Millions of people worldwide continue to be excluded from information due to poor educational opportunities, high rates of illiteracy, censorship and a lack of linguistic diversity in the dissemination of information. This gap in information is a pervasive issue globally, as access to reliable information continues to be unequally distributed, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities.
The distribution of information available online remains profoundly unequal as only a third of the African population is connected to the internet, compared to 90% in Europe. 2.9 billion people worldwide still lack internet access and 96% live in developing countries. Individuals who remain disconnected are more likely to experience social and economic inequalities. However, internet access is often unaffordable in poorer nations, specifically impacting rural areas which remain the most affected by these digital barriers.
Literacy progress has also been uneven across regions and populations. Worldwide, an estimated 750 million adults are illiterate. Nearly 50% reside in South and West Asia and 27% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Uneven literacy progress coupled with a lack of language diversity in the dissemination of information contributes to the widening knowledge gap between regions.
Around 62% of all website content is produced in English, whilst only 16% of the global population speaks English as their first or second language. Additionally, 89% of all online content is written in only 10 languages, while over 7,000 languages are spoken in the world.
Language inequity obscures thousands of communities from accessing information in local languages and puts many ethnic minority communities at risk of being excluded.
Information inequality has been further exacerbated by media surveillance and state censorship. In the past five years, media pluralism and independence have deteriorated.
Around 85% of the global population lives in countries with a documented decline in media freedom. While governments continue to curtail independent media outlets and promote state-backed propaganda outlets, the spread of disinformation and misinformation continues to soar.
The absence of critical and independent journalism threatens to not only widen the existing information gap but also has vast consequences for human rights and democracy at large.
To remedy this growing divide, THE WHY distributes educational documentaries focusing on human rights in local languages to local broadcasters, remote villages, schools, and squares.
By dubbing documentaries into local languages, they become accessible to potentially everyone. As a result, they serve as powerful educational tools that can inspire collective change.
Our documentaries are also used in community centers, and public cinemas and brought to citizens at large through our growing network of over 70 public service television stations in 200 countries and territories.
By focusing on bridging the gap for those who remain disconnected from the digital world, we aim to ensure that no community is left behind.