Information society and minority groups' cultural rights: The emergence of alternative homeless media in Taiwan

Yu-Hui Tai*, Yingching Kuo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines the dialectic relationship between the information society and the cultural rights of minority groups. First, the digital divide and information commodification have resulted in novel forms of the suppression of minority groups. Homeless people not only suffer from political, economic, and social exclusion, but experience cultural deprivation, are demeaned as being "information poor," and are dehumanized as stigmatized commodities. Second, the government uses household Internet accessibility as an indicator to measure the digital divide, ignoring homeless people and systematically excluding them from support policies. However, the development of information technology and the promotion of citizen journalism have lowered the barriers for minority groups to develop alternative media and have created a novel space of resistance. By examining the historical process of the emergence of homeless alternative media in Taiwan, this study argues that information technology is insufficient and that it is important to have grassroot, networked communities to help homeless people obtain information, express their opinions, and become alternative media participants. This study examines the historical context, content, format, distribution, audience responses, and obstacles of homeless alternative media and argues that homeless people's social position must be improved to fulfill the potential of homeless alternative media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-197
Number of pages33
JournalMass Communication Research
Issue number113
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2012

Keywords

  • Alternative media
  • Citizen journalism
  • Citizenship
  • Digital divide
  • Homeless
  • Information society

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