When PSB is delivered by the ‘hand of God’: The case of Roman Catholic broadcast networks in Venezuela

This article explores the nature and extent of the delivery of public service broadcasting (PSB) by alternative models and actors in Latin America. The main hypothesis is that PSB is delivered in Venezuela not by the state but by the Roman Catholic Church. In looking at the case of the Instituto Radiofónico Fe y Alegría (IRFA) we argue that, contrary to what might be expected, this media outlet provides what by all standards can be described as PSB. The article is based on research sponsored by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and which included content analysis, semi-structured interviews and participatory observation for over three months in 2008. The article makes comparative reference to public service broadcasters in the United States and in Europe and aims to challenge traditional sources of knowledge regarding PSB.