So what if outspoken newspapers close down when “everyone gets their information from the Internet anyway” is a generalization that people on the Internet frequently use; one that is extremely dangerous and completely blinding.
Well, it really is not the case. I will list here several facts and musings, through which I will try to give few answers to open questions in this sphere.
First of all, what to do with 30% destitute citizens who cannot afford neither computer, nor internet?
What to do with people over 45 years of age? A great majority of them neither understands English, nor has communication skills?
Imagine the following situation. During the implementation of the media literacy project with the Macedonian Media Institute (MIM), we “observed” that only three of ten teachers in elementary and high schools, and that is mainly newly-hired and young people, use e-mail (?!?). If these are supposed to be the intellectuals that are molding the minds of our children, what’s left for the rest? What about people in rural and mountain areas, people who usually have no access to the Internet?
This observation reminds me of this legendary research where all respondents answered “yes” to the question “Do you get your information from the Internet”?
Yes, you’ve got it right: the research was done on-line 🙂
Therefore, it is of upmost importance to underline that while some newspapers, in some outlets are “more equal than the others”, many newspapers go through hell in their endeavors to reach their readers.
As for the mainstream television that is almost entirely dominated by the government, this has become a problem that stands in the way of freedom of information and freedom of speech, not to mention unfair competition.
These phenomena are in collision with the Constitution and the legal regulations in Macedonia (which are equally violated on other counts, every single day).
A way out?
What I believe should be done is invest in new, strong mechanism of content distribution. Serious distribution of newspapers, audio and visual contents, outside the virtual world of the Internet. Even if those happen to be “pioneering” efforts, such as Slobodna Makedonija or the TV news of the Resistance, along with video beam projections at squares and markets.
Of course they would have to operate in line with the laws and regulations, down to the last penny, in order to prevent the administration from using their policy of “persuasion” – the stick: inspections, apprehensions, reports of tax evasions and so on; or the carrot: bribe and what’s left of the plethora of “nice” and “brotherly” favors.