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Expanding access and participation through a combination of community radio and mobile phones: The experience of Malawi

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Community radio is one of the resources that can give ordinary or disenfranchised people a voice. This opportunity can be increased through the combination of community radio and mobile phones. Using focus group discussions, face-to-face interviews and observations, this article examines how this combination can improve ordinary people’s participation in media production and in public life in Malawi. It also examines the extent to which marginalized people are using mobile phones to voice their concerns through community radio in Malawi. I argue that the proliferation of mobile phones can accord community radio stations increased ability to give people a voice through use of text messaging and phone-in programmes. It can also expand the resources with which ordinary people have a voice. When people are accorded the right to voice their concerns and be heard, they can remove a major communication barrier that prevents them from enjoying the life they value.
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Keywords: community radio; development; marginalized people; mobile phones; voice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Leicester

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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