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#mediadev quiz - the answers

Thanks for completing the quiz. Here are some facts behind the questions.

Only 1 in 7 people live in countries protecting freedom of expression.

We wanted to find out if you knew the proportion of people worldwide who live in countries where they can freely express their opinions and access information. The correct answer is 1 in 7 people. According to the US non-governmental organization Freedom House, only 13 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries with a free media landscape, while 45 per cent live in countries rated as “Not Free”. You can find these and other figures on DW Akademie’s Media Freedom Navigator as well as information on indices that rate press freedom and free expression.


Mexico has a particularly well-formulated law on freedom of information.

We asked you to list the countries with the best laws on freedom of information. These laws give citizens the right to access information from their government and its offices. The Canadian organization, Centre for Law and Democracy, compares how well-formulated these laws are. The 5 countries heading the list are Mexico, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Slovenia and India. However, a well-formulated law does not necessarily mean that people can access all relevant information. By the way, the first freedom of information law was adopted more than 250 years ago – in Sweden, in 1766.


Freedom of information is enshrined in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 19 of the UN’s human rights declaration protects freedom of expression. It states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are the UN’s most important documents guaranteeing and protecting freedom of expression.


Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un appear on Reporters Without Borders’ list of press freedom predators.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began publishing its list of press freedom predators in 2009. Currently on the list are 35 state and government heads, extremist and criminal organizations as well as intelligence agencies. According to RSF, “Their predatory techniques vary. Some use enforcers to torture and murder. Some use mass arrests and arbitrary imprisonment.” New to appear on the 2016 list is the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who joins, among others, Vladimir Putin, the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, and the terrorist organization “Islamic State”. Although Google and Facebook face criticism for collecting user data for advertising purposes, they are not seen as “press freedom predators”.


Reuters was established 155 years before Twitter was launched.

We wanted to know how many years had passed between the founding of these two very different news sources. Paul Julius Freiherr von Reuter was a former bank clerk who in 1849 began using carrier pigeons to transmit financial news between Aachen and Brussels. Two years later, he established the Reuters news agency in London, which is now part of the Thomson Reuters Corporation. Twitter got off the ground in 2006, originally as a short message service allowing 140 characters per message or tweet. Despite advances with smartphones and apps, the number of characters has largely remained the same. These days, approximately 320 million active users send an average of 500 million tweets per day.


The Pope did not support Donald Trump and his election campaign.

We picked three false news stories that had appeared on Facebook in 2016 and asked you to pick the one that had been most frequently shared. It was the story saying Pope Francis was supporting Donald Trump in the US election campaign. It spread like wildfire on Facebook and became one of the most widely spread fake news stories that year. The other two news stories have as well actually been written. However, they are false, too. 


In Burundi, radio is the most widely-used medium.

Whether people use the media or not is partly determined by its availability but also by factors such as language, age and gender. Literacy also plays a role. According to a survey conducted on behalf of DW Akademie (2014) more than 90 per cent of Burundians listen to the radio. Newspapers are read by 43 per cent of the male population and by 31 per cent of the female population. Find out more about DW Akademie’s projects in Burundi here


Three corporations control more than half of Colombia’s media market.

In Colombia, three large media companies control more than half of the entire media market. Further, the four largest TV channels together have about 77 percent of Colombia’s audience share. The concentration of media ownership is also occurring elsewhere. In the US, for example, the number of media companies who shared 90 per cent of the U.S. market dropped from 50 companies in 1983 to just 11 companies in 2011.


Filter bubbles edit out opinions we’re not familiar with.

We wanted to know what people think the term “filter bubble” means – after all, it’s a term we’re hearing more frequently. Does it refer to the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s when the stock value of new online companies skyrocketed until the bubble burst in 2000? Or does it have to do with the “Great Firewall of China” that enables the Chinese government to control how its citizens use the Internet? Both times the answer is “no”. “Filter bubble” is a term coined by activist Eli Pariser and refers to how the information we’re receiving online is increasingly becoming “personalized”. But if we’re only exposed to information that reflects our individual interests and opinions, it will just confirm the way we already see things and make it more difficult for us to understand opinions that differ from our own.


Everyone can express their opinion regardless of their age.

You can get your driver’s license when you turn 16 and become eligible to vote when you turn 18. We wanted to know how old you have to be before you can express your opinion. Unlike the two examples above, there are no age restrictions when it comes to freedom of expression. That’s because it is a fundamental human right, enshrined in Article 13 in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. While parents remain responsible for their children, they cannot restrict them from expressing their own opinions.

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