Minorities lose out online

A social inclusion expert has hit out at the reach of digital PR, claiming that social media exclude minority groups.

Shut out: Limited access to suitable technology
Shut out: Limited access to suitable technology

Milica Pesic, executive director of the Media Diversity Institute, spoke to PRWeek after a debate she organised on digital media and diversity. She said social media remained outside the mainstream and were 'still toys for people who are interested in gadgets'.

Pesic noted that particular problems included a shortage of relevant education programmes and limited access to appropriate technology.

Digital PR experts largely supported her comments. Bieneosa Ebite, founder of Bright Star, said: 'Diversity goes hand in hand with equality - having access to similar rights - and we know almost a third of households in the UK do not have access to the internet, which means there is still some way to go to empower those who consider themselves to be marginalised by the mainstream.'

Paul Armstrong, director of social media at Kindred, said the exclusion of minorities in digital PR was a problem if the strategy relied on social media, adding: 'It's important that the digital PR industry knows its limits when talking to certain minority groups.'

Event chair and MD of The Creative Collective Joy Francis added: 'Those groups that are excluded by traditional media and PR methods are still excluded within the world of digital and social media.'

Other speakers at the event included Wired editor at large Ben Hammersley and controversial Egyptian human rights activist Wael Abbas.

One of the aims of the Media Diversity Institute is to highlight ways social media can open opportunities for discussion on social diversity to aid social inclusion.

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