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    037419
    Peer Reviewed

    Radio and family planning in Israel: letters to broadcasters.

    Shtarkshall R; Basker E

    Journal of Communication. 1985 Spring; 35(2):69-81.

    Diaspora Jewry is being diminished in numbers by intermarriage, assimilation, and a low birth rate. In Israel, the establishment has strongly pronatalist convictions and tends to see family planning as synonymous with promotion of the use of contraception to limit births. In 1978 and 1979, a series of programs entitled "It's Not A Children's Game" was broadcast on Israel's state-owned radio broadcasting system. The motto of the series was "to help families have as many children as they want, when they want them." Its goals were to give the public basic information about services and about various means of contraception or of fertility improvement. The letters to the radio station in response to these programs are analyzed in this study. Based on the form and content of the letters, one is able to derive information about the marital status, sex, residence, and religious observance of the letter writers and to classify them as primarily help-seekers or opinion-givers. Help-seeking letters were usually very clear and direct in their requests for help. The opinion-giving letters ranged from strongly negative to strongly positive about the program and the theme of family planning. These letters can provide insights about the specific group of people who sought information or help outside of their immediate surroundings. Thus, an analysis of the written responses to a radio series on family planning suggests that radio can offer a nonthreatening way to disseminate information on sensitive and controversial social issues, and that it is possible to tentatively identify subgroups with special needs.
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