In recent years researchers have pointed out that there are huge differences in people’s ability to obtain and act on information. This is causing concern, with experts arguing that a fundamental split is developing between the information haves and havenots throughout the world. The information rich have good access to information — especially online, but also through more traditional media such as newspapers, radio, television, and books — and can plan their lives and react to changes in circumstances on the basis of what they know or can find out. The information poor don’t have such access and are vulnerable to all kinds of pressures. Though the information rich are mainly in the industrialised countries and the information poor are mostly in the developing world, similar splits are obvious between prosperous and disadvantaged groups inside industrialised countries.
Information-rich and information-poor are a new classification of rich and poor. .. If you keep people ignorant, they’re more likely to do what they’re told.
Tony Benn, in the Daily Telegraph, June 1998
You are, by dint of reading this newspaper, information rich. You belong to the knowledge class, for the purchase of a paper such as this also implies you are more likely to have access at home or work to the internet with all its wealth of information.
Guardian, July 1999
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