Since radio was first introduced in Laos in 1939, it has mirrored the country’s tumultuous narrative, exploited by dominant and dissenting groups as a voice of government, subversion and revolution. Lao National Radio has been the official mouthpiece of the nation state since the Lao PDR was established in 1975. Until recently, this articulation of nation-status has remained largely unchallenged from within Laos, since independent ownership of media has been prevented by law. However, Laos’ current programme of modernisation includes a relaxation of some of the legislation surrounding media. A ‘Media Law’, introduced in 2008, has deregulated media ownership, creating tantalising opportunities for minority groups previously excluded from decision-making to use the power of radio as a means of expression. Community radio, with its underlying ethos of democratic, grass roots participation offers just such an opportunity. Thanks to the relaxation of media ownership legislation, Laos now has two community radio stations and an ambitious expansion programme is underway. However, the overall socio-economic and political environment in Laos is paradoxical and creates challenges both to the official voice of Lao National Radio and to community radio’s ability to represent alternative perspectives. It could be argued that Laos is engaged in a Jekyll and Hyde-style internal conflict to embrace globalisation and economic growth, whilst attempting to maintain centralised, patriarchal governance. In some ways, the modernisation of radio is a poignant example of this internal conflict and offers, in microcosm, a glimpse of the contradiction that is typical of modern day Laos.
|Title of host publication||N/A|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 1 Jan 1990|
|Event|| Association of south East Asian Studies UK - University of Cambridge|
Duration: 9 Sep 2011 → 9 Sep 2011
|Conference||Association of south East Asian Studies UK|
|Period||9/09/11 → 9/09/11|