embedded" (p. 91). If the Australian government wanted Radio
Australia to broadcast by shortwave to a few countries in the Pacific in one
language, the internal workings of the station would be very simple. The job
could be undertaken by very few staff, with a small budget, and the station could
probably produce the programming required itself. However, when the task is to
broadcast to the Asia/Pacific region in six languages via the Internet, satellite,
terrestrial repeaters, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, then the station
requires a much more complex internal structure, and also needs to use
programming provided by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation because
Radio Australia does not have the staff or facilities to provide that much
The framework illustrated in Figure 1-1 shows the radio station as part of a
system within an environment of technological and political change. The model
illustrates how the station functions in the system, but is also a product of
everything from the country that operates it to the environment in which it exists.
Environment I Intermediary
Figure 1-1. International Radio Broadcasting Systems Model
An important perspective in analyzing the system that the stations function
in was proposed by Wells (1974), who listed "key dimensions" in understanding
any media system. These are finance, control, target audience, programming,
and feedback. These dimensions can be used to analyze any media system
whether on a local level in a small town in any country, or a national or
international level. Although international broadcasting of the type mentioned in
this research was not the focus of Wells' work, the categories are useful and are
incorporated in varying degrees into the framework proposed below.
According to Wells (1974), control is the most important factor in
describing and analyzing media systems; control in the case of the model in
Figure 1-1 is labeled as "Government." In regular terrestrial broadcasting control
is usually associated with ownership. McQuail (1994) says that "fundamental to
an understanding of media structure is the question of ownership-who owns
and how the powers of ownership are exercised" (p. 162). Once ownership is
established it is possible to more clearly understand issues such as the content
broadcast by the stations. Altschull's second law of journalism says "the
contents of the media always reflect the interests of those who finance them" (as
cited in McQuail, 1994, p. 162). The government controls the station by
providing funding through an agency such as the ministry of foreign affairs.
Therefore the content of the programming should reflect, in the case of
international radio stations, the foreign policy priorities of the government.
The funding is not uniform for all stations. Some governments provide
their station with ample funding while others are continuing to cut back often
leaving the station to operate on a less than sufficient budget. One key seems to
be proportionality. If a station's funding is cut, but it is still expected to fulfill the
same obligations that could make the task harder for station personnel. If the
mission of the station is reduced along with the funding, then even a cut in funds
could still mean the station has ample money to carry out its goals.
One way to understand the government's commitment to its international
radio station is to look at the funding provided to the station as a percentage of
the overall expenditure by the government on foreign affairs. This provides at
least some insight into the value that the government places on the station as a
tool for foreign policy. For example, Radio New Zealand International is funded
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry's budget has increased from $147
million in 1999 to NZ$184 million in 2002.9 Meanwhile the amount allocated to
Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) for its operation has remained stagnant
at just over NZ$1 million (Clark, 2000; New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade, 2003). Even though the budget for the Ministry has gone up, and
funding for other organizations has increased, the funding for RNZI has remained
about the same, or even dropped a little, indicating that the station is not a high
priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One can also analyze how
governments use international radio broadcasting by taking a more overarching
approach and look at various models of broadcasting.
Hale (1975) writes that international broadcasting can be understood
using four models: The Nazi model, the Communist (USSR) model, the American
model, and the BBC model. The first two models are fairly self explanatory, and
indeed the Nazi model was alluded to earlier in this chapter. However, the
American model and the BBC model may seem very similar. For Hale,
the differences between them boil down to a greater American insistence
on selling the 'Western' concept of 'freedom' and a greater British
insistence on balance (which includes telling the bad as well as the good
'At the time of writing NZ$1 = US$ 0.56
news) in the long term interests of establishing a reputation for reliability
and truthfulness. (p. xiv)
"Objectivity" may in itself be a means of "propaganda." Rawnsley (1996)
quotes Holsti who believes the crucial aspect of propaganda is audience
perception of the reliability of the source of the information. The more trusted the
source, the more likely it is that the aim of the propagandist will be fulfilled.
Rawnsley (1996) notes that
During the Cold War the Soviet Union repeatedly accused the BBC of
engaging in propaganda by claiming to broadcast in an objective manner
and without prejudice. In 1952 the BBC candidly admitted to the USIA
that this was indeed its method: "You're cheating all the time, of course,"
BBC personnel told USIA's Ralph White. "What matters is the appearance
of objectivity when actually you are not completely objective." In other
words credibility, balance and truth are used to sell a political message in
much the same way as one would use overt propaganda techniques.
Disguise it as news and information and we have what Nicholas Pronay
has called "propaganda with facts." For the propagandist the most
advantageous feature of operating in this way is that it can neither be
proved or disproved as being propaganda. (pp. 9-10)
The American model highlights the degree to which the state feels it has
an obligation to monitor and control the content broadcast by the station. Conflict
between the United States State Department and Voice of America provides a
good example. In October 2001 the VOA planned to air excerpts of an interview
with the leader of the Taliban, but this was protested by the United States State
Department. The State Department has a seat on the Broadcasting Board of
Governors, which controls VOA. Its attempt at censorship was protested by staff
at VOA, who said the station's credibility depended on the airing of both sides.
Portions of the interview were included in a program in which excerpts from an
interview with George Bush were also aired. The crux is that the airing of the
interview was delayed 5 days.
The point is that a station proclaiming itself to be the voice of whatever
country should be the object of direct government involvement, whereas the
BBC, which is not directly tied to the British Foreign Office, should be more
neutral, thereby lending credence to Hale's (1975) interpretation of the difference
between the two models. However, although the way both organizations operate
may be different, the goal is the same leading one to question whether there is
really any significant difference between an "American model" or a "BBC model."
The categorization of a "BBC model" and an "American model" actually precedes
Hale's work. In the beginnings of Radio Australia there was considerable discord
between two camps: one that wanted the station to follow the BBC model with
little governmental input, and one that favored the American model with more
Achieving credibility and impartiality is a constant battle for international
stations. Although the identity of the station is inextricably tied to the government
that operates and funds it, there is a way for some stations to remove themselves
to a certain degree from the government and take on a slightly different identity.
This comes when there is an intermediary between the government and the
station, sometimes in the form of a national public broadcaster.
The intermediary may be a national broadcasting corporation, such as the
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) or the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation (ABC), or it may be an agency such as the Broadcasting Board of
Governors (BBG). The difference is that both the BBC and ABC are government
funded broadcasting organizations able to provide programming, staff, and
training to the international broadcaster, whereas the BBG is more analogous to
a board of directors. The BBC World Service, for example, is funded by a grant-
in-aid, administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British
government. Staff from the World Service and Foreign and Commonwealth
Office consult together and decide which languages are broadcast; however,
editorial control of the programs is the sole responsibility of the BBC. This
editorial control does not exempt the BBC or the ABC from influencing the
station. Ultimately, the government still has the power to institute reviews of the
station's operation and withhold funding or ask for changes in the languages
used to broadcast. However the role of an intermediary such as a national public
broadcaster provides a much needed illusion of independence.
Association with the national public broadcaster gives the international
station a slightly different identity. The international station reaps the benefits of
the reputation that the public broadcaster has and the goodwill it has generated,
both at home and around the immediate geographic region or around the world.
However, if the national public broadcaster is itself subject to strict
government control, then it may not add much to the international station apart
from being a source of programming. All the BBG does is to provide a buffer
between the Voice of America and the government, but it does not do much to
change the identity of the VOA as a tool of the United States government.
One other intermediary factor to consider are what McQuail (1994) terms
"institutional arrangements (such as editorial statutes) designed to safeguard the
integrity of editorial policy" (p. 163). McQuail notes that "professionalism, codes
of conduct, public reputation (since media are always in the public eye), and
common (business sense) are supposed to take care of the seeming 'problem' of
undue owner (or in this case state) influence" (p. 163). Both Radio Australia and
All India Radio are tied to the national public broadcaster and, as such, come
under the influence of not only their own institutional arrangements but also those
of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and All India Radio. The role of an
intermediary does not negate the fact that both stations are financed by their
respective governments and are ultimately beholden to them. Therefore, no
matter what type of barrier there is between the government and the station, the
government still has ultimate control because it controls the funding for the
The Radio Station
Operation of the station includes everything from hours of broadcast to
languages used, to regions targeted. It is the result of input from the many
variables in the system, but it also affects those variables as well.
Browne (1982), in his seminal work on international broadcasting, The
Limits of the Limitless Medium, identified eight roles that are useful in
understanding the function of the station. The eight are instrument of foreign
policy, mirror of society, symbolic presence, converter and sustainer, coercer and
intimidator, educator, entertainer, and seller of goods and services10 (Browne,
1982). That is not to say that each station fulfills only one purpose, rather a single
station may for example be an instrument of foreign policy, its programming may
'1Several of Browne's categories including converter and sustainer, and seller
of goods and services applies less to government stations and more to
independent or religious stations which also use shortwave.
also mirror society, and the programming may also be educational and
When referring to international broadcast stations as instruments of
foreign policy, Browne (1982) says policy can be divided into two parts: policy
making and policy execution. Government-operated international radio stations
have no direct impact on the making of policy, but they are used in various ways
to execute policy. One way foreign policy is reflected in international radio
stations is through the languages the station uses and the amount of time spent
on each language. The region of the world that international stations broadcast
to reflects the areas of the world that are of particular importance to the host
country. Browne says, "If a broadcasting nation is deeply concerned about
specific events taking place in another country, it may react by dramatically
increasing broadcast hours and/or broadcast frequencies for certain language
services, to the point where either or both may be doubled or tripled for the
duration of the crisis" (p. 31). Once the crisis is over, the schedule will return to
normal and the language service may even disappear altogether.
