Thursday, September 5, 2013

Communication: the forgotten snail in the Human Rights Movement.

“Ignored by big companies, Mexican village creates its own mobile service” , by the India times while light in nature covers a controversial topic not readily brought to public in the 21st century;  the  affects technological advancements have on the definition and conditions of Human Rights.
Villa Talea de Castro, an indigenous village of 2,500 in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico was deemed not profitable enough by large communication companies to lay down a cell network. Its villagers nearly isolated from the outside world, except for a telephone booth which charges nearly 10% of their monthly income per hour*. Overcoming this costly service wasn't easy as just installing the hardware and software. Due to legalities, the village partnered up with civil organizations and universities to set up their own service called “Red Celular de Talea”. This new micro provider costs the villagers pennies on the dollar of their previous medium. However, they were only able to obtain a license for two years by the FCC to “test the equipment”.
Rhizomatica, the primary civil organization behind this movement hopes to “push telecom reform through Congress in hopes of “breaking obstacles” that prevent the development of such community based projects.”
Cases like Oaxaca aren’t isolated incidents prevalent only in rural or third world countries, but apply to us in the United States of America directly.

Traditionally the “Freedom of Speech “ only covered the use of verbal and  visual forms of communication, its meaning clearly understood and transported by paper or mouth. Then times changed, the introduction to a faster form of communication, digital, was left out of the picture. In the United States the Constitution keeps the United States Postal Service alive, because it was and will always be a vital component of communication. It can be argued that none federally owned entities operate more efficiently, while it might be true, the USPS paid the cost for the backbone of the mail system.

Then how come digital communication, especially high-speed internet isn’t available to everyone within the States? Similar to Oaxaca’s plea for affordable telecommunication, many regions within the United States are blacked out from information. While, mail may still arrive to all corners of the Country, those that use Dial up or mail to communicate might as well be talking to a brick wall.
If a country was to be abiding and upholding the Basic Rights of Humans, their respective government should be responsible for providing the means of affordable modern forms of communication to everyone they house.

*Data taken from the average income of Mexican Citizen’s ($6000/year)  with the cost per min = $.75

1 comment:

  1. this is a great post because it really questions the idea about changing the way we see what we think are simple basic, eternal rights. So, the right to freedom of speech in Mexico means freedom of speech only if you live in the right geographical location. Because speech today means the Internet, cell phones. I think what you are talking about is what we call "The Digital Divide" - while technology is bringing more people together, it is also isolating people who can afford it.