The Era of Fast Food Information: Danger for plurality
03 May 20120 comments
The Internet has undoubtedly increased the capacity of production of alternative content by marginalised groups, but the distribution and consumption of such content does not happen in order to ensure diversity in the network.
I'll explain: people continue to read or use information according to the merits of the producer, usually linked to the major traditional media groups. This is what I call "fast food information"- one that comes with the brand, without personality, without taste and is easy to digest.
With regards to broadcasting, one of the criteria used to determine the concentration of media is the audience. If we use the same criteria for the Internet, we see that the problem is the same. The audience on the Internet is highly concentrated. Even the business model of the large groups of internet companies is similar to broadcasting and based on the sale of our personal information or our attention, now, in the format of behaviour advertising. Social media seems to break with this logic, but they have still not raised the voice of those who have traditionally been excluded from the communication process - as demonstrated in research conducted by the JWT advertising agency that shows that social media is the reverb box of traditional media.
What to do about this situation?
Nothing must avoid the free flow of information and content on the Internet – as far as there are no banned fast food restaurants. The central point is not the availability of content, but the culture's consumption of information. Then, the solution to this problem also seems similar to the solution of nutritional education. Along our entire life, we were educated to read and "trust" in the fast food information. Therefore, the solution seems to be through educational practices, formal and non-formal, involving the stimulation of the plurality of available information for consumption, digital inclusion and media literacy.
I highlight that the plurality of ideas is fundamental to the realisation of other rights, as the introductory statement of the Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equalityremarks:
" Pluralism and diversity are hallmarks of freedom of expression. Realisation of the right to freedom of expression enables vibrant, multi-faceted public interest debate giving voice to different perspectives and viewpoints. Inequality results in the exclusion of certain voices, undermining this. The right of everyone to be heard, to speak and to participate in political, artistic and social life are, in turn, integral to the attainment and enjoyment of equality. When people are denied public participation and voice, their issues, experiences and concerns are rendered invisible, and they become more vulnerable to bigotry, prejudice and marginalisation."
Not having your voice heard is the same as not having a voice. So, concern with the diversity in the distribution and consumption of content is essential to freedom of expression.