Hachten (1999) synthesizes the use of international broadcasting stations
during the Cold War into two terms: public diplomacy, and international political
communication. He defines public diplomacy as "a government's overt efforts to
influence another government" (p. 109). International political communication, on
the other hand, actually encompasses public diplomacy and is defined as "the
political effects that newspapers, broadcasting, film, exchanges of persons,
cultural exchanges, and other means of international communication can
achieve" (p. 110). Both Browne and Hachten describe the total output of the
station (i.e., the programming that is transmitted over the airwaves or whatever
medium is being used). Like any broadcast station, the programming is
transmitted with a specific target audience in mind.
The output of the station affects the audience, which provides the station
with feedback that may affect the output of the station. For example, a station
may add or remove a program depending on the feedback, or lack thereof, from
the audience. The audience may also listen via a variety of different means such
as shortwave, the Internet, or via a satellite retransmission of the station's signal.
The popularity or availability of a certain technology in a particular target region
may lead to the station looking for new ways of getting its signal out to the
The audience is very important to the government as they represent the
target of the government's foreign policy goals. No broadcaster can be effective
without an understanding of its target audience, and international radio
broadcasters are no exception. Radio Australia's stated target audience is
"national opinion leaders" (see Chapter 4). This may be a broad categorization,
but it does help to focus the content of the broadcasts. In its efforts to reach into
the Asia-Pacific region with programming putting Australia in the best possible
light, national opinion leaders are obviously people the powers that be believe
are most important in influencing others in their particular country.
Understanding the target audience is important in understanding why a
government would even fund international radio broadcasting. A clearly defined
target audience may be a sign of a government that has a clear purpose for its
station, whereas no clearly defined audience may mean the government is just
going through the motions with no understanding of the effectiveness of the
The variables continually affecting the whole systemic loop are labeled
"Environmental Forces." This may include an upheaval in the local political
system such as the military coup in Fiji or ethnic unrest in Indonesia. This could
lead to a change in foreign policy priorities for the government, and also change
in the programming of the station. Change could come on a larger political scale
such as the end of the Cold War. Change could also be the introduction of new
means of distribution such as the Internet.
The Internet is part of the justification provided by the BBC World Service
for cutting broadcasts to North America and the Pacific (Save BBC World
Service, 2002). McQuail (1994) points out
That changing communication technology causes change needs little
argument, since it is obvious that media institutions have developed
around a succession of different technologies which constantly open up
the potential for new markets and undermine old ones. Even this process
of change is usually managed as far as possible, to avoid major disruption
to the industry. .. The rise of new technology does not usually eclipse
old media entirely but causes them to adapt to the new market conditions.
The Internet (new technology) has not eclipsed shortwave as the medium
of choice for international radio broadcasters, but it has added a new dimension.
As above, the Swiss have elected to use the Internet as the sole medium for
transmission of their international programming. However, this is a function of
their former and current role in the world system as much as anything else. New
technology such as satellite and the Internet have also opened up the potential
for new markets or audiences to international broadcasters and undermined
older ones, although the degree to which old markets have been undermined
may be a matter of opinion. For example, one could make the case that the BBC
World Service's decision to end shortwave broadcasts to the Americas and the
Pacific and rely on the Internet and relays over domestic stations is an example
of markets being undermined.
By the same token, stations taking advantage of satellite and the Internet
are able to reach audiences all around the world who may have previously not
listened to the station, or who wanted to but were unable to because the station
did not transmit to a certain region. Radio Australia's broadcasts its English
language service in real time over the Internet. Because it is a regional
broadcaster listeners in parts of the world outside of the Asia/Pacific region were
not able to hear the station. Now through the Internet they are able to listen live,
or listen to previously recorded shows at their leisure.
In summary, the systemic model attempts to explain and illustrate the
many variables that come in to play and influence the output of the international
radio station. The station is not an isolated island; it is the product of the system
it is a part of. Not only is the station influenced by the many variables, it has the
capacity to influence a single person listening to the station's broadcasts. That
influence could in turn lead to something major such as the overthrow of a
Germany, the Soviet Union, and Britain first used international
broadcasting as a tool for foreign policy. Later the United States joined them.
These are the countries that have led the world political scene, and these are
also the countries that are primarily studied when it comes to analyzing
The present research examines the use of international radio broadcasting
by two regional powers, Australia and India, and their respective stations, Radio
Australia and All India Radio External Services Division. These are two countries
that both have their broadcasting roots with the BBC, with both stations being
operated by the national terrestrial broadcasting service rather than directly by
the government. Due to their size, both countries have used shortwave to
broadcast internally as well as externally. Finally, both countries have interests
in the Pacific island nation of Fiji; Australia because of geographic proximity and
its responsibility to the Pacific region, and India because of the large ethnic
Indian population in Fiji. Fiji has come to the world's attention during the early
1990s and in 2000 due to the military coups that have taken place there. The
coups have their roots in ethnic tension between indigenous Fijians and the
Indian population. The coups have also highlighted the importance of shortwave
broadcasting both to citizens of Fiji, and to Australia and India.
This chapter has described the questions guiding the research of this
dissertation and provided necessary background. Chapter 2 examines the
relevant literature reviewed for this research. Chapter 3 describes the methods
used for this dissertation. Chapters 4 and 5 examine the use of Radio Australia
and All India Radio by their respective governments. Chapter 6 contains
conclusions and suggestions for further research.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
This chapter reviews the literature pertinent to the use of international
radio broadcasting by regional powers. The chapter begins by reviewing
literature on general systems theory, international relations theory and
constructivism, and regional and middle powers. This is followed by a review of
propaganda, international broadcasting and government policy, and finally
shortwave broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific.
General Systems Theory
Pullen (1987) in research on general systems theory labels Von
Bertalanffy as the founder of the systems approach. Pullen stresses the notion
of self organizing and hierarchically emergent properties of open systems. He
says Von Bertalanffy was critical of the move toward positivism, behaviorism, and
reductionism, looking instead toward man's subjective and symbolic capacity as
the foundation of human science.
Systems theory seeks common patterns of organization (including
structure, function, and meaning) in both the natural and cultural worlds (Queen,
1986). Queen says the theory has a high level of generality, which is expressed
in the principles of integration, adaptation, emergence, and hierarchy. He also
notes that systems theory attempts to move toward a more humanistic approach
and transcending artificial boundaries separating the sciences and humanities.
Reuben and Kim (1975) edited General Systems Theory and Human
Communication, a compilation of articles looking at various aspects of systems
theory. The book includes the philosophy and basic concepts of systems theory,
and human communication in systems perspective.
Systems theory is not a widely used approach in communication research,
but several scholars have included it in their research. Miller (1995) in
Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes spends a chapter
outlining general systems theory and its usefulness in understanding
organizations. Also, other mass communication theorists (McQuail, 1994;
Severin & Tankard, 2001; Infante, Rancer, & Womack., 1997) have addressed
communication and systems theory.
General systems theory has proved useful in many other disciplines,
including philosophy (McKercher, 1993, Scott, 1986), medicine (Banks, 1992),
chemical dependency treatment (Burns, 1993; Littleton, 1996), education (Caroff,
1984, Schaefer, 1980), political science (Pullen, 1987), archeology (Plog, 1975),
sociology (Richards, 1992), nursing (Littleton, 1996, Banks, 1992), religion
(Queen, 1986), and business (Mayer, 1996).
Having looked at general systems theory, which provides the framework
for the research on the use of Radio Australia and All India Radio by their
respective governments, the next section examines international relations theory
and its role in helping understand the identity of states in the world system.
International Relations Theory: Constructivism
An important premise of this research is that states do not operate in
isolation but are part of a world system and have a specific identity or identities in
that system. Therefore, the way states use their international broadcasting
stations is based on the state's identity and a state's relationship with other states
in its region or in other parts of the world.
The fundamental premise of the IR theory of neorealism is that states exist
in a state of anarchy and that their actions toward each other are based on self-
interest and the need for a balance of power or, as Walt (1987) argues, a
balance of threats. However, various IR scholars, while acknowledging the
importance of paradigms like neorealism, believe there is a better way of
explaining the relationship between states. These scholars have borrowed from
social science disciplines like philosophy, sociology and anthropology to look at
the influence of identities, norms and culture on international relations.
Alexander Wendt (1992) writes that "social theories which seek to explain
identities and interests do exist. Keohane (1969) has called them "'reflectivist';
because I want to emphasize their focus on the social construction of subjectivity
and minimize their image problem, following Nicholas Onuf I will call them
'constructivist (p. 393). Wendt (1992) notes that a fundamental principle of
constructivist social theory is that
people act toward objects, including actors, on the basis of the meanings
that the objects have for them. States act differently toward enemies than
they do toward friends because enemies are threatening and friends are
not. Anarchy and the distribution of power is insufficient to tell us which is
which. (pp. 396-397)
Wendt also talks about the idea of identity confusion and mentions that with the
end of the Cold War to help define the identities of both the United States and the
Soviet Union, "these states seem unsure of what their 'interests' should be" (p.
Ted Hopf (1998) says understanding the concept of identities at an
international and domestic level is important because it ensures "at least some
minimal level of predictability and order" (p. 174). He speculates that without an
understanding of identities the world would be full of chaos and uncertainty. He
says that identities have several important functions: "they tell you and others
who you are, and they tell you who others are" (p. 175). He says the major
difference between constructivism and neorealism is "constructivism treats
identity as an empirical question to be theorized within a historical context
[whereas] neorealism assumes that all units in global politics have only one
meaningful identity, that of self-interested states" (p. 175). There are many
factors that go into developing a state's identity. Hopf lists history, culture, and
political and social context as all contributing to the formation of identity.
