‘Information After Imperialism’: British Overseas Representation and Francophone Africa (1957–1967)
British broadcasters imagined an emerging market for their cultural products in the last days of Empire, seeking to ensure that ‘Information after Imperialism’ remained a profitable enterprise. BBC funders considered its role in external representation a national asset, and believed that expanding overseas investment in this way would serve Britain’s long-term interests. This called for a form of development broadcasting beyond its own former colonies, especially in West Africa, with new vernacular services in French and Hausa. Yet this was a crowded marketplace, with competition from traditional imperial rivals, Cold War powers and also emergent non-aligned competitors. By analysing Franco-British broadcasting traditions, in particular, we can see how this asset was developed within the framework of an imagined market in which cultural value fluctuated.