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A history of the federal jurisdiction of wireless and broadcasting in Puerto Rico, 1898--1952: A case study in dependency

Carlos Alfredo Vivoni-Remus, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

Through a historical narrative that considers the asymmetric relationship between the United States (U.S.) and Puerto Rico (P.R.), based on a dependency conceptual framework, major external (U.S.) and internal (P.R.) factors were analyzed to provide an interpretation that explains the federal jurisdiction of wireless and broadcasting in P.R.^ The different governmental structures approved by the U.S. Congress for the purpose of local government in the island of P.R.--the Foraker Act of 1900, the Jones Act of 1917, the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950, and the Commonwealth status of 1952--as well as the activities of Puerto Rican groups were examined to determine how they challenged and/or supported the federal jurisdiction of wireless and broadcasting in the island.^ Federal regulations approved by the U.S. Congress to regulate wireless and broadcasting in the U.S.--the Wireless Ship Act of 1910, the Radio Act of 1912, the Radio Act of 1927, and the Communications Act of 1934--were examined to determine their impact in P.R. The activities of governmental and non-governmental U.S. groups, related to the wireless and broadcasting field, affecting Congressional actions and/or their direct actions in the island also entered the analysis.^ Based on Congressional documents, archival information, interviews, and other sources, the narrative developed in this dissertation describes a process whereby external factors were fundamental in determining the federal jurisdiction of wireless and broadcasting in P.R. To a large extent, the narrative details a colonial process whereby the U.S. government attempted, with relative success, to Americanize the island. The extension of federal jurisdiction to the island was imposed. As a consequence of the regulatory structure in the P.R. the "market model" prevailed in framing broadcasting in the island and commercial imperatives became the basis over which broadcasting would operate.^ The internal factors that played a role in the development of wireless and broadcasting regulation in P.R. were characterized by consent to U.S. hegemony, conceptual underdevelopment and timid initiatives circumscribed by Congressional limits. ^

Subject Area

Latin American history|American history|Mass communication

Recommended Citation

Vivoni-Remus, Carlos Alfredo, "A history of the federal jurisdiction of wireless and broadcasting in Puerto Rico, 1898--1952: A case study in dependency" (1991). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9207466.
https://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI9207466

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