Weldes, Laffey, Gusterson, and Duvall (1999) add the dimension of
culture to the constructivist debate. As they note, culture is a difficult term to
define, but it is important because culture plays a pivotal role in the construction
of states' identities. The study of culture in IR has come very much to fore due to
the end of the Cold War. During the Cold War, neorealism was riding high; there
was a bipolar world, and obviously the issue of power and self-interest was at the
center of international relations. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, Weldes et
al. believe that neorealism has been found wanting, and instead scholars have
"discovered the significance of cultural phenomena for understanding and
explaining international politics" (p. 4). Weldes et al. are proponents of the notion
of the social construction of reality. As an example, they talks about "the social
construction of the Soviet threat" (p. 12). They are not saying that there is no
such thing as nuclear weapons nor that the Soviet Union was incapable of using
them. What they argue is that the insecurity felt in the relationship with Russia
was as much a product of social construction as anything else. They borrow
from Wendt in talking about how people act toward objects or other people based
on the meaning of the objects. Their point is that the meanings we assign
objects are all socially constructed, a product of cultural forces. As another
example of the impact of social construction on culture, Weldes (1999) looks at
the notion of crisis. She says, "crises are cultural artifacts" (p. 57). According to
Weldes, "The representations that constitute a crisis are produced in and through
cultural processes and out of cultural resources-that is, in and through the
'codes of intelligibility-that both construct the reality we know and endow it with
meaning" (p. 57). Weldes goes on to show how the notion of identity is also
wrapped up in the issue of crises.
Whether a state views a certain situation as a crisis depends on the
identity of the state. However, a crisis may also give the state an identity. She
explains that for a state to understand its own identity there has to be a state that
is different. The usual example is the United States and the USSR, which had
diametrically opposed ideologies. The identity of the different state is, according
to Weldes (1999), turned into "otherness" (p. 59). If the name USSR did not
have such nasty connotations, then it would not threaten the United States'
identity, and in turn its actions that may affect the United States would not be
seen as a potential crisis. The point is that identity, culture, and norms are not
necessarily straightforward ideas, but they are concepts that have a significant
bearing on international relations
Christian Reus-Smith (1997) summarizes what seems to be the
fundamental premise of constructivism and the whole idea of identity, norms, and
culture. He writes that societies and states are products of different cultural and
historical contexts. States, like people, are a product of many different forces
including cultural forces that shape a state's identity and the way it relates to
other similar and different states. The cooperation between states is in turn
facilitated by the various norms that are part of the international system.
This dissertation uses the term regional power as an identifier for two
specific countries: Australia and India. Using a label such as regional power,
great power, or middle power implies a specific identity; that is, a role for a
specific state or group of states within the world system. However, the way a
state may see itself could well be different from how others see it. America may
see itself as the defender of freedom and democracy, but the Taliban may see it
as an intruder or a warmonger. Hopf (1998) in an article on the role of
constructivism in international relations says,
The neorealist assumption of self-interest presumes to know, a priori, just
what self is being identified. In other words, the state in international
politics, across time and space, is assumed to have a single eternal
meaning. Constructivism instead assumes that the selves, or identities, of
states are a variable; they likely depend on historical, cultural, political,
and social context. (p. 176)
Hopf goes on to point out that state interests are important and are a
product of identity. He notes, for example, "the identity 'great power' implies a
particular set of interests different from those implied by the identity 'European
Union member"' (p. 176). States have multiple identities and "constructivist
theory precludes acceptance of pregiven interests" (p. 176).
If, as Hopf points out, a state can have more than one identity, then the
use of the term regional power merely implies that the countries concerned have
expertise in, and a responsibility in someway for, a particular geographic part of
the world. So, a country's identity as a regional power is only part of the
equation. To get a more complete picture it is necessary to look at a country's
role on the systemic level.
Regional and Middle Powers
Australia and India have been termed "middle powers" (Cooper, 1997,
14). This refers to their role on a systemic level. Although such terminology is
not focal to the description of the two states, it is an aspect of their identity, and
helpful in understanding the country's role in the world system.
Keohane (1969) looked at the "systemic role" that states play. He said
there were four types of states: system-determining states, system-influencing
states, system-affecting states, and system-ineffectual states. He stated that
these could also be referred to as great, secondary, middle, and small powers.
The key, according to Keohane, is that middle power states "cannot hope to
affect the system acting alone [but] can nevertheless exert significant impact on
the system by working through small groups or alliances or through universal or
regional international organizations" (p. 295). At the time, he listed Canada,
Sweden, Pakistan, Brazil, and Argentina as middle powers.
There have been studies conducted of middle powers, but they have led
to criticism particularly in the type of countries chosen to study. Cranford Pratt
(1990)' and others focused their research on Canada, the Netherlands, Norway,
and Sweden. Andrew F. Cooper (1997) is critical of the way Pratt and his
colleagues, in studying middle powers and "humane internationalism," determine
which country is a middle power. Cooper writes, "The subjects in these studies
constitute, in fact, only a small section of actors, in particular 'like-minded'
developed northern states" (p. 14). He says countries left out include Australia,
India, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Argentina, Turkey, and South Africa,
which have all been included on lists of middle powers by virtue of their "in-
between position in the international hierarchy" (p. 14). It shows if nothing else
the difficulty in labeling states, particularly states that are not great powers but
are in no way on the periphery.
Cooper (1997) quotes former Canadian Ambassador Stephen Lewis, who
takes exception to the idea that middle powers are only useful as a means of
providing balance in the world system and creating harmony. He writes that
should act as an uncompromising voice when they think the major powers
are going too far, rather than behave as uncritical allies. We need a group
of countries that believe in internationalism, above all, and that can be
counted on to support multilateral institutions and agencies. (Lewis as
cited in Cooper, 1997, p. 7)
Again the emphasis is on collectivism and that on their own these countries have
little influence, but together exert a much greater force.
The whole issue of maintaining balance of power is very much a realist
notion. Cranford Pratt (1990) says, despite the obvious links to realism, the way
'Pratt's observation on middle powers is included later in this paper.
middle powers should operate is, in fact, contrary to the tenets of the realist
theory. Pratt talks about how wealthy countries have a moral and ethical duty to
help those countries that are less well off, or that are suffering from poverty. He
says that this concern for the welfare of other countries is contrary to the basic
assumptions of realism. He notes that the premise of realism is that the states
operate independently of each other, looking to enhance their power so that their
interests will be protected. They operate in an atmosphere of anarchy with no
governing body to ensure that their interests are protected. Pratt says that,
contrary to this school of thought, states are very dependent on each other. He
also says there is a
real risk that realism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for citizens of rich
countries. It elevates to an unchallengeable principle the undeniable
tendency of states to pursue their own interests. It ignores the obligation
of states to reflect in their foreign policies the ethical concerns of their
citizens. And it does not adequately recognize the obligation to help to
consolidate and to advance the emerging international law relating to
basic human rights. (p. 13)
[These countries are] aware that they dare not use their lesser status as a
reason to allow the major issues relating to war and peace to be settled
entirely by states more powerful than themselves. They must seek to
influence how these issues are managed internationally. (p. 14)
Pratt says it is not surprising that the five states2 he researched are
concerned with the maintenance of major political and economic institutions.
After all, "these institutions provide a structured environment within which middle
powers are more likely to be influential than in a more anarchic arena in which
2The Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden
the manipulations and assertions of power by the major powers would tend to
determine outcomes" (pp. 14-15).
What is clear is that middle powers, however they are defined, have an
important part to play in the world system. The key in a uni-polar world is to find
an identity or, as Cooper put it, a niche. This identity may be a product of a
country's role in the past, it may be a product of its geographic location, or it may
be a product of the culture of the country. If nothing else middle powers can play
a role in helping to balance the system, lending credence to the Waltz's (1959)
interpretation of the world as an anarchic system made up of states concerned
with the balance of power.
Hocking (1997) writes that "the distribution of power within the
international system helps to determine the degree of influence that middle
powers are capable of exercising and the character of their role" (p. 134).
However, playing a role as a power balancer hardly creates a unique identity.
Therefore, other roles must be explored. Changing a country's identity involves
more than changing the foreign policy of the country; it means changing the
attitudes of the population, something that is not so easy.
This section has examined how international relations theory, and
specifically constructivism, helps researchers understand states and the state's
identities. It has also looked at literature regarding middle and regional powers.
The next section focuses on research focusing on the use of international
broadcasting by individual states.
Propaganda and International Broadcasting
Robert Stevenson (1994) in Global Communication in the Twenty-First
Century notes that in many Western countries propaganda has a "pejorative
connotative meaning" (p. 346). He says in some countries it may be translated
as advertising or public relations, but usually the social meaning includes some
element of deception. Stevenson says the negative framing of the word
propaganda stems from two events:
The first was the Catholic church's "Congregation for the Propagation of
the Faith"-Congregatio de propaganda fide in Latin was established in
1622 to counter the Protestant Reformation. It led to the Inquisition,
whose members were, to say the least, unsympathetic to independent-
minded skeptics such as Galileo. The second was Lenin's definition of
propaganda as a legitimate function of the party media. From both
sources, we get the idea that we ought to be alert for propaganda and
suspicious of anyone who is out to win our hearts and minds. (p. 346)
According to Severin and Tankard (2001) Harold Lasswell's study
Propaganda Technique in the World War was one of the first attempts to define
propaganda. Lasswell (1927) defined propaganda as "the control of opinion by
significant symbols, or, to speak more concretely and less accurately, by stories,
rumors, reports, pictures, and other forms of social communication" (p. 9).
Lasswell said that there were four major objectives of propaganda: "To mobilize
hatred against the enemy, to preserve the friendship of allies, to preserve the
friendship and, if possible, to procure the cooperation of neutrals, and to
demoralize the enemy (p. 195).
