Airing imperium: A historiography of radio governance in South Asia

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The 1920s emerged as a landmark decade in the world history of radio, more particularly in South Asia. About a century later, this paper seeks to stitch together a critical historiography of radio governance in colonial South Asia. In doing so, the paper seeks to unravel colonial constructions, norms and rationalities associated with the modern medium of radio in the South Asian context. This paper draws on the works of Pinkerton, Zivin, Brayne, Potter and gleanings in their work of the autobiographical writings of Fielden and Reith, the first broadcasting controller of All India Radio and the general manager of the British Broadcasting Corporation, respectively, besides some official documents cited in these works pertaining to the goings-on in British South Asia and its broadcasting. Ultimately, this paper seeks to not only historicize the eventual decolonization and democratization that occurred, but also sets the stage to locate, understand and move towards sustainable media governance in a post-2015 world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-66
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal Media and Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Decolonization
  • democratization
  • historiography
  • radio governance
  • South Asia

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