The Glass House Revisited: Radio Broadcasting and the Blind Spots in the Late Colonial State in the Netherlands Indies, 1920s and 1930s
The advent of radio broadcasting had a big impact on the Dutch East Indies in the interwar years, with the medium-wave station Nederlansch-Indische Omroep Maatschappij (NIROM) attracting many listeners from the archipelago. Contemporary Dutch elites believed that the new medium could seriously influence colonial power hierarchies and as a result radio was both celebrated and feared by them. This chapter explores how these ambivalent visions on radio broadcasting translated into attempts from the colonial administration to control broadcasts. By using the archives of the organization that was responsible for monitoring radio-broadcasts of the NIROM this contribution will not only reveal the fundamental views on the societal impact of radio amongst colonial elites, but also reflect on the limits of their power.