Information gap in the global village, unlikely; President Calderon’s nightmare
Photo/Media uniformity: Journalists of the major Mexican media after the agreement signing.
Times have changed the way that society informs themselves on national and world events. In this digital era, as we all know, the information travels in a speed never imagined. Today we can access to any news media outlet anywhere in the world by accessing the Internet on our laptop or any mobile device. The arrival of social network in the past few years, have not just transformed completely the way we interact, but also the way we consume information. In the past we had no other option but to relied on conventional media. There was little or no feedback between the news consumers and the news providers. Now, there is not just this feedback channel, but also the media outlets are relying on their consumers to provide them with amateur video and images of news events of places that they can not cover, due to different circumstances. We are definitely living in Marshall McLuhan’s global village.
Now, with all this global interconnection is impossible to think that there is room for censorship, even though certain governments have block certain websites that they considered a threat for their regimes or simply pull off the plug of the Internet, as it was the case in Egypt, however the cybernauts always found ways to bypass such censorship attempts and managed to get their word out to the world. We’ve seen it in the recent uprising in the Arab world, and lets not forget the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran, where foreign media was banned from covering this inspiring social movement led by the Iranian youth, despite all of this, the rest of the world was watching, on the Internet and TV, how events were unfolding in Tehran and other Iranian cities, thanks to amateur video and photographs provided by eye witnesses that were taking part in the peaceful protests. Definitely the Internet and the social media has become a powerful tool for society and a huge threat for world governments.
Mexico 2.0 Vs censorship
Mexico has 30,600,000 Internet users and according to the Mexican Internet Association, it estimates that 37% of urban homes posses at least one personal computer, in which 70% access to the web. A recent survey made by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Mexico, shows that there has been a significant increase on the use of mobile devices, and in a few years time it will become the main gateway for Mexicans to access the web.
Social networks have also become very popular in Mexico. Facebook has the lead with 20 million users, in which 70 % are very active, follow by Hi5, Sonico, MySpace and Twitter. Regard to the latter there are 4,103,200 users, but only 2, 480,000 are active, posting at least once a week.
In this troublesome times that Mexico is going through with the drug war and in the wake of an editorial criteria agreement recently signed by 715 media outlets throughout the country, were it establish a series of guidelines of how they will cover from now on the drug war; it all seems an attempt to cover up the drug related violence and just give out the official version. It is worth noting that President Calderon, for quit some time, have been urging the media to lower the tune regarding to this issue and focus more on the positive things that the country offers. The weekly magazine Proceso, in its issue #1795 27/03/11, points out, that President Calderon held a meeting on August 5th 2010, with the main media outlets owners, urging them “to be part of his drug war strategy, self-regulate their content, promote the idea that government is winning the battle, and do not interview criminals to avoid turning them into heroes”; all this is reflected on the agreement signed by the media outlets on March 24th.
I’m amazed that the Mexican government seriously believes that they will be able to vanish the country reality from the collective imagination of the Mexicans, by joining forces with the media. In what time and space they believe they are living? If non democratic regimes have attempt this and failed, what makes president Calderon believe that he will succeed?