About 10 years later, Lasswell (1937) refined his definition to read,
"Propaganda in the broadest sense is the technique of influencing human action
by the manipulation of representations. These representations may take spoken,
written, pictorial or musical form" (p. 521-522). Lasswell influenced
communication research through his research into propaganda techniques which
paved the way for theoretical thought about the general effects of mass
communication, and about attitude change (Severin & Tankard, 2001). While
Lasswell's work was not solely about international broadcasting, there are other
authors who have focused on the relationship between international broadcasting
Martin (cited in Fischer & Merrill, 1976) saw propaganda as a function of a
government, defining it as "a persuasive communicative act of a government
directed at a foreign audience" (p. 262). Martin believes that the most money is
not spent by propagandists on propaganda, but on facilitativee communication"
(p. 263). Facilitative communication would constitute what many international
radio stations engage in including radio newscasts, press releases, and artistic
and cultural programs. This type of communication serves no other function than
to create "a friendly atmosphere, or, as a psychologist might put it, a favorable
affect" (p. 263). He believed that the majority of government-funded
communication is not propaganda and that even if it was, governments would
never label it propaganda because of the negative connotations associated with
the word. Martin said he thought most governments engaged in international
communication because they thought it was the thing to do not because it was
John Tusa (1990), former Managing Director of the BBC World Service,
says there are two views about how international radio broadcasting should be
used: idealistic and ideological. In his view idealistic broadcasts are peaceful
and are summed up in the founding of the BBC World Service, where Lord Reith
called radio "an instrument of almost incalculable importance in the social and
political life of the community. Its influence will more and more be felt in the daily
life of the individual, in almost every sphere of activity, in affairs national and
international" (as cited in Tusa, 1990, p. 4). Tusa views ideological as
propaganda, and it is typified by the broadcasts of Radio Moscow and Nazi
Germany in the 1930s. Tusa says, "Moscow [directed] its broadcasts to serve
one political purpose-the class war; and Berlin projecting the single will of the
leader throughout the world to serve its own ends" (p. 6). Tusa defines
broadcasting wholly at the service of the state, wholly in the hands of the
government and wholly intended to serve the policy aims defined by state
and government. It is the broadcasting of persuasion, the broadcasting of
a world where black contrasts with white, the broadcasting of friend verses
foe, the broadcasting of a Manichean world where those who are not for
us are against us and the purpose of the broadcaster is to change the
latter into the former. (p. 15)
Rawnsley (1996) has a similar idea as to what constitutes propaganda in
terms of international broadcasting. He writes in Radio Diplomacy and
Propaganda that propaganda is "the attempt by the government of one state to
influence another to act or think in ways which are conducive to the interests of
the source by whatever means are considered appropriate" (p. 8).
Robert Stevenson (1994) says that in the study of governmental activities
and a government's effort to reach and influence people overseas, the term
propaganda is seldom used. Instead, the favored term is public diplomacy.
Stevenson notes that public diplomacy differs from other types of governmental
communication, traditionally from an embassy to a foreign ministry, because it
"represents the efforts of one government to influence the people of another
country" (p. 347). Stevenson notes that shortwave broadcasting falls under the
domain of public diplomacy, but so do libraries, cultural centers, educational
exchanges, publications distributed overseas, and even "get acquainted tours of
the homeland for VIPs" (p. 347). In terms of size, he states that the United
States operates one of the largest public diplomacy programs in the world at an
annual cost of about $1 billion.
Philo Wasburn (1992) looks at how the audience perceives messages
received through international radio broadcasting. He notes,
In cases where media audiences simply do not attend to the constructed
nature of media accounts of politics, they are likely to label such accounts
news. When they are more aware of their constructed nature, they are
more likely to label such presentations editorials. When audiences
understand media accounts of political phenomena as constructed
explicitly to serve political goals, particularly goals they do not share, they
are more likely to label such presentations propaganda. (p. xx)
Cole (1998) notes that propaganda can be looked at "according to the
channels and techniques by which it is disseminated, by its objectives, and by
means by which its objectives are delineated and achieved" (p. 622). Cole says
the most useful way to examine propaganda is by the "public or group activity"
(p. 622) it attempts to influence.
Ellul (1965) says propaganda influences the political and social activities
of groups and can be divided into two categories: political propaganda and social
propaganda. Other types of propaganda fall under either political or social
propaganda. Both political and social propaganda can be disseminated by either
official or unofficial agencies. Cole (1998) says political propaganda is "selective
and manipulative communication by governments, political parties, or pressure
groups with a view to influencing the political behavior or beliefs of the public
(p. 622). Conversely, social propaganda is an attempt by "organizations or
institutions to influence the social behavior of the public" (p. 622). This includes
human rights, civil rights, health, education, and many other areas.
Cole (1998) goes further in sub-dividing propaganda into a number of
other categories including ideological, military and war, diplomatic, cultural,
ethnic, economic, public health, and educational. He notes that propaganda
does not necessarily have to be true or false and that scholars have argued, and
continue to argue, the merits, or lack thereof of propaganda.
International Relations theorist, E. H. Carr (1964), refers to propaganda as
power over opinion. He notes that absolute power over opinion is limited
because there needs to be some conformity with fact. Carr says Hitler
condemned German propaganda during World War I as futile because it
portrayed the enemy as ridiculous and contemptible; something the German
soldiers in the trenches discovered was untrue. Carr says education promotes "a
spirit of independent inquiry" which is one of the strongest antidotes against
propaganda (p. 144). Carr also believed that because of "the inherent
utopianism of human nature" (p. 145) propaganda is not always effective. He
It is a basic fact about human nature that human beings do in the long run
reject the doctrine that might makes right. Oppression sometimes has the
effect of strengthening the will, and sharpening the intelligence, of its
victims, so that it is not universally or absolutely true that a privileged
group can control opinion at the expense of the unprivileged. (p. 145)
Having presented the ways that several scholars have viewed
propaganda, particularly as used by the government in the context of
international broadcasting, the next section reviews the literature on the use of
international radio broadcasting by governments around the world.
International Broadcasting Worldwide
As mentioned in Chapter 1, Hale (1975) and Browne (1982) provide a
useful look at various models or uses of shortwave stations over the years. Hale
is most concerned with showing how international broadcasting is used for
propaganda. He describes the subtle propaganda of the BBC and the more
overt propaganda of the Nazis and other broadcasters.
Browne has written about various models of shortwave broadcasting and
has written possibly the most comprehensive analysis of the history and uses of
international broadcasting via shortwave. He looks at the various ways
governments have used international broadcasting throughout the years and the
strengths and weaknesses of the medium. His purpose is to increase awareness
of international broadcasting and provide a platform for future research.
International broadcasting has been used as a tool of executing
government foreign policy over the years, particularly during times of conflict.
Brewer (1991) wrote about how the British during World War II based the content
of their propaganda broadcasts to America on an analysis of American foreign
policy making, and the role of public opinion in that process. She illustrates how
the goal of the British was to build favorable opinion among Americans for a
special relationship between the two countries.
In Radio Diplomacy and Propaganda, Rawnsley (1996) looks at the
relationship between the BBC World Service and VOA and their use by their
respective governments during 1956-64. The book includes a good overview of
the history of international broadcasting and its use as a tool of public diplomacy.
Alexandre (1985) examined VOA's role in foreign policy and public
diplomacy. She notes that over the years VOA was committed to promoting
positive attitudes about the U.S. and reinforcing negative opinions about the
Soviet Union and its allies. She says while the style of broadcasting has
changed its purpose is still the same. She shows that problems occur internally
among staff members when a station like VOA attempts to be both the official
government voice and an objective source of news.
Some authors have written about the history of a particular international
broadcaster like Radio Canada International (Hall, 1973), Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (Critchlow, 1995), and the BBC World Service (Walker,
1992). Several authors have written about the Voice of America (VOA). Articles
chronicle the first 22 years of the station (Pirsein, 1970), the broadcasting rivalry
between Cuba and the United States (Frederick, 1984), a study of the VOA's
Arabic service (Ayish, 1986) and a comparison between the VOA, BBC World
Service, and Radio Moscow (Bookmiller, 1992).
Frederick studied the rivalry between the United States and Cuba and
their respective stations, Radio Havana Cuba and the Voice of America, from
1961 to 1983, and compares newscasts between 1979 and 1982. He found that
VOA often carried reports criticizing U.S. policies but RHC never criticized Cuban
policy. VOA was also more concerned with U.S. affairs while RHC appeared
more outward-looking, focusing on events in many smaller countries. RHC also
paid much attention to nongovernmental organizations, while VOA did not.
Ayish found that the philosophy of VOA's Arabic Service lent itself more to
objective journalism than blatant propaganda. The author used various methods
including content analysis, conversations with employees, and historical analysis.
His studies supported the idea that despite being a vessel of U.S. foreign policy,
there is a concerted attempt at providing objectivity in the Arabic broadcasts.
In looking at how international broadcasting has changed since the Cold
War, Bookmiller (1992) analyzed Radio Moscow, VOA and the BBC World
Service before and during the Cold War and then examined the status of the
stations after 1989. Bookmiller writes that Radio Moscow is somewhat weaker
both in output and in terms of infrastructure, while the BBC and Voice of America
are stronger in some ways than they were during the Cold War. Bookmiller notes
that the BBC is less defined ideologically because it was founded before World
War II and for reasons that were not solely ideological. Such reasons include the
use of the station as a vehicle for providing news and information to British
citizens living in the colonies.
Zhang (1996) looked at the impact of VOA newscasts on Chinese
intellectuals in the 1980s. He conducted a telephone survey and intensive
interviews with Chinese students and scholars now residing in the United States.
All of these people would have been in the target audience for VOA newscasts.
