Community radio in Thailand in 1998-2002 : comparative studies of four community radio stations

  • Lucksana Klaikao

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Community radio in Thailand is an alternative to public, commercial and state radio with unique characteristics in that listeners can participate at all levels. Community radio varies considerably in its definitions as well as serving several purposes depending on its role in the nation's media system. However, its fundamental philosophy is similar in that radio is used to serve the needs and the interests of the community. Access and participation in small-scale media may not only empower the voiceless, but also maintain local identity and cultures. The reformation of the Thai broadcasting media system by Section 40 of the 1997 constitution and the 2000 Broadcasting Act has increased the chance for some communities to use radio to fulfill their community development needs. The aims of this thesis are: to explore Thai community radio in the broader context of community radio internationally; to examine Thai broadcasting policies on community radio; to explore the development of Thai community radio in relation to the wider liberalisation of the media between 1998 and 2002; and to analyse similarities and differences in station management, programming and audience reception in the four different models of community radio that developed in a range of different provincial Thai community radio stations. A comparative case study using qualitative research methods was used to examine the four case studies, namely at Petchaburi (PRD,1998) Nakhon Si Thammarat (MCOT,1998),Roi Et (INN,2000),and Kanchanaburi (people's radio,200 I). The contribution of this thesis lies in its exploration of different models of Thai community radio so as to illustrate different interpretations by several stakeholders of community radio discourse, as well as reflecting the constraints on community broadcasting caused by the political economy of the broadcasting system and regulatory inconsistencies. It concludes that community radio has not yet contributed to a more empowered media because of several constraints. Thai community radio did not pursue real participatory communication to empower its listeners. It merely widened the public space for local communities to have more choices for information community-based programs with phone-in formats that provided two way communication. Thai community radio has not created a wider liberalisation of the media, however, its development facilitated media democratisation through promoting the media reform process, and increasing the awareness of citizens' rights among ordinary people. Station manager and middle-class activists played important roles in putting forth local issues for public discussion. Increasing numbers of local people became alert to their rights to communicate as promised by the 1997 constitution, but unfortunately media reform lacked government support. The Thaksin government had an ambivalent attitude and contradictory policies towards community radio.
    Date of Award2004
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAlaine CHANTER (Supervisor), Jennifer KITCHENER (Supervisor) & Glen Lewis (Supervisor)

    Cite this