Welsh Consumer Council Reaction

UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL 00:01 WEDNESDAY 19 MARCH 2008

 "The Aston Hill Says NO!
coalition in North Wales is another home grown example of how the new internet tools can empower consumers to work together and get their voices heard – in this instance to protest about plans to expand a dual carriageway in Flintshire.

Watch as NIA records a a Welsh Language version of a song specially  written for the campaign to say NO! to the Welsh Motorway Click here
 

Consumers get their voices heard through online influence ...Angharad Griffiths 

Consumers are getting their voices heard and bringing about change through online influence, according to a new report by the Welsh Consumer Council.

 The report, advocacy 2.0, explores how the new tools of the internet are empowering consumers to act together and challenge the unfair treatment and disadvantage they face. 

 “From weblogs and wikis to social networking and bookmarking sites, the new web has placed a great deal of power in the hands of consumers,” said Vivienne Sugar, Chair of the Welsh Consumer Council.

 “Through these new tools, consumers now have an extremely effective way to publish their experiences and the means to distribute them to a wide online community who can work together to bring about change.

 “In Wales we’ve seen this happening.  For example, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Communities@One project is helping people to find a voice using digital technologies, as is the BBC’s ‘Your Voice’ project.

 The Aston Hill Says NO!, coalition in North Wales is another home grown example of how the new internet tools can empower consumers to work together and get their voices heard – in this instance to protest about plans to expand a dual carriageway in Flintshire.

 “And with the Wales-based ‘MediaSnackers’ project providing an online social media course to youth leaders in Tonga and Papua New Guinea from their base in Pontypridd, we actually have a world first based right here in Wales. 

 “As well as giving a voice to communities who otherwise might not be heard, the internet has also created a new communication tool between people and organisations.

 “Decision-makers can be contacted and influenced quickly and companies and public officials can be put under pressure to respond and react to complaints more swiftly than ever before.

What is clear that the changing nature of the internet is transforming people from being passive consumers of information into active producers of their own material, building online influence and winning change for themselves.

 “For those with access to the internet these are exciting times.  For advocacy organisations the challenge now is to use these new tools to advocate effectively on behalf of those who might not have access, as well as making sure that we engage with this new consumer movement.”

 For further information please contact

 Angharad Griffiths
Communications Officer
(t)
029 2025 5454 ext. 227
(e) angharad@wales-consumer.org.uk

1. dvance copies of the report are available from Angharad Griffiths. The report will be available on the Welsh Consumer Council website www.wales-consumer.org.uk from Wednesday 19 March 2008.

 2. MediaSnackers is a site/weblog/project/call to action for anyone interested in young peoples' consumption and creation of media across the globe. For more information see www.mediasnackers.com

 3. The BBC’s ‘Your Voice’ project  is an opportunity for people to share their views and experiences with others, to talk directly to both local and national audiences and to add their videos to the growing online archive of everyday life. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/yourvoice/

 4. Communities @One helps people in the most disadvantaged communities in Wales get access to new technologies so they can fulfil their social, economic and cultural potential. www.walescoop.com/

 5. For more information on the "Aston Hill Says NO!" campaign against plans to widen the A494 Queensferry to Ewloe road, click here.