Women’s voices, Google’s threats, and It’s A Sin

Authors: Jece Shunmugam, Kate Savin
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: January 26, 2021

Read on for a handpicked selection of the good, the bad, and the one to watch in the world of social impact communications. This week, we’re looking at women’s voices, Google’s threats, and It’s A Sin.

Credit: Women’s March Global

| NAILED IT: Making every voice count

Last week, Women’s March Global launched ‘Global Count‘, an ambitious endeavour seeking to be the largest global poll mapping the cultural, social and economic barriers that prevent women’s progress. 

Global Count launched on January 21st, the same day that Women’s March Global would have been arranging the fifth anniversary of their annual march. In its place, Global Count has been created to commemorate the occasion whilst urgently addressing the data scarcity around women’s rights and issues across the world. 

With an alarming rise in gender-based violence and human rights authorities declaring gender inequities as bad as they were 25 years ago, the survey is a small step towards ensuring every voice is counted.

You can add your voice at globalcount.org.

| ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Google threatens a nation

Google has threatened to pull its search function from Australia after the government announced a mandatory code of conduct for Facebook and Google. 

The  COVID-19 Pandemic has pushed the global print media industry even further into crisis. With no journey into work, many have turned to online outlets for their news rather than buying a daily paper. In Australia, a number of local papers have shut down after their in-paper advertising, which accounts for up to 70% of their revenue, disappeared. 

In a bid to save these businesses, the Australian government has taken the bold step of introducing a mandatory code of conduct for Facebook and Google, which would see them forced to pay royalties to news companies featured on their sites and to favour original news sources.

Google’s response wasn’t to compromise, but to threaten pulling its ‘search’ function from the country. In a warning shot, the company blocked Australian news sites from its search results for 1% of local users, claiming it was an experiment to test their value. The company, which has about 90-95% of the search engine market share in Australia, claims the proposed law is “unworkable” which would give them no choice but to “stop making Google Search available in Australia”. 

Tech companies have, for better or worse, become the great monopolies of the 21st century. Almost all of us rely on their services and give them our data in return, so it is essential that governments have the power to regulate the industry for our benefit.

Credit: Channel 4

| ONE TO WATCH: It’s A Sin

Thirty years on from the first confirmed case of HIV in the UK, Channel 4’s new offering, It’s A Sin, is groundbreaking TV. Not only is it the first time the 1980s AIDS epidemic has been the focus of a British TV show, but it’s also a rare example of a major show about queer lives, written by a queer writer, and performed by queer actors.

Created by Russell T Davies, who brought us Queer as Folk, A Very English Scandal and Doctor Who, this five part series tells the story of the epidemic through the lives of three young gay men finding their way in London.

The show’s release is timely. Throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic, the standard historical reference is the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed potentially hundreds of millions of people around the world. But few mention the much more recent epidemic, which probably spread from chimp meat in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo and has since killed around 32.7 million people. Like COVID-19, the AIDS epidemic was awash with misinformation and hit particular demographics far harder than others.

You can watch It’s A Sin on Channel 4 and All 4 now.