The internet is supposed to play the role of the Great Equaliser; a tool that gives everyone the opportunity to have their voice heard and to gain access to the same universal wealth of information as everyone else—in short, a tool that puts everyone on equal footing. But according to a 2016 report from the World Bank, that feel-good belief may be far from the truth: the internet may be widening inequality. Digital technologies are spreading rapidly, but growth, jobs, and services have lagged behind.The same can be said about literature. Even with the high volume of information exchanges and contacts being built online, with all the various platforms for writers to display their works, the internet has still not been able to level the playing field in terms of getting the works of writers from foreign or developing countries to break into the international market. Why is that?
We can, of course, cite the recent winning of Behrouz Boochani as an example of how recent information technology can make the most alienated voice be heard. But this is a one in a million case and not as common as it should be on the internet. Does geography—proximity to the centers of culture and publishing—still matter in today’s globalized world? Do younger generations of writers still believe in print, or are the new digital platforms (Storial, Wattpad, etc) considered sufficient for them?
Eliza Victoria (PHL)
Amir Muhammad (MYS)
Anya Rompas (IDN)
Teddy W Kusumo (IDN)