Journal Article


Anne O'Brien
Niamh Gaynor



public participation social media community radio public service social change non profit community participation public sphere

Community radio, democratic participation and the public sphere (2017)

Abstract Community radio is unique when compared to its commercial and public service counterparts in that, as a non-profit activity, it is owned, managed and controlled by local communities, In theory therefore, community radio offers the potential for more broad-based participation in deliberation and debate within the public sphere engaging multiple voices and perspectives and contributing towards progressive social change. Drawing on a study of four community radio stations in Ireland within a framework drawn from the evolving work of Habermas and associated deliberative, social and media theorists, in this article we examine the extent to which this is the case in practice. We find that democratic participation is still not optimised within the four stations studied. We argue that the reasons for this lie in four main areas: a somewhat limited policy framework; a focus within training programmes on technical competencies over content; the weakness of linkages between stations and their local community groups; and the failure of the latter to understand the unique remit of community radio. The article draws lessons of specific interest to researchers and activists in these domains, as well as offering a framework to those interested in examining community media’s contribution to the re-animation of the public sphere more broadly.
Collections Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Academic Unit = Faculty of Social Sciences: Research Institutes: Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, MUSSI
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Type = Article
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Status = Published
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Academic Unit = Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy: School of English, Media & Theatre Studies: Media Studies

Full list of authors on original publication

Anne O'Brien, Niamh Gaynor

Experts in our system

Anne O'Brien
Maynooth University
Total Publications: 18
Niamh Gaynor
Dublin City University
Total Publications: 34