Zhang found that VOA had an impact on their thinking, and they generally viewed
the station favorably. Because of the intellectual nature of these individuals,
however, the station was used more as a reference point and source of
Krugler (1997) took the time period 1945 to 1953 and looked at the
Congressional Republicans' interest in VOA during this time. He examined the
Republican agenda, how it monitored programming and personnel, and how it
led inquiries to find subversives and evidence of fiscal waste. Krugler says his
research shows how Republicans used the anti-Communist consensus to shape
domestic goals that were in place before [Truman's] containment strategy was
In his dissertation looking at VOA news, Moffett (1987) noted the most
crucial factor in ensuring that VOA adhered to the principle of objectivity in news
was the VOA charter. This document made Voice of America the only institution
in the United States legally mandated to present objective news. Other
defenses against bias included rigorous internal controls including two sources
for every story, and rigid policy on what type of material may or may not be
covered. He found that such defenses shielded VOA from overt interference, but
government control of managerial appointments increased the possibility of
interference. His study recommended that VOA become a nonpolitical
Another U.S.-sponsored station that is the focus of many studies is Radio
Marti. Gallimore (1992), examined legal, theoretical, and policy issues raised by
the existence of Radio Marti and questioned the rationale of stations like Radio
Marti not being able to broadcast into the United States. The author states that a
station not being able to broadcast into the United States contradicts the First
Amendment and the ideal of free information flow which is the justification used
by the United States for international broadcasting. Warlaumont (1986), in
another study on Radio Marti, compared the strategies used by the United States
in the U.S.-Cuban radio war compared to strategies used in the U.S.-USSR radio
war. Churchill Roberts (1992) wrote an article contrasting Radio Marti with
previous U.S. international radio services. He noted that unlike Radio Free
Europe and Radio Liberty, and even VOA, Radio Marti provided a great deal of
entertainment programming, or soft propaganda, intended to create goodwill
between the service and the audience, and also create an audience for the news
Churchill Roberts (2000) looked at the various U. S international
broadcasters, their philosophy, and their changing role following the end of the
Cold War. He notes that as long as there are places in the world where
information is strictly controlled by the government, there will be a need for the
type of programming provided by the American and other international
Critchlow's Radio Hole-In-The-Head (1995) gives an insider's view of
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The book provides a good understanding of
the early years of the service and the issues faced by those working for the
service including how to get the signal into the desired countries, the type of
programming needed, and problems with obtaining accurate feedback from
listeners behind the iron curtain.
Several theses, dissertations, and papers (King, 1973; Kushner, 1976;
Van Deusen, 1968) have been written about the use of shortwave for religious
broadcasting. Organizations like HCJB, Trans World Radio, and Far East
Broadcasting Association have for years used shortwave to broadcast various
types of programming to countries around the world. The majority of the work
has focused on the stations' efforts in broadcasting to Africa, while King
conducted a survey and analysis of the three organizations.
Wood (1994, 2000) has compiled a unique work on international
broadcasting. His two volumes on the history of international broadcasting are
informed by the author's involvement in the industry, and his visits to many
stations. The books are unique as they examine many different international
stations, but also look at technical issues such as the types of transmitters used
by the different broadcasters through the years, as well as the companies that
manufacture the equipment. The work is very thorough and the author adds a
much needed dimension to the body of literature on international broadcasting.
The previous section dealt with research conducted about specific
international broadcasters worldwide. This next section focuses specifically on
literature dealing with international broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific, the two
regions of interest to this dissertation.
Shortwave, Asia, and the Pacific
Compared to the volumes written about radio broadcasting in general, the
amount of work on shortwave radio is relatively small. It is not surprising, then,
that research on shortwave in the Pacific and Asia, and particularly Radio
Australia and All India Radio, is almost nonexistent. In fact, most of the research
about All India Radio has focused on aspects of the use of the internal side of
AIR (Chakravarty, 1994).
Probably the most authoritative work is This is All India Radio written by
Baruah (1983). Baruah was a Director General of All India Radio and wrote the
book to provide politicians, listeners, and new staff members with a complete
understanding of all aspects of the organization. He has one chapter on the
external services and although the book is informative it is also dated. Some of
the policies and practices are still relevant, but for the most part the book is
better thought of as an historical resource.
In one of the few books about shortwave broadcasting in the Pacific,
Radio Wars, Hodge (1995) looks at the history and uses of Radio Australia from
its inception to the book's publication. The book provides insight into the
workings and the mindset of management over the years. The book's value lies
in its in-depth analysis of the historical foundations of the station. The other great
value is its recency. Events covered include Radio Australia's role in the first Fiji
coup. The coup is also covered by Ogden and Hailey (1988) and their article
demonstrates the importance of international broadcasters to the Pacific region.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the body responsible
for Radio Australia. Thomas (1980) has chronicled the first two decades of the
ABC. In his work he describes the beginning of Radio Australia and provides
some valuable insight into the political struggles in the early days of the station.
On a more general scope, Lent (1978) edited a book dealing with
broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific. Lent takes a very thorough look at the
broadcasting systems in the various countries of these regions. There is some
focus on the external broadcasting services of the various countries, but it is
more of a side issue. The book is now 20 years old and is more of an historical
work than a cutting edge analysis. Seward (1999) has more recently surveyed
the role of media and politics in the Pacific. In particular, Seward examines the
role of local radio, paying attention to the role international broadcasters play in
the flow of information in the region. He shows how local stations provide news
for regional news services and the international broadcasters, and then also use
services provided by the international broadcasters.
One other work of note covering international broadcasting and the
Pacific was written by Richstad (1987) of the East-West Center in Hawaii. He
conducted an extensive unpublished survey on broadcasters in the Pacific and
his results are contained in a report entitled "Use of International Broadcasts in
Pacific Island Radio Services: Dependency? Cultural Imperialism? Practical
Necessity?" It is an extensive analysis of local and international broadcasters in
the Pacific. The survey analyzes how international broadcasters' programs are
used by the local stations, and why. He found that international broadcasting
services such as Radio Australia were very important to South Pacific
broadcasters as a source of news and of programming. These services were
particularly valuable, as the local broadcasters often had no funds for wire
services or for purchasing programming.
In one of the few studies on All India Radio, Daniel (1995) looked at the
way news was shaped on VOA, BBC World Service, and All India Radio (AIR).
Three points emerged from the study. The first was that BBC and VOA editors
pay a lot of attention to objectivity. Finding two suggested that AIR editors
respect the ideal of objectivity but acknowledge an influence from national policy.
The third, and somewhat weaker, factor was that VOA and BBC editors were
cynical about the idea of cultural imperialism. However, what is lacking is a
history of the AIR and a holistic approach to the problem showing the role that
issues such as culture play in international news broadcasting.
Two other sources of interest on international broadcasting and the Asia-
Pacific region are The World Radio and Television Handbook (WRTH, 1997) and
The Commonwealth Broadcaster magazine. The WRTH is a valuable source of
information about international and national broadcasting throughout the world.
The handbook provides a listing of all radio and television stations in countries
around the world with contact information. It also focuses heavily on international
broadcasting with broadcasting schedules, frequencies, and technical
information. On the other hand, The Commonwealth Broadcaster provides
information on the British Commonwealth countries and broadcasting, and is a
valuable source of information and analysis. The magazine contains articles
dealing with issues the stations face and with the state of broadcasting in various
countries. The magazine has a web site (www.cba.org.uk) that contains
broadcasting news from around the Pacific region. The next chapter looks at the
methods used for this research.
This chapter looks at the methods and sources used in this dissertation. It
examines why qualitative methodology is important in answering how and why
Australia and India are using their international radio stations. The chapter
begins by stating the questions to be answered and why qualitative methods are
the best way of answering those questions. This is followed by a section on the
use of qualitative research to analyze mass communications, and how it applies
to the research of the two radio stations. The chapter then looks at the methods
used to conduct research on Radio Australia and All India Radio. The final
section describes some of the sources used in conducting the research.
Qualitative research is all about meaning or as Pauly (1991) says
"qualitative studies investigate meaning-making" (p. 2). For those using a
qualitative method, whether it is in-depth interviews, focus groups, participant
observation, or some other type of research, the goal is to answer the "why"
question. It is not enough to know that some phenomena took place, or that
there is some relationship between a dependent and independent variable.
The two questions that form the basis for this research are
Q. 1 How are regional powers using their international radio stations in the
post-Cold War era?
Q. 2 Why are regional powers using their international radio stations in the
post-Cold War era?
As noted earlier these are broad questions. In order to answer them it is
necessary to answer the following more detailed questions.
1. How has the development of technology such as satellites and the Internet
influenced, or changed, the use of Radio Australia and All India Radio by
Australia and India?
2. How do regional and world political events influence the use of Radio
Australia and All India Radio by their respective governments?
3. In what way(s) is international radio broadcasting a useful means of
international communication for the Australian and Indian governments?
4. To what extent does the programming and target audience of Radio
Australia and All India Radio reflect their country's foreign policy?
5. To what extent are Radio Australia and All India Radio independent of
government influence in their operation?
6. What role does Radio Australia's and All India Radio's charter play in
governing how Australia and India use the stations?
7. To what extent is a nation's use of international radio broadcasting an
important tool in establishing the nation's identity to listeners in the region
and/or the world?
As was illustrated in the Chapter 2, there has been very little work done on
international radio broadcasting and particularly not on stations operated by
regional powers, or on how a station is influenced by the system that it functions
in. Because of the dearth of literature the current research is very much
exploratory and descriptive in nature. Yin (1994) states that there are several
ways of doing social science research including case studies, experiments,
surveys, histories and archival analysis. He says in deciding what method is
most appropriate researchers must look at "(a) the type of research question, (b)
the control an investigator has over behavioral events and (c) the focus on
contemporary as opposed to historical phenomena" (p. 1).
Case studies was the favored method in the research of Radio Australia
and All India Radio and their use by Australia and India because the goal was to
answer a "why" and a "how" question. An experiment can also be used to
answer such questions, but to do so requires that the researcher has control over
behavioral events; something that is not possible with the research being
conducted on international radio broadcasting. In addition, a survey could have
been conducted, but the type of questions asked for a survey include who, what,
where, how many, and how much. These types of questions are "most
advantageous when the research goal is to describe the incidence or prevalence
of a phenomenon or when it is to be predictive about certain outcomes" (Yin,
1994, p. 6). A survey would have been useful if the goal of the research was to
survey all of the countries using international radio broadcasting or to survey a
representative sample of listeners to a station to find out why they listened.
However, that would remove the context that is essential in building a more
complete picture. Qualitative research methods were chosen because the goal
of the research is not to generalize any findings to a specific population as a
whole. Rather the research carried out and the findings generated are
Qualitative Research and Mass Communication Analysis
Pauly (1991) writes that experienced qualitative researchers study mass
communication in one of three ways: as a product, as a practice, or as a
commentary. The best research integrates all three aspects, and the following
section describes what each aspect is, and how they apply to Radio Australia
and All India Radio.
