Sustainable development vs press freedom & right to information?

imagesmews.jpgI often think about this when I take the subway in Paris and I saw one or several people trying to palm free daily newspaper as “Metro” off onto me. I have to confess that I am quite happy when I have it because it fills the time. There is everything: brief and quality news, games, horoscope… Nevertheless, it occurs to me that it is a huge waste of paper. You read it in 20 minutes max (this is the name of another free daily paper), give it up in the subway or throw it away soon after as you do not pay for it.

The distribution of those free newspapers has started in France in 2002. It is financed by the advertising and massively distributed: the first free international newspaper “Metro” is published in 100 major cities in 20 countries across Europe, North & South America and Asia. The number of copies in France have reached around 900 000 copies per day. This kind of press keeps growing all around the world.

I know how important the information of the public is; especially those who usually do not or rarely inform themselves. It is a tool of education.

But this kind of press has also been set up in order to boost the written paying press, which knows economical difficulties since everything is on the Net now.
What about the ecological consequences of this huge production of paper? Even if they are maid with recycled paper, the waste entailed by the growing publication is disastrous. Do we also consume information as we consume anything else?

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Posted in sustainable living
2 comments on “Sustainable development vs press freedom & right to information?
  1. adrian says:

    To be honest, me as well I like those free newspapers very much. Especially the free sports magazine (Sport) which is really cool and much better than lots of those you have to pay for. Now, I have to say I DID like them. Clemence is right, it’s a waste of paper and, thus, a waste of natural capital. The information I get from these papers can easily be got on the internet or on the TV. So here is one point for Jeremy: with his ipod he is capable to be up to date without relying on such subway newspapers.

  2. jeremy says:

    Thanks for easing my conscience Adrian 😉
    The “freebies” are a feature of the metro here in Singapore as well. Needless to say, I never pick one up, but if I did, I would find a place to recycle it. The problem for most people here in Singapore (I don’t know about Paris), is that this is just too much to ask, and it usually gets dumped in the nearest garbage bin. Maybe if there were incentives to invest in a service-flow economy, where companies undertook to bear responsibility for the waste generated by their customers, this wouldn’t happen.

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