A Voice for the Voiceless; the struggle to establish community radio in Laos

Mary Traynor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The communist state of Laos is classified by the United Nations as a ‘least developed country’. Many of the 5.5 million inhabitants live in remote rural areas, with poor access to public services and communications systems and there are many different ethnic groups and distinct languages. All media is owned by the government and the radio landscape is dominated by Lao National Radio, broadcasting in Lao. The media rights pressure group Reporters Without Borders suggests that Lao media "only puts out news that is favourable to the communist regime”. Furthermore, Laos is saturated with media from neighbouring countries – China, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as the USA, France and UK. It’s hard to see how community radio, with its remit of grass roots participation and providing an alternative voice to mainstream media, could be possible in Laos. Against all the odds, Khoun Community Radio for Development, the country’s first community radio station, began in 2008. This case study utilises original source material from radio station employees, volunteers, listeners, government officials and media consultants conducted in Laos in 2009. In a political, historical and social context, it considers the future of community radio in Laos.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationN/A
Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Jan 1990
Event Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association - St Louis,Missouri.
Duration: 2 Apr 20102 Apr 2010


Conference Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association


  • laos
  • community radio
  • media for development


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