The vitality of communication has been proved so many times in the human history. By inventing the first printing press, Gutenberg initiated the revolution of culture, trade, and industry. The ability to interexchange ideas and views sets us apart from the rest of the organisms. This century has been dominated by the rapidly changing field of information technology and it has influenced all the spheres of human life. These changes have empowered the masses with boundless information, opportunity, and accessibility. With the ushering of digital age, the process of communication has been fundamentally altered and brought all the humans together in a global village. Thus, this unprecedented phenomenon in the human history has affected all the aspects of human life and will be even more important for a better future.
However, this seemingly pervasive technology is inaccessible to many Americans. The basics of access to information are the availability of a computer and the internet. Many of these basics are taken for granted by many of us but the data from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that 28 percent of Americans do not have access to internet. This group is not able to access news and information that they need to become an active, well informed, and engaged citizens in a democracy. The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy has suggested that much more can and should be done to make our communities healthy from an information standpoint. They have urged the policy makers to take lead in building more ‘informed communities’. In a democracy, when citizens do not have access to information, they are denied their basic rights.
In conclusion, availability of information, building citizen capacity to access and understand information, and public engagement is a cornerstone of democracy. So, the access to information through digital media should be readily available to everyone to allow them to participate in a democracy.