The use of international radio broadcasting by regional powers in the post cold-war era


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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
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vi, 227 leaves : ; 29 cm.
Clark, Andrew M
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2003.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Andrew M. Clark.
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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



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




BROADCAST SCHEDULE .................................... 206

AUSTRALIA ........................................ .. 208


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



Andrew M. Clark

May 2003

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

from shortwave.

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.

Research Questions

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

seeking independence.

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.

Shortwave Overview

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

Telecommunications Union.

Technical Issues

Sky Waves

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).

Frequency Assignments

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

Netherlands, 2000).

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

international broadcasting:

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,
p. 583)

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

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.

Conceptual Framework

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"

(p. 121).

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

corrective feedback.

System Properties

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

Radio Station


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

governmental control.

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


Environmental Forces

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.
(p. 169)

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

international broadcasting.

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.


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

middle powers

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)

Pratt writes,

[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

and propaganda.

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

necessarily effective.

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

propaganda as

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

independent agency.

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

broadcasting stations.

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 ( 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

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.

Member Checks

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

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

emotional expressions.


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 (, Radio Australia

(, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (, the

Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (

0,,0_1-2_1,00.html), The Indian Ministry of Communication ( 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

ensure accuracy.

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.


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).

.' 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.

Foreign Aid

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.

Bilateral Relations

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

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

Australian government.

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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