Closing the Information Gap - One Documentary at a Time

March 2, 2023

Dorotea Zwolinski

You might have heard that the internet has made information more widely available than ever before - so why is there still a global information gap?

Worldwide, an estimated 750 million adults are illiterate. Nearly 50% of these individuals reside in South and West Asia and 27% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, over 2.9 billion people still lack internet access, out of which 96% live in developing countries. Only a third of the African population is connected to the internet, compared to 90% of the population in Europe. This gap in information is a serious global issue disproportionately affecting marginalized communities.  

The Digital Divide 

The lack of language diversity in the dissemination of information coupled with unequal internet access contributes to the widening knowledge gap between regions. Approximately 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. 

This language inequity obscures thousands of communities from accessing information in local languages and puts many ethnic minority communities at risk of being excluded - especially in rural areas where internet access is often unaffordable. 

Media Censorship 

In the past five years, media pluralism and independence have been deteriorating.  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, the spread of disinformation and misinformation continues to soar.

The imprisonment of journalists reached a record high in 2022, witha total of 533 journalists incarcerated, marking a 13.4% increase from the year prior.  Such increasingly restrictive regulations, arrests and prosecutions of media outlets curtail society’s right to receive impartial and educational information.  

Our Solution 

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 centres, 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.

Open Call

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