What’s one sure fire way to prevent the masses from from rioting over unpopular presidential decisions? Make sure they don’t know about them.
According to an article by Amar Toor for The Verge, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa is introducing legislation to demand that all newspapers in the country move to digital-only publication. This move, which the president claims is intended to stop the deforestation of the country’s landscape and cut down on the fuel consumption associated with printing, shipping, and delivering the newspapers, may actually be a calculated move to stop the opposition-rich media from reaching subscribers with news of Correa’s activities.
Correa is currently under fire for his decision to open up almost 4,000 square miles of the rainforest in the country to oil drilling, a strange decision from a man whose determined to stop the oil waste brought on by the newspaper industry. This is not the first time that Ecuador’s media has lashed out over the president’s actions.
Earlier, when the UN moved to block the drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni region, President Correa stated that he would not allow the oil drilling if the country was given a total of $3.6 billion, paid out by other nations. The actual amount of international donations fell very short of Correa’s lofty goal, and he is now considering the drilling once again.
But digitizing the newspapers is one potential way that Correa could sneak his measures past a voting population. In a country where only 25% of the adult population is reported to work full-time and the average household income is $4,500.00 per year, access to devices and mobile connection services may be limited. In a country where only 27% of the population is reported to have internet access forcing newspaper to be strictly digital will mean a significant portion of the population will be cutoff from news access and more importantly, a clear picture of the activities of their government.
Digital publishing was supposed to be a step towards an environmentally sound portal through which geographically diverse populations could instantaneously reach various media, but there is also a justifiable backlash for print in instances where consumers are being deceived.