University of São Paulo: Lack of quality internet access generates inequalities in communication

In contexts of technological and communication inequalities, disinformation and far-right discourses are strengthened. Media education and greater access to internet services to check content would be ways to mitigate these inequalities.

In an interview with Jornal da USP on Ar 1st Edition , professor Vitor Blotta, from the Department of Journalism and Publishing at the USP School of Communications and Arts (ECA), explains that quality internet access means the “possibility of accessing various websites and verify information”.

The professor points out that, despite 80% of the population having internet, “this access is of low quality”. He goes on to explain that “there are usually prepaid plans that only imply access, for example, to WhatsApp and Facebook”. In this sense, the user is stuck with the information contained in these platforms, which makes it difficult to verify in other places, such as verification sites.

For Blotta, another inequality is the conditions for participation in the media. “So, the idea of ​​the right to communication is also quite restricted, especially when we say that, on the internet, it doesn’t matter if everyone can post something: the important thing is when we can be heard by a large number of people”, he says.

Media education and digital literacy could help combat these inequalities in the media and increase representation, with the participation of different ethnicities, cultures and social classes. “We can think of media education with some capabilities linked to ethics and journalistic technique that, to some extent, have to be disseminated by the rest of society”, highlights Blotta.

The teacher talks about empathic communication, one of the points addressed in media education, which would be the idea of ​​peaceful communication and attentive and respectful listening — which is not seen in a scenario as polarized as the current one.

“That way, we were also able to bring a little more discussion, to learn from different generations, social classes and groups, instead of attacking, of offending”, he adds.

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