European Media and Information Literacy Forum in Riga. Tihomir Loza, Executive Director, South East European Network for Professionalization of Media identified that members of the Network had undertaken media literacy projects. He identified that levels of MIL in SE Europe are generally not high, although he noted that this was also the case in some other parts of Europe. MIL levels are dynamic, and in particular may fluctuate in countries where they are transitioning between different types of government. He associated media and information literacy in societies which are used to questioning and being sceptical. Loza saw MIL as something that needed to be developed all the time (it is not a skill that can simply be learned and then you have it for life): it challenges you all the time. Loza felt that societies with "civic stamina" (an interesting concept!) did better with MIL. He gave an example from research which sought to measure trust: one recurring theme was that that when they were asked who they trusted, citizens in one country said they trusted media and journalists most and politicians least: however the respondents also said they thought that media was heavily influenced by politicians. This suggests some confusion and lack of MIL.
Loza went on to talk about what could be done. He mentioned initiatives such as: MIL being introduced into the curriculum; increased role on the part of regulators and self-regulatory bodies (to increase trust between citizens and the media, to foster more interaction from citizens, to counter "civic fatigue" or "civic apathy"). He also noted that MIL cannot be treated in isolation (I think - that there are other political, economic, social issues that need to be addressed to achieve MIL)
Photo by Sheila Webber: reception at the Latvian National Library