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South Asian diaspora and the BBC World Service: contacts, conflicts and contestations

Gillespie, Marie; Pinkerton, Alasdair; Baumann, Gerd and Thiranagama, Sharika (2010). South Asian diaspora and the BBC World Service: contacts, conflicts and contestations. South Asian Diaspora, 2(1) pp. 3–25.

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This article sets out the analytical framework of this special issue and outlines the development of BBC radio broadcasting in South Asia. It analyses the ways in which the BBC in South Asia is integrally and indissolubly intertwined with 'critical events' and shifting geopolitical priorities: from the imperial and diasporic imaginings of the Empire Service, to its dissolution and the expansion of South Asian language services during World War II for the purpose of countering 'enemy broadcasts'; from independence, partition and decolonisation, including the BBC's subsequent role in mediating postcolonial conflicts and wars and Cold War tensions, to its most recent 'war on terror' phase with its unspoken aim of promoting a British version liberal democracy around the globe. The article highlights how the often intimate engagements of diverse audiences in South Asia and its diasporas with the BBC have changed in response to technological innovation and geopolitics. We emphasise the distinctiveness of the BBC voice, especially the 'right kind of diasporic voice', and its acoustic power and presence in South Asia. We highlight how the rapid expansion of South Asian mediascapes - especially in India is unsettling the privileged position that the BBC South Asian services have enjoyed for nearly eight decades. Digital technologies are facilitating the emergence of 'digital diasporas' as South Asians across the world log on to consume news with alternative perspectives to news providers in South Asia and to engage in diasporic debates, often with unintended and unforeseen consequences.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1943-8192
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetAHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council)
Extra Information: Special Issue: South Asian Diaspora and the BBC World Service: Contacts, Conflicts and Contestations
Keywords: BBCWS; diasporic South Asian broadcasters; contact and conflict zones; voice and power; diasporic diplomacy
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 26752
Depositing User: Marie Gillespie
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:33
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2018 08:10
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