Global Media and Information Literacy Week conference in Jamaica, and the first plenary focused on Better Internet experiences through MIL (opportunities for learning, engagement, and advocacy; respect for privacy, cyber security and safety. It was chaired by Keith Campbell (CEO,Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica)
Hopeton Dunn (Jamaica, Director, Caribbean School of Media and Communication) was the first speaker. He pointed out the widespread adoption of the internet globally. There were numerous positives and opportunities, and he noted that these (with other technological developments) have led to “the fourth industrial revolution”. However he noted that digital productivity and literacy are not necessarily outcomes of investment in high-end digital infrastructure; it does not necessarily address the digital divide (which replicates the economic divide). For example, Africa accounts for just 10% of internet users. It can be noted that, in particular, use of networks via mobile phone is growing in Africa, that still is likely to be the more affluent section of the population. As an example, in Nigeria, challenges include “rights of ways”, distance and equipment cost. In Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere although people may have access, they may not have sufficient access to be able to use the internet effectively for education etc. High roaming charges were also a barrier.
Dunn proposed various policy and regulatory changes, and also measures such as including MIL in the curriculum, to counter these barriers. He presented a model of the 21st century media practitioner. He felt that MIL offered the best chance to enable people to navigate the challenges of the 21st Century successfully. It was important not to become the "tool of our tools" i.e. we should be focusing on what technology is good for, it should not be vealued for its own sake. Dunn also emphasised the importance of identifying indigenous solutions, not relying on solutions from putside ("uploading and not downloading")
Gabriella Thinsz (Executive Producer, UR, Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company), talked about a media education toolkit aimed at Tunisian young people. It is available in English, French and Arabic, as an app and a website, and has four themes. The website with more information is here https://www.edumedia.tn/en/. They had involved young Tunisian people, educators and media professionals in creating the project. She gave an example of where a vlogger had cooperated in a humerous film that highlighted how vloggers may be biased in recommending items they've been paid to recoemmend. The speaker also noted that there had been a lot of media literacy education in schools, and the result was that young people seemed to be more aware of issues than adults.
Monowara Begum Moni (Vice president, German Journalist Union, and freelance journalist) talked about ICT and its effect on the young generation. She defined "communication" and identified how it can arise from words, singing, movement etc. and also that conflict tends to involve communication problems. To solve problems, there is a need to keep people engaged and communicating. Technology has had a significant impact on communication. The speaker felt that effective communication between young people and their parents was important, and have discussion around issues of identity and use of technology.
Aichurek Usupbaeva and Nazira Sheraly (Media Support Center Foundation, Kyrgyzstan) made the final contribution. They had undertaken research to find out how young people use the internet, the vast majority used social media on their mobile phones (spending 1-4 hours a day). Whatsapp and Instagram were the most popular social media. The majority did not have control from their parentsd over their use. Critical thinking seemed to be lacking. Following on from this the are developing a training programme, including a programme for teachers: this will be done through an online platform. It will have resources on media literacy: tutorials, videos etc.
Photo: reflection of me taking a photo here