Access to Information - The Widening Gap Essay example

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Access to Information - The Widening Gap

The “Digital Divide” is a buzz phrase heard today in North America. It refers to the growing divide between people who have and do not have access to information specifically via the internet. There are various forms of digital divides but the one that is the most despair is the global digital divide between industrialized countries and developing nations. Optimists feel that the internet and information it carries brings potential to societies of developing nations but pessimists feel that the internet offers no new potential for developing nations but rather it reinforces existing divisions of inequality. Various positive and negative outlooks will be delved into in this essay to give a
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The argument here is: how could the global digital divide be on the top of the agenda if these countries are not even having their basic needs met? “UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) emphasizes that most of the world’s population lacks basic access to a telephone, let alone a computer.” If developing countries lack traditional media and information communication technologies then it’s quite a reality that the internet will just be another piece of technology that creates a bigger gap between the information haves and have nots.

Although technology has always held potential as an engine of economic growth for transforming developing nations, critics argue that in practice this promise has often mainly served to benefit the industrialized worlds (Pippa, p6). The internet was originally an English text medium and although it is now graphic it is fair to say that it is still very much a text based, therefore users also must be literate. If basic literacy is a barrier to access most of the world poor could be excluded from the information revolution even if computing equipment became more widely available (Pippa, p59). “One fifth of the world’s population remains illiterate and the total rises to 40 percent or more of those living in Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Asia (Pippa, p59).” Not only must an internet user be literate but since most of the language on the internet is
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