Community media

Authored by: Clemencia Rodríguez

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:


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The term ‘community media’ means different things, depending on context. This entry explains the four main understandings of community media: 1) the Latin American tradition that conceives of community media as the media of marginalized communities and social justice; 2) the European tradition of community media as expression of local cultures; 3) the Indigenous/Aboriginal tradition, in which community media are used to strengthen cultural practice as power and resistance; and 4) the U.S. tradition of media activists’ continuous struggles against commercial media. In each geo-political context, community media emerged at the intersection of regulatory regimes, social movements toward more democratic media, and corporate take overs of media infrastructures. Therefore, community media take different shapes and forms, and the entry explains the multiple variants of the term. For example, while in Australia a national campaign legitimized community radio as early as the 1960s, in the United States community radio existed mainly as pirate radio until 2014. The entry defines the main theoretical contributions and presents key scholars, activists, and media initiatives of each tradition.

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