The Second-Level Digital Divide of the Web and Its Impact on Journalism

Wiebke Loosen

Abstract



The so-called digital divide is one of the most important issues in connection with the increasing development and distribution of the Internet and its technologies. Assumptions concerning the effects on social, economic and educational development are based on certain ideas about the technical principles of the organisation of the Web.

The paper discusses the fundamental ideas of the Web such as openness, freedom, and equality, and analyzes their scopes under increasing economic and technical influences which definine the World Wide Web infrastructure and its potentials. This includes a comparison of specific functions of different search engines within a fast growing search industry that may be responsible for a distortion of Internet content and for a certain mode of Web traffic. Equally important are intentions of self-regulation and the monitoring of contents under these circumstances. This discussion will focus on the varied economic and technical aspects that will strongly influence the quality of the Web - which can be called a 'second-level digital divide'. It includes an analysis of relevant aspects in conjunction with online journalism and its role relative to this new situation.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v7i8.977



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