Product refers to the examination of the output of a mass media
organization, for example news stories or television shows. In the context of this
dissertation it is the programming broadcast by the stations. The qualitative
researcher interprets these programs as texts, not as materials with a clear
message, moral, or value.
In order to know what the product is, the author listened to broadcasts
from Radio Australia via the Internet, in part to check the content with the
program description listed on the web sites, but also to gain an understanding of
production quality, who the presenters were, and what topics were covered.
Newscasts from All India Radio were listened to via its web site. Unfortunately,
this was the only form of audio available from AIR as shortwave broadcasts are
not directed at the United States and the author was not able to pick-up any
broadcasts with his shortwave receiver. However, the author did contact other
shortwave listeners, both hobbyists and broadcasters, who provided descriptions
of the program content, and their opinion of the programs (details of how and
why these particular people were contacted is provided later in this chapter).
Where possible, this information was cross checked against other
documents to verify the listener's assertions. For example, one listener told the
author that film music appeared to be one of the most popular components of All
India radio's programming. This assertion was confirmed by other documents
obtained by the author.
Treating mass communication as a practice emphasizes a cultural
process; that is, how culture affects the putting together of the product or how the
quest for revenue affects the content of the product. In the case of Australia and
India, and their radio stations it is important to understand the foreign policy of
the two countries and how that affects the programming content, or the product
of the stations. By understanding the foreign policy, it is possible to more fully
appreciate the languages used by the stations in their broadcasts, and the
inclusion of various types of programming. Neither All India Radio nor Radio
Australia have the quest for revenue as their bottom line; therefore, it is important
to understand what the motivation is for the use of these two stations. Both
stations are owned and funded by their governments; therefore, it is important to
understand the foreign policy interests of their governments and how that affects
the content of the product. Both stations also come under the influence of
domestic public service broadcasters, so it is important to understand how the
identities of the stations are shaped by that relationship, and consequently how
that relationship affects the product.
Commentaries on mass communication may look at how the media are a
reflection of society. A key aspect of both Radio Australia and All India Radio is
that the programming content reflects the culture of the host nations. In many
respects, this is where the notion of public diplomacy comes in; the programming
is an attempt to influence the people not a government. By their programming, it
seems that both stations feel the way to make their countries more appealing to
the listeners is by broadcasting programming that reflects all aspects of society.
This includes news, sports, music, and other forms of entertainment. Both
stations are attempting to reach listeners in their respective target regions with
programming that is nonthreatening; in this way, each country appears more
appealing and more human.
It is one thing to look at the product, but a more effective understanding of
why the product is the way it is can be understood when looking at the station
through the lens of its reflection of society. This helps the researcher understand
why it is important to include certain types of programming and not others.
This research integrates all three of Pauly's (1991) aspects of analysis in
the study of how and why Radio Australia and All India Radio are used by their
particular governments. The following sections more fully explicate what
methods were used to conduct the research.
Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research
Reliability and validity do not apply very well to qualitative research simply
because cultures change, times change, and people change. What works in one
context may not work again. The way countries use their international radio
stations may well change tomorrow depending on events in the region and the
world. Indeed, Voice of America and the BBC World Service added language
services and changed their focus once events in Afghanistan escalated.
Additional languages were added and programming was altered to focus on that
Qualitative research also depends on the human-as-research-instrument,
so little is gained, according to Lindlof (1995), in terms of reliability. Lindlof writes
that validity is also tricky in qualitative research: "A world constructed of multiple
realities does not permit the researcher to identify any single representation as
the criterion for accurate measurement" (p. 238). The need to generalize is also
moot because the qualitative researcher "studies social action and cultural
sensibilities situated in time and place" (p. 238).
Sampling in qualitative research is not conducted using random probability
where every person in a certain population has an equal chance to be selected.
In qualitative research "sample selection intentionally biased toward those
'information-rich cases' likely to reveal the sense-making processes and
structures of interest to the analyst" (Lindlof, 1995, p. 126). The nonprobability
sampling method used most frequently by the author to contact listeners and
broadcasters familiar with Radio Australia and All India Radio was "snowball
sampling." Lindlof (1995) writes that "snowball sampling uses a person, usually
an informant, as a source for locating other persons from whom a type of data
can be generated, who then refer the researcher to other persons, and so on" (p.
127). Lindlof notes that a strength of this method is 'its efficiency in finding sites
or persons whose attributes are central to the research problem" (p. 127).
The author organized and moderated a panel of academics and
international radio professionals for a national conference. Two of the panelists
were Patrick Bureau, Marketing Product Manager for Radio Broadcast, Thales
Broadcast and Multimedia, and Dr. Kim Andrew Elliot, a producer, presenter, and
researcher at Voice of America. Both Bureau and Elliot provided the author with
information about their dealings with Radio Australia and with other broadcasters
around the world. They suggested the author contact Roger Broadbent at Radio
Australia. The author contacted Broadbent who was able to provide some very
important information about Radio Australia and who then put the author in
contact with listeners to Radio Australia from around the world. Some of those
listeners also listened to All India Radio and were able to provide some
information on programming for that station. One listener also mailed
programming information to the author.
The author used the Google search engine and the keywords "All India
Radio external and shortwave" to search the Internet. One of the results from
the search was a web page hosted by a shortwave hobbyist who had visited
stations in India. The author contacted this listener asking for information about,
or contacts within, All India Radio. That listener forwarded the message to a
Yahoo Discussion group devoted to Indian radio. The original message from the
author was also forwarded to other shortwave discussion groups and the author
received responses from various listeners and from a shortwave broadcaster in
England with whom the author was able to interview by phone, and who mailed
the author information pertaining to All India Radio. The author was also
contacted by a journalist in India who provided some information and was able to
connect the author with a person working for Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting
Corporation of India).
It is important for qualitative researchers to have data that are believable.
The readers of studies conducted using qualitative methods need to have
confidence that the right interpretations were reached. There are several
methods qualitative researchers use to attempt to arrive at plausible
interpretations (Lindlof, 1995). Triangulation, negative case analysis, and
member checks are those particularly applicable to research on the radio
stations. What follows is a brief description of these methods and how they were
used to ensure valid and reliable research material.
Triangulation involves analyzing and interpreting more than one type of
evidence. Triangulation can involve multiple sources, multiple methods, or
multiple investigators. Even if triangulation provides different outcomes, it may
be that the different methods lead to different interpretations of the same event.
For example, in a study on VCR use, Lindlof (1995) used analysis of a diary,
interviews with participants, and observation to understand whether the operation
of a VCR was the domain of the male in the home (p. 239).
Triangulation in the study on Radio Australia and All India Radio
necessitated finding at least two other independent sources to corroborate the
information from the first source. It also involved using more than one type of
evidence. For example, All India Radio newscasts were listened to (these were
earlier referred to as the product). After listening to the newscasts, the author
read transcripts of the newscasts and conducted a content analysis of the type of
stories covered. The researcher then read documents governing All India Radio
news stating what was and was not acceptable in the coverage of news (what
Pauly referred to as practice). Finally, the researcher interviewed a former news
editor with All India Radio and an employee of the Ministry of External Affairs to
obtain his perspective as an employee of both the station and the government
department responsible for foreign policy (this is a combination of practice and
commentary). By using different methods including content analysis, textual
analysis, and interviews, the researcher was able to garner a much clearer
understanding of why the news was presented the way it was.
Similarly, the researcher read government press release interviews with
government ministers and other documents from the late 1990s describing the
cuts in funding and staff at Radio Australia. He also read the report from the
person who chaired the committee urging the change in funding. The researcher
then read press reports from around the region at that time to gain an idea of
how the media perceived the cuts and what reaction there was to the cuts.
Finally, the researcher read transcripts from an interview with the General
Manager of Radio Australia detailing in depth his perspective on what happened
and how it changed Radio Australia. Finally, the researcher also communicated
with a staff member at Radio Australia and with listeners to the station for some
of their thoughts on what happened at the time of the cuts. These are all multiple
sources and multiple methods used to provide a complete picture of what
happened when the government cut funding for the station.
Negative Case Analysis
A negative case analysis is where, as a researcher develops a hypothesis,
new data are put to the test of the hypothesis. If the new data confirm the
hypothesis, it becomes stronger; but if the data disconfirm the hypothesis, the
analyst restructures the hypothesis to fit the new data. The researcher keeps
comparing data to the hypothesis until no more negative cases are left. This
method serves to develop a correct interpretation of the phenomena being
Again, an appropriate example is that of the All India Radio newscasts.
Having concluded the content analysis, the researcher made several
observations based on hearing the newscasts and reading the transcripts. Then,
after reading the guidelines for news content on All India Radio, the initial
hypothesis was confirmed. Finally, information from the interview with the
newscaster necessitated that the researcher alter slightly the hypothesis in order
to fully reflect what was occurring.
A member check often comes near the end of fieldwork and is a process
where the interpretations of the researcher are critiqued by members of the
group or culture (insiders) and outsiders (to the project). This may also add new
information or insights to the project (Lindlof, 1995). Member checks serve as a
form of cross-reference where interpretations the researcher has made while
conducting fieldwork can be validated by members of the group being studied.
Member checks in terms of the study on All India Radio and Radio
Australia served also as negative case analysis in instances. The researcher
used insiders (current or former staff members of the stations) to critique the
interpretations being made as well as outsiders (in some cases listeners to the
stations) to critique what was stated. This served to confirm or disconfirm
observations made by the researcher.
Case studies were created from the research conducted on Radio
Australia and All India Radio. Case studies can be classified into explanatory,
exploratory, or descriptive studies. This dissertation encompasses all three
aspects. It explains how and why the stations are being used by their
governments, it is very much exploratory in nature as no such research has been
conducted previously so there are no previous findings to guide the research,
and it is descriptive in that the research describes the relationship between Radio
Australia and All India Radio and the other parts in the system: the environment,
the government, the intermediary, and the audience.
