Media and Information Literacy for the Public Good

From Africa to Europe, from Caucasus to South East Asia and Latin America, Media Literacy is a central policy issue that addresses challenges in the communication field. Global Media and Information Literacy Week is a major occasion for media practitioners and experts in the field to review and celebrate the progress towards media and information literacy for all. Media and Information Literacy is the basis for enhancing access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, gender equality, and a high standard of education in an intercultural framework.

Digital Communication Network Global participates in the annual Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week, led by UNESCO in cooperation with the UNESCO MIL Alliance, the UNESCO-UNAOC MIL.As part of GMIL Week and our ongoing activities in the field we are organizing a Global Panel discussion in order to present the situation and initiatives of MIL across the world. Our well known speakers from all over the world will discuss and present MIL activities and policies in different continents. They will share their expertise and ideas bringing into the forefront innovative practices across the world.

Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi

Media and information literacy for the public good

Across the world countries implement a variety of unique programmes to promote and enhance media literacy in their region. Global Media and Information Literacy Week is a major occasion for media practitioners and experts in the field to review and celebrate the progress towards media and information literacy for all. Media and Information Literacy is the basis for enhancing access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, gender equality, and a high standard of education in an intercultural framework.

Media literacy leads children to acquire critical thinking skills. The new media production ecosystem calls for reformation of the educational landscape and school curricula. Media Literacy Education is a right and a “must” if educators aspire to promote youth’s critical thinking and civil engagement. The overall goals is to help youth and raise awareness of disinformation and dissemination of fake news, considering that it can negatively influence public opinion and lead to negative consequences for society. Media literacy can introduced to the education system through the implemention of projects, teacher training opportunities, and an interdisciplinary approach in school curricula. Teachers need to first identify the needs of their students to raise awareness on media literacy and analyse the importance for future citizens and leaders. Then, educators must use a range of strategies to interpret media texts and apply pedagogical approaches and activities in the educational context to promote sustainable citizenship. Third, they should synthesize the results and the effectiveness of the implementation of classroom activities on media literacy. Finally, they must communicate the results to colleagues and the local community to encourage further community engagement for long-term sustainability. It’s important to encourage access to digital and print resources, analysis, deconstruction and reconstruction of messages, critical thinking, cross-checking and evaluation of messages, purposeful content development and interaction, visits from media experts, and active participation and citizenship. Also, teachers need to make use of new technologies and mobile devices in order to raise awareness on how media formats can erase different emotions. According to Ryan (2005), everyone has the right to participate in what the world has to offer and reap the benefits of this involvement.

Journalists, educators, communication specialists and professors should help people see what is Media Literacy. Social media companies try to share and cultivate the culture of media literacy. Further, it is important to provide general education to students with no prior knowledge of media. In Morocco, for example, media literacy is very low. There is no national policy about media literacy and it doesn’t exist in the curriculum of Morocco. Europe, on the contrary, has a more straightforward approach to developing media literacy. Media literacy is not an autonomous media study. There are a lot of actions of media in society and a lot of media companies working with European projects. In many countries in Africa, there are very few private media companies and the available information few and far between.

Media literacy specialists must work to make regular citizens aware of what they are consuming since the media is transmitting inaccurate information and often creates inauthentic content. So, more professional training and teaching on these skills is crucial.

Speakers
-Sherri Hope Culver, Director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy (CMIL) at Temple University, USA
-Irene Andriopoulou, UNESCO MIL Alliance co-Secretary General of the ISC, Greece
-Paul Alexandru, Digital Marketing Specialist, Content Curator, Romania
Roberto Gelado Marcos, Professor,CEU San Pablo University, Spain
-Drissia Chouit, Professor of Comparative Linguistics,Communication and Media Studies at Moulay Ismail University of Meknes, Morocco.
-Farai Mwakutuya, International Journalist, Zimbabwe/Uganda
-Chryssa Lazou, IABL Secretary General/Researcher, DigiTEENS.gr Coordinator, Greece

Moderators:
-Nikos Panagiotou, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Media Communication, Aristotle University, Head of DCN Global, Greece
-Aurra Kawanzaruwa, Educator & Managing Director, AfriDigital, Zimbabwe
-Diana Filimon, President, founder Forum Apulum Association, Romania

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