Fianna Fáil, the Irish Press and radio broadcasting 1926 – 1939: A voice for the people or party propaganda?
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Fianna Fáil was formally launched on 16 May 1926 in response to a desire among some members of the Free State population for a political party which represented those disenchanted with republican abstentionism and government austerity. Fianna Fáil aimed to win over such voters, in particular small farmers, farm labourers and the urban working class. They quickly succeeded in offering the electorate a political and cultural alternative to both Cumann na nGaedheal and the Labour party gaining power in 1932. From its first issue on 5 September 1931, the Irish Press newspaper provided Fianna Fáil with a voice in the media. An innovative paper, the Irish Press, reflected the needs and interests of its readers especially through its coverage of Gaelic games and culture. Radio broadcasting during the early years of the Irish Free State was operated directly by the State. Once Fianna Fáil came to power in 1932 they instigated changes to radio broadcasting content which reflected listeners’ desires. With such changes came renewed debate on whether broadcasting could continue to be considered a source of nation building or merely an instrument of government propaganda.
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