The case study is a comprehensive strategy encompassing many different
types of evidence, using a triangulated method, and benefitting from "the prior
development of theoretical propositions to guide data collection and analysis"
(Yin, 1994, p. 13). Yin (1994) also notes that case studies as a method have
been maligned by those who may argue that this method is not rigorous or
reliable, especially when compared to quantitative research methods. According
to Platt (1992), case studies have been seen as ideal for exploratory research
but that experimental research was the best way to conduct explanatory or
causal research. Case studies were not seen as the best way to test or describe
In terms of generalizability, Yin (1994) states that the case study itself
does not represent a sample and therefore cannot be generalized to any specific
population. However, the case study can be used to expand and generalize
theories. And, the information gleaned from a case study can be used to
enhance further research into a given area.
This research uses general systems theory to describe the systems in
which Radio Australia and All India Radio operate. From that theory, a
framework and model was developed to describe how and why Radio Australia
and All India Radio are used by their respective governments. The results of the
research cannot be generalized to other parts of the world, but it can be used to
aid in the understanding of how and why governments use their international
stations. It can also be used to show how looking at international broadcasting
from a systemic perspective aids in understanding the many influences on an
international radio station.
The author used a number of sources to obtain information about
international radio broadcasting, and more specifically about All India Radio,
Radio Australia, and their respective governments. The next section looks at the
sources used to gather research material.
Interviews and E-mails
Interviews were conducted via the telephone, face-to-face, and via e-mail.
E-mail was a useful tool in gathering information. The writer was able to contact
the subject as questions arose throughout the study and the subject was able to
provide information back to the author at the subject's convenience. For
example, if the author asked the subject a question and the subject did not have
the information readily available, the subject had the freedom to find out the
information and get back to the author. E-mail also provided the writer with the
ability to print out the answers to questions from the subject. The downside is
that the subject may not always be diligent about finding out the information, and
may need to be reminded. E-mail was also used as a means to make initial
contact with people. Most of the people stated to the author that they would
prefer to correspond via e-mail unless more information was sought.
E-mail also enabled listeners to the various stations to be able to contact
the writer. For example, an employee at Radio Australia mentioned on his radio
program about the author's work and invited listeners to contact the author via
e-mail with information. The employee also contacted people he knew who were
reputable and knowledgeable in international broadcasting suggesting that they
contact the author. Many of these listeners lived overseas and in remote areas
such as the Canary Islands or Africa. E-mail was a convenient and cost-effective
way of the listeners contacting the author. In addition, some of the people were
traveling, and it was impossible to contact them by phone. E-mail made it more
convenient to contact them.
There are, however, several negatives associated with the use of e-mail.
The researcher is not able to verify the person is who they say they are,
particularly when receiving e-mails from listeners. In many cases, the author
relied on the fact that although he did not know the people personally, they were
known by a third party (such as the employee of the radio station) who was able
to vouch for them.
There are also concerns about security and confidentiality of e-mails.
Although this did not appear to be a factor in many of the communications, it is a
legitimate concern. Respondents may be unwilling to completely share their
opinion for fear that it may cause ramifications from an employer. Also, while it is
possible to gain some idea of a person's feelings from an e-mail, it is impossible
to note changes in one's voice, hesitancy in responding to a question, and other
A review also was conducted of List-Servs1 regarding shortwave radio.
The List-Servs provide interesting discussion of topics regarding shortwave
broadcasting. List-Servs also provide links to documents and articles, and also
primary documentation that may not be available elsewhere. Some of the people
involved are editors of publications or employees of international stations and
have valid and important observations. Permission was sought from individuals if
their personal opinion was used. There was never a case where a person did
not give permission for their opinion to be used. However, should that have
occurred, and depending on the importance of the opinion, the researcher would
have not used that material, or sought a way to use the opinion without
identifying the source. Where an e-mail provided a link to an article or other
means of information, then the citation for the article or web page was cited.
In the case of India, a news/discussion group provided some extremely
valuable contacts and information. Participants in this group are individuals
interested in broadcasting in India. They frequently post schedules,
'List-servs are electronic mailing lists where a user subscribes to the list via e-
mail and is able to send and receive messages from others on the list. List-servs
are often organized around a specific topic and are useful for the exchange of
ideas or information regarding the topic.
programming information, and other data that are public knowledge but difficult to
Internet, Newspapers, Books, and Journals
Information was gathered from newspaper articles about the stations or
about the state of international broadcasting in general. The terrorist attacks in
America on September 11, 2001, brought an increased number of newspaper
and magazine articles about the virtues, or lack thereof, of international
Policy documents and programming documents were obtained from the
web sites of the various organizations and from listeners to the two stations. The
web sites of All India Radio (http://www.indiaradio.com/), Radio Australia
(www.abc.au.net/ra), The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (www.abc.net.au), the
Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.dcita.gov.au/Subject_Entry_Page/
0,,0_1-2_1,00.html), The Indian Ministry of Communication (http://mib.nic.in/) were
used extensively. Documents obtained from these web sites included annual
reports, charters, and policy documents. Both the Australian and Indian
governments produce reports each year that review the foreign policy of the
govemment, its priorities and its relationships with other states. Many of these
documents were in the form of .pdf files. Some of the information from these sites
was taken at face value; but, as noted earlier in the section on triangulation,
every effort was made to cross check all information used with other sources to
Finally, as mentioned in Chapter 2, books dealing exclusively with
international broadcasting were also valuable. Books such as Passport to World
Band Radio (Magne, 2001) and the World Radio and Television Handbook
(1997) provided information on schedules, programming, and an understanding
of the culture that is international broadcasting. Information gleaned from these
books also served to validate the credentials of people on list-servs or other
news groups the author used to gather information. Some of the people wrote
articles in the books, served in an advisory capacity to the authors or publishers
of the books, or were themselves included in the articles.
Having discussed the methodology and sources used to gather data, the
next chapter is a case study on the use of Radio Australia by the Australian
government. The chapter starts with a brief historical overview of the station
followed by an analysis of the use of the station based on the criteria mentioned
in Chapter 1.
AUSTRALIA AND RADIO AUSTRALIA
This chapter examines the extent that the Australian government's foreign
policy goals are reflected in the charter and programming of Radio Australia.
The first section of the chapter describes the evolution of the Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade over the years since Australia gained independence
from Britain. The section also contains an overview of Australia's treaties,
alliances, and foreign aid structure and priorities. This is important as it shows
which regions or population groups are important to Australia so it can then be
determined how, or if, those groups are also targeted through the programming
on Radio Australia. This is followed by a section outlining the history of Radio
Australia. These two sections provide a context and a foundation for the model
that describes the system in which Radio Australia operates.
The final section of the chapter describes and analyzes the role of
government ownership in Radio Australia's operation; the role of an intermediary
between the government and the station, which, in this case, is the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the parent company of Radio Australia; the
program philosophy of, and programming offered by Radio Australia, and the role
of external influences on Radio Australia.
Australian Geography, History, and Demography
Australia is an island continent located in Oceania between the Indian
Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The total land area of the country is around
7,686,850 square kilometers, or by comparison, almost as large as the
contiguous 48 U.S. states (see Figure 1).
,'INDONESiAr MA',( AEWiSI [A
.' A ', F L 1 ; ;" ; r
I-,- Ausn "-CANBERRA'
Indian Occan 0 ona,
cew R d Tasmania
Source: CIA World Factbook, 2001a
Figure 4-1. Map of Australia
Through the years Australia has played a pivotal role in the world system
particularly as regards defense. Australia suffered greatly in World War I with
60,000 deaths and in World War II with around 27,000 casualties. Australia's
geographic location meant it was involved in Asia and the Pacific, but it also
came under the threat of invasion and northern parts of Australia were bombed
during World War II. According to the Australian Department of Defense, WWII
led to the development of a new friendship as
Australia's traditional great-power ally, the United Kingdom, was defeated
in Asia and soon reassessed its security role in the region. This led
Australia to look to another 'great and powerful friend', the United States.
Thus began Australia's most important defense relationship since the end
of the Second World War. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002c, p. 3)
Department of External Affairs
Following independence from Britain in 1901, the Australian government
created seven government departments including the Department of External
Affairs, which was responsible for immigration and territorial issues. Although
Australia had gained independence, the United Kingdom largely conducted
external affairs (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002b, p. 1). By 1919 Australia
began to reach out to other regions, with the decision that "an Australian Trade
Commissioner should be immediately appointed in Egypt and anywhere else in
the Near or Far East and other places where opportunities for trade appear to
offer" (p. 1). Other trade commissioners were appointed to the East Indies,
Mesopotamia, China, Japan, India, South Africa, South America, and Siberia.
In 1935 the Department of External Affairs became a separate Foreign
Office, and in 1939 began administering the overseas diplomatic service. Also in
1939 a "Department of Information was established in Acton, Australian Capital
Territory, the first institutionalized effort to promote Australia internationally"
(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001a, p. 1). According to the Australian Bureau
of Statistics, at the outbreak of World War II the Department of Information
consisted of 29 permanent staff. Overseas representation comprised an officer
attached to the British Embassy in Washington, and another whose job was
liaison with the Foreign Office in Washington. It was not until 1946 that Australia
officially had an embassy in Washington, DC.
In 1970 the Department of External Affairs was renamed the Department
of Foreign Affairs, and it reorganized to reflect issues rather than geography in
1974. In 1987 it merged with other departments to become the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Aid, Alliances, and Treaties
Some of the treaties that have been signed and efforts at cooperation with
other countries in the Asia-Pacific region are important in illustrating the climate
in which Radio Australia operates. Australia's aid program is a key component of
Australia's foreign policy and shows which countries or regions have been or are
foreign policy priorities for the Australian government.
Following independence, and after establishing that it was able to function
on its own, Australia began to formulate and implement a foreign policy and to
distribute foreign aid. The initial beneficiary of this aid was Papua New Guinea, a
country under Australia's administration. By the 1950s the major recipient of aid
was still Papua New Guinea along with India. In addition, Australia's foreign aid
policy began to be more focused (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001b).
