Global Media and Information Literacy Week conference was on Resetting MIL in the present information and media landscape. I was liveblogging, but the wifi connection went down, so this posting has been delayed, sorry.
Zhang Kai (Media Education Research Center, Communication University of China) talked about Research on MIL in China. She mentioned that there is an increasing interest in MIL in China. They carried out field research and mapped the position against the UNESCO MIL Assessment framework,and then reflect on how it suited the Chinese cultural context. They carried out their research in various provinces, and focused of specific schools, at primary and middle school level, plus a normal college. There was a questionnaire for just over 2000 students and parents. There were questions about media usage showing e.g. the dominance of mobile phones (83% using it to access the internet), over 90% used the internet at home. There were questions to identify MIL capabilities, and the researchers found there were differences at school level (actual primary level came out best) and between areas of the country (parents' awareness of what children were doing on media also varied by region: those from the East were less aware). 5% of parents felt digital media is detrimental, 56% said "it depends". Teachers were also unsure about what they were going to do in teaching about digital media, and again there were regional differences in what was taught and how (and about half students found media literacy courses unappealing). MIL educational practice was identified as "lacking sustainability" (relying on the interest of those managing the school). MIL lacked support from government, but also from the grass roots level.
They had looked at Country's MIL readiness (relating this to the UNESCO indicators): access and use was very favourable, MIL policy favourable, but MIL education and MIL supply less favourable.
Renaud de la Brosse (Linnaeus University, Sweden) talked about the need to prevent hate content and propaganda in a terrorist context, specifically in Tunisia. There was the issue of how journalists could avoid the trap of having the narrative they present in the media exploited by terrorists or by political agenda of Governments. An example is how/whether statements by terrorists should be covered. This is a relationship which exists (although not sought by the media) and has to be addressed. Also, pressures to gain coverage and prominence can lead to make media coverage more sensational. The terrorists (and politicians) are also creating their own news media streams (through social networks etc.)
Brosse felt that media /journalists must act responsably and self-critically in presenting the story of terrorist acts. In the Tunisian revolution context, there were numerous prolems in how events and people were represented, breaches of confidentiality, hate messages etc. Brosse linked the way in which media represented the terrorist acts with success in the development of Tunisian democracy (i.e. poor unprofessional representation could harm the development). A bloggers movement was highlighted as a positive development, it focused on checking and countering false information.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sign at Miami Airport, October 2017