This article describes the role of foreign radio propaganda in Portugal in the years that preceded and the years during World War II. It demonstrates how the BBC became the most effective weapon to counterattack the German propaganda in the country and comments on the strategies used by the British in order to reach the Portuguese public. Among those strategies the most important was the promotion of the objectivity of the broadcasts from London, as opposed to the German transmissions that were known for airing mainly ‘toxic propaganda’. Evidence is also presented according to which news bulletins and talks broadcast by the BBC were perceived by the receivers as independent from political interference while the Axis transmissions were mostly considered as airing ‘toxic information’, demonstrating how during the war British white propaganda became very effective in regards to its impact on the Portuguese public.
This article presents a case of political participation through radio broadcasting during World War II. Focusing on how the Portuguese listeners interacted with the transborder broadcasts from the BBC, it demonstrates how politically engaged citizens struggled to use a foreign station to disseminate their views on the country’s po- litical situation. Grounded on Pateman’s (1970) and Carpentier’s (2011) definitions of different levels of participation, it demonstrates that listeners were not given the ability to achieve full or maximal participation due to limitations imposed by organizational and political structures. Departing from this case, the article also reflects on how audi- ences interact with “traditional media”, questioning the widespread idea of radio listen- ers as passive agents and suggesting that an understanding of the political and social contexts in which media participation takes place is essential to ascertain the levels of empowerment given to the audiences.
This article presents an analysis of the role of transborder broadcasts during the Spanish Civil War. As a new medium at that time, radio had a strong impact not only on increasing the morale of the Franquist forces, but also on influencing military operations through the dissemination of strategic information concerning the progress of military operations. Mostly focusing on the role of Portuguese broadcasters, which clearly took the lead in supporting Franco during the first year of his revolt against the Spanish Republic, the author discusses the strategies used by the Lisbon dictatorship to support the Nationalists through radio despite never abandoning its official neutral position in the war. Finally, the article discusses how radio propaganda during the Spanish Civil War was used as a testing ground for its use in World War II.