Negotiating power: community media, democracy, and the public sphere

Given the centrality of communication to society, who ‘owns’ the media, who gets to speak on behalf of whom, and to what end are critical issues. The regression of ‘mainstream’ media from ‘watchdogs’ of democracies to business ventures resulting in Habermasian ‘refeudalisation of the public sphere’ is worrying. Community media re-engage communities on the periphery, opening possibilities for social change. The dominance of mainstream players in media governance, complicated by sustainability concerns of grassroots enterprises, result in legislation that impedes the potentiality of community media access and participation – as mapped in this paper with the case of community radio struggle in India.