International Radio Broadcasting and Post-Conflict State-Building: the Case of Canada’s Rana FM
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 10:44 by David T Harmes
International Radio Broadcasting (IRB) has been used as a mass communication tool of the state since its inception in the early 1920s. Following its historic use in programs of propaganda, public diplomacy, psychological operations, and international development communication, the practice of IRB can also be found in a number of post-conflict statebuilding operations that are not well documented. Through a case study methodology this dissertation examines the nature of, and motivation for, the use of IRB in post-conflict state-building, as experienced by Canada’s Rana FM in contemporary Afghanistan (2006 – 2011). Using primary research from structured interviews with IRB practitioners and personal observation of IRB operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan, this study draws on information from directing staff, management, producers, on-air presenters, and technical staff; as well as a variety of sources including internal content analyses, opinion polling, and unclassified government documents. Using the strategic communication frameworks of propaganda and development communication, this study found IRBs to function as a form of ‘defensive propaganda’ that aims to reinforce the institutions of the developing state during the process of democratic reconstruction. IRBs in post-conflict state-building can be seen to function in a surrogate capacity that aims to become a creditable source of news and information, in order to maximize audience share and provide a platform for public discussion. This dissertation presents new empirical information on Canada’s IRB in Afghanistan, Rana FM, which operated from January 2007 to July 2011.