Discover more from The Checklist
Media Literacy Week
Why media literacy is so important?
We hope you’re staying safe and healthy.
If you’re running late, here’s your TL;DR Checklist
✅ A lack of trust in media is a prevalent issue worldwide.
✅ Media literacy does work where individuals have learned how to investigate the source and content by themselves.
✅ Larger World initiatives need tailored approaches that take into account issues of connectivity and precarious conditions.
By the Editorial Team
Back to basics: Why is media literacy so important?
Today, we face echo chambers and filter bubbles — supercharged by algorithmic bias — where individuals are exposed primarily to information that aligns with their existing beliefs. As we celebrate Media and Information Literacy Week, it's crucial to reflect on what media literacy means and the current best practices implemented around the world.
The ongoing war in Gaza is a poignant example of the importance of media literacy. Misinformation is rampant where conflicting narratives and emotional appeals flood our screens, making it challenging to ascertain the truth amid the chaos. Media literacy is crucial in this context to empower individuals to critically assess the information presented and form informed opinions, and even raise awareness about misinformation news.
A lack of trust in media is a prevalent issue, not only in mainstream media and social media platforms but also in individuals' ability to discern fact from fiction. A significant portion of people trust no sources or even themselves when it comes to navigating the vast sea of online information.
A majority of news consumers identify two key elements to discerning what is fact from fiction online; that is the source and the facts. This shows that media literacy does work where these individuals have learned how to investigate different types of content and assess its credibility. However, there is a lot of room for improvement, particularly given the proliferation of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard which have the potential to manipulate audio and video content within minutes, making it even harder to trust what we see and hear.
So how do we navigate the media literacy and trust dilemma?
The ease of content creation and sharing has led to an overwhelming influx of information, much of which lacks credibility.
In the Global North, emphasis is often placed on digital literacy and critical thinking skills, alongside media literacy education in schools. Larger World countries may require tailored approaches that account for lower digital access and diverse languages, cultural contexts and sometimes civil unrest or political and governance turmoil.
Even in Europe, there’s a media literacy divide between North, South and East Europe. Collaboration between governments, civil society, and technology companies is crucial in this endeavor. For instance, Finland's success in media literacy and resilience to misinformation is attributed to its unique approach to education coupled with collaboration between educators, journalists, and government officials. Poynter’s initiative MediaWise reached 21 million people through online educational content and fact-checking training for teenagers and students.
Quick take: How should we develop engaging media literacy tools and resources?
We asked our friends at Annie Lab about their approach to engage their audience with material that promote media literacy. Here's what they told us:
"Annie Lab’s primary goal is to provide a real newsroom environment for students to practice the skills and tools they learn. Our educational approach is designed to nurture the future generations of news consumers with fact-checking expertise, discerning attitudes, and critical thinking." — Masato Kajimoto, AnnieLab
Annie Lab newsroom is a fact-checking project at Hong Kong University Journalism school, in collaboration with ANNIE, a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes news literacy in Asia through collaborative curriculum development.
Collaboration between fact-checkers and news consumers can promote media literacy
Countering misinformation requires engagement and collaboration between fact-checkers and the general public to improve media literacy and the ability to spot fake news.
With Check’s tipline, communities on messaging apps can report suspicious content online and share context to help fact-checkers verify claims. By doing so, they critically engage with the content they are exposed to, increase their media literacy skills, and support counter-misinformation efforts.
How organizations in the Larger World are addressing media literacy
In countries marked by widespread digital divide (particularly in rural areas), extremely diverse languages and cultural perspectives and the rise of social media use, media literacy initiatives call for all stakeholders to take into account the various factors that influence the spread of false information. Here are a few that have actively championed media literacy in the region:
In Latin America, Meedan’s partner Agência Mural launched a media literacy project called Clube Mural to provide media skills development training for journalism students in the urban peripheries of São Paulo. Meedan, in collaboration with Birmingham City University, spearheaded a pilot project in Brazil that seeks to enhance media literacy and misinformation education by leveraging offline games as a novel approach to the learning experience.
In Asia Pacific, our partner VERA Files provides training and mentoring of journalists, students and civil society organizations, especially those whose opportunities for capacity building are scarce and as a result have built a network of media savvy contributors.
Our North Africa, West Asia (NAWA) Media Newsroom publishes and continuously updates its Media Credibility Index in collaboration with journalism students in the region to help journalists but also citizens identify credible news sources in their countries.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) advocates for media freedom and promotes media literacy in all 16 West African countries by providing training and resources to journalists and citizens to enhance media literacy and promote responsible journalism. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Africa Women Journalism Project (AWJP) was established by our partner to provide media literacy skills training to women journalists who produce stories on underreported issues affecting minority and marginalized groups in the region.
DEFINE_ Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias is the tendency of people’s minds to seek out information that supports the views they already hold. It also leads people to interpret evidence in ways that support their pre-existing beliefs, expectations, or hypotheses.
(Source: University of Texas)
October 30, 2023
WHO Africa Office is accepting entries for the first Regional Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Champion Journalist and Media House Awards.
October 31, 2023
The Open Notebook is offering a paid, part-time fellowship program for early-career science journalists who will work with a mentor to plan, report, and write articles for publication.
November 1, 2023
ProJourn is organizing sessions focusing on the most critical legal issues facing journalists in Latin America. In this session, journalists will evaluate the legal risks associated with a story before it is published.
What else we’re reading
Poynter Institute’s digital media literacy initiative, MediaWise shares tips for how to avoid misinformation about the war in Gaza (Poynter Institute)
Sierra Leone 2023 Elections: promoting information integrity through media and information literacy (International Idea)
Why media literacy is key to tackling AI-powered misinformation online and when combined with other measures, it can contribute to healthier public discourse and increased trust, especially in the context of democratic processes (The Hill)
If there are updates you would like us to share from your country or region, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
The Checklist is currently read by over 1800 subscribers. Want to share the Checklist? Invite your friends to sign up here.