According to Year Book Australia, 2001,
by the mid 1950s, aid decisions continued to be strongly influenced by
political considerations, but as more countries became fully independent,
and with changing international perceptions, the motives underlying the
Australian aid program began to change. Due to Australia's historical links
to Papua New Guinea, aid to this country remained at two-thirds of the
total aid program. In the 1960s South-East Asia gradually gained more
importance than South Asia, with Indonesia overtaking India as the
second largest recipient of aid. Progressively Australian aid became no
longer tied to countries that were members of the British Commonwealth.
(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001a, p. 1)
In the 1960s and early 1970s various development agencies were formed
to assist with the dispersion of aid to countries in need. In 1970 less than 10% of
Australian aid went to multilateral organizations, compared to over a quarter of all
aid today. In addition, Australia began to refine its aid program and, rather than it
being administered by several government departments, it was brought under the
umbrella of the Australian Development Assistance Agency later to be known as
the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) (Australian
Bureau of Statistics, 2001a).
By the 1980s Australia refocused its aid program even more and began to
provide aid for individual countries based on three main objectives: humanitarian
assistance, support for Australia's strategic interests, and promotion of Australia's
commercial position (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001a, p. 2). The
government decided that the geographic focus for aid should be Papua New
Guinea, the South Pacific, and South-East Asia. Australian foreign aid policy
focused on several areas including agriculture, infrastructure development,
health, population planning, and urban development (p. 2).
In 1996 a government-commissioned review led to "the adoption of a
single clear object for the aid program: to advance Australia's national interest by
assisting developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable
development" (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001a, p. 2). Papua New Guinea,
the South Pacific, and East Asia were the areas of priority for aid, with particular
focus on health, education, rural development, and governance. Two specific
developmental issues that were highlighted were "the promotion of gender equity
and the maximization of environmental sustainability" (p. 2). Australia gives
around US$250 million annually to countries in the Pacific region.
The countries Australia is most actively involved with are those countries,
"which are influential in shaping Australia's strategic environment, as well as
being significant trading and investment partners" (Australian Bureau of
Statistics, 2002a). Leading the way is Australia's relationships with the United
States, Japan, China and closer to home, Indonesia. Other important
relationships are those with the other states of the Association of South East Asia
Nations' (ASEAN), the European Union and its member states, the Republic of
Korea, and New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Australia's strong ties with the United States benefit both countries as it
"reinforces Australia's practical commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as
strengthening the engagement of the United States in the region" (Australian
Bureau of Statistics, 2002a, p. 1). The U.S. is Australia's second largest trading
partner behind Japan and the largest source of investment. Japan is also ranked
first as a source of in-bound tourism.
Australia's relations with China are developing, and the Australian
government believes China's relationship with Australia, Japan and the United
States is crucial for maintaining long-term peace and security in the region.
Since 2001 efforts have increased to encourage Chinese participation in dialogue
'ASEAN member states are Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
over regional security. China is Australia's third largest merchandise trade
partner, and although the two countries "do not always share the same view...
regular dialogue and government-to-government exchanges have been
established on a range of issues-from human rights to security issues-in a bid
to discuss differences of opinions" (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002a, p. 2).
Indonesia is one of Australia's closest neighbors and although relations
have been strained due to the conflict in East Timor, efforts are being made to
repair the damage. According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade (DFAT) Annual Report 2000-01 (2002),
the department, including through the Embassy in Jakarta, worked
steadily in 2000-01 to rebuild a constructive and realistic relationship with
Indonesia based on mutual respect and wide-ranging, practical
cooperation.... In our discussions with Indonesian government during
the year, we conveyed Australia's strong support for democratic,
constitutional processes and for human rights in Indonesia. Australian
development assistance was targeted to support these objectives. (p. 15)
In 1999 Australia led the multinational peacekeeping force in East Timor
handing the responsibility to the United Nations as the elections took place in
2001. Australia continues to be one of the largest donors of aid to the fledgling
state. Australia also led an International Peace Monitoring Team to the Solomon
Islands due to ethnic violence in that region. It also played a role in restoring
peace in Fiji and in Papua New Guinea.
Radio Australia is one of the oldest government owned international
broadcast stations in the world. At times it has enjoyed strong support from the
government, while at other times it has come perilously close to being shut down.
This section examines the history of Radio Australia and its relationship with the
Radio Australia History
Radio Australia began shortwave broadcasting in 1939 after a request
from the British for help in countering propaganda being disseminated by the
Germans. The Australian government agreed to the request but could not decide
who should control the new service. Eventually, several government agencies
cooperated: The Department of Information would prepare the content of the
programs; the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)2 would provide the
broadcast personnel and translation services to present the programs, and the
Postmaster-General's Department, would take care of technical matters
(Thomas, 1980). The service officially began broadcasting on December 20,
1939. Prime Minister Menzies opened the station noting,
Our reasons for establishing broadcasts of this kind may be quite simply
stated. We have decided that over some of the propaganda stations to
which you listen, so many strange things are said, not only about
Australia, but about the whole of the British Empire, that the time has
come to speak for ourselves. ... My purpose is to tell you something
about Australia and the war. Something about why it is that although we
are twelve thousand miles from Europe we are nevertheless involved in a
European war and in full partnership with Great Britain and its conduct.
(as cited in Hodge, 1995, p. 8)
The broadcasts always began with the sound of a native Australian bird,
the kookaburra, and with broadcasts in English, French, German, Dutch, and
Italian. Initial broadcasts focused on parts of Europe, India, South Africa and the
Americas. As is typical of any international station, the languages used, and the
22 The ABC is a body governing public service broadcasting in Australia and
funded by the government.
areas of the world targeted depended on the priority of the Australian
government. These priorities changed according to developments in the war.
Disagreement continued throughout the war as to which department was
best suited to control the station. The ABC wanted control because it had
experienced staff that could put together professionally sounding programs. In
addition, there would be less chance of governmental interference if the ABC had
control. The Department of Information felt the ABC, as a public service
broadcaster, would be beholden to the Australian taxpayers who would be
unlikely to want to spend money on a service targeting an overseas audience.
This would increase the chance the station would be eliminated or given less of a
priority than a government department would give it (Thomas, 1980).
By 1941 the ABC was responsible for news broadcasts, but the
Department of Information was in charge of all propaganda. The government
created another department a year later to coordinate the propaganda war
against Japan. The Political Warfare Committee included staff from the
Australian Chiefs of Staff, Department of Information, Department of Defense,
and External Affairs. Thomas (1980) points out that at times it was difficult to
know which department was responsible for what task. He quotes a letter from
William Ball, the controller of the shortwave division of the Department of
Off the record, I get a bit annoyed with all these discussions about the
right machinery for political warfare. We have in our own way, and often
in a pretty poor and amateurish way, been carrying on political warfare for
two and a half years. If we waited till we had got the right machinery we
would never have done anything. (as cited in Thomas, 1980, p. 15)
Radio Australia was beset with a number of problems that influenced the
scope of the broadcasts. Money for the shortwave service was not readily
available, and there was little qualified staff available, particularly with expertise
in foreign languages.
There were also technical problems. Radio Australia was broadcasting
with transmitters of 2 kilowatts (kw) and 10 kw. In contrast, the "enemy"
(Thomas, 1980, p. 117) had transmitters of 50 kw and 100 kw. Despite these
many obstacles, Radio Australia broadcast in "French to Indo-China, in Mandarin
to Chungking, in Malay and Dutch to the Netherlands East Indies, in Thai to
Bangkok, and in Japanese to New Guinea and the South Pacific" (p. 117).
The broadcasts were mainly news bulletins and short programs that
seemed to capture aspects of Japanese culture while defeating the Japanese
morale. The broadcasts contained reports that the Japanese leadership was
dishonorable, and that surrender would not be inconsistent with personal honor
(Thomas, 1980). Unlike many other countries, Australia also used the shortwave
medium for internal broadcasts. This meant that listeners in "enemy countries"
(p. 117) could also hear the domestic service of the ABC. This caused problems
for those coordinating the propaganda efforts. The director of information at the
time Japan entered the war was Charles Holmes. He noted to a colleague that
"it is inevitable that many news bulletins and commentaries which it is perfectly
proper and desirable to broadcast to Australians are not all adapted for the
presentation of the Australian scene to overseas listeners" (as cited in Hodge,
1995, p. 20). According to Hodge (1995) even though shortwave bulletins were
submitted to the censor for clearance, there were discrepancies between
broadcasts on the internal and external services, and the Japanese made the
most of it. He writes,
In a commentary about fighting in the Solomons in late 1942, the
shortwave service was careful not to report that the main airfield had been
badly damaged, Japanese troops had made another landing, the
Japanese had superiority in tanks and aircraft, the Americans needed
reinforcements and the situation was critical. But an ABC news bulletin
broadcast on domestic shortwave reported all these details, and Radio
Batavia, in enemy occupied Indonesia drew attention to the contrast in the
tone of the two broadcasts. (p. 21)
Another problem faced by the Australians was that two contradictory
messages were being broadcast over shortwave. On the one hand, Australia
wanted to broadcast reports to the Japanese emphasizing Australian victories
and painting a bleak picture of Japan's war efforts. On the other hand, the
Australian government wanted more aid from the United States. Australia, in its
shortwave broadcasts reaching the United States, did not want to appear too
confident and in control in case the Americans got the idea that Australia did not
need United States aid. Hodge (1995) makes the point that the awareness of the
contradictions and discrepancies in the shortwave broadcasts, forced "the
Australian propagandists to be reasonably consistent in the story they told to
their audiences in Asia and the United States, [and] helped to 'keep Radio
Australia honest' and, by enhancing its credibility, probably increased its
effectiveness among its target audiences" (p. 22).
In 1942 control of Radio Australia was given to the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation, but control of political policy for the station, which
amounted to most of the broadcasts, rested with the Department of External
Affairs. What little influence the ABC had over Radio Australia ended in 1944
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