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Voice, alienation and the struggle to be heard: a case study of community radio programming in South Africa

Autor: Stanley Tsarwe
Revista: Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies Nº 28 (2)
Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02560046.2014.906345#.VUjsCPntlHw

In post-apartheid South Africa, how possible is it for community radio to dissociate from elite practices in terms of media creation and consumption that reflect inclusive and participatory public spheres? This article is based on a study of a current affairs community radio show, Lunchtime Live.

The show attempted to capture diverse voices, to offer balanced perspectives between powerful political elites and ordinary citizens, and to create spaces for ordinary citizens in a rural South African town, Grahamstown, to participate in public spheres with the aim of fostering inclusive public discussion and accountability.

However, high levels of poverty and inequality made this aspect of citizenship unattainable, especially in view of the costs involved with participating in studio discussions through audience-initiated phone calls. While the diction used on Lunchtime Live was couched in struggle and revolutionary language and pitted the community against the authorities, the audience discussions revealed that the community felt alienated, and that the chasm between them and their leaders may be widening.

This was because of the perception that Lunchtime Live shows were, ab initio, tainted by elite participation and frames, which turned many potential and actual audiences against it.