Counter-information is that issued by means of communication that are alternative to the official and socially predominant ones. This, in order to provide another vision or complement the information issued by the previous ones.
Counter-information is known as that which is not fully adapted to that issued by the media that predominate in society, as well as that of the official channels of the Government. This does not necessarily imply that they contradict each other or that any of them are false. It can simply be done in order to supplement the information or to treat it from a different perspective.
Counterinformation arises from an information gap, whatever its nature. That void may be the non-existence of a medium with a specific ideology. Or that there are no independent means of political or economic powers.
It should be noted that the mass media can also broadcast it, as long as it is different from that broadcast by the Government or other official channels. But it is common for the latter two to be in tune, due to the existing reciprocal influences.
Counterinformation media not only treat the news that occupies the traditional media, but also covers fields that others do not. How can art be in its different manifestations, such as painting, sculpture, theater, music or cinema.
Counter-information, either issued by alternative means or by the mass media, has the following characteristics:
- This information treats differently the facts reported from official media.
- They arise from an information gap.
- It is usually broadcast from alternative media, since the mass media may be under the influence of other powers.
- You do not have to contradict information from other media.
- It arises at the end of the 20th century.
- Usually treats the information from another ideological point of view.
- Editorials and opinion sections often criticize government authorities.
- They can deal with other topics not as relevant as culture or social movements.
- In the information society its main channel is the internet. Its main tools are digital newspapers and social networks.
Examples of counter information
The counter-information can be observed in many examples, we are going to put some of them very different:
- USA: The North American country has always had a very controversial fame due to its intervention in other countries. During the Vietnam War, media that were sympathetic to the pacifist hippie movement spread the starkest side of the war. Defending the withdrawal of American troops. Thus contradicting the official position of the government and those who were in tune with it. This has also happened with more recent interventions such as that of Iraq, affirming that the United States entered to extract resources forcibly.
- Venezuela: Since Chavismo came to power, the impoverishment of the country is more than evident, as well as the large number of detractors it has. The government of Chávez and Maduro has closed many stations and media that were critical of the regime. From other countries such as Europeans and, above all, the United States, brutal propaganda is being made against the Venezuelan Government, clashing with the information and data issued by it.
- Social movements: Many media do not usually pay attention to the demands of social movements and associations and organizations of individuals. For this reason, media were created that gave coverage, space and voice to the components of these movements. Treating the news about social problems from a different point of view.
Differences between counterinformation and misinformation
Counterinformation must be distinguished from misinformation. Although they may be similar concepts, they are not.
Counter-information, as we have already defined, is totally valid and truthful information that complements or treats in a different way that issued by the Government or other media.
Instead, disinformation is false information that is knowingly released. In order to change public opinion on a certain issue. With the expansion of social networks it has become very common.