Transborder broadcasting: warfare, propaganda, and public diplomacy on the airwaves

Nelson Ribeiro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter discusses how transborder broadcasts-i.e. those explicitly aimed at audiences located outside national borders-were used as tools of propaganda or public diplomacy, disseminating political ideologies and worldviews abroad. Covering the period between the 1920s and the 1990s, the chapter addresses how broadcasting was perceived since its inception, as a powerful medium to promote national interests abroad. In the interwar period the major players were the Soviet Union determined to spread Bolshevism, and the European imperial nations that used radio to connect with the white settlers living in the colonies. During the Second World War and the Cold War radio became a central medium to gain support among the audiences of enemy countries, which led the belligerents to invest in transborder broadcasts in a wide variety of foreign languages. As the chapter debates, even though it remains difficult in most cases to assess who was actually listening, governments acted as if large audiences were tuning in and available to be persuaded.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge companion to radio and podcast studies
EditorsMia Lindgren, Jason Loviglio
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781000586695
ISBN (Print)9780367432638
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Broadcasting
  • Media and colonialism
  • Media and propaganda


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