Thursday, October 25, 2018

Safe, inclusive, media and information literate cities #GlobalMILweek

Some more liveblogging today from Global Media and Information Literacy week feature conference, from a session which covered various aspects of MIL cities. The session was chaired by Paulette Kerr (University of the West Indies) who also presented her idea of a smart city (smart - security, town planning, transportation, water & sanitation, infrastructure, energy, healthcare, education, building, governance) and noted that "smart cities require smart actors". She also stressed that a creating MIL cities involved effective creation, storage, retrieval, interpretation etc. of information.
Michele Filippo Fontefrancesco (University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy) talked about the project aiming to combat online hate speech: Words are stones One of the points he made was that people make assumptions that young people understand social media and the impact they have when they use it: their research showed that this is not the case (so this shows the harm of buying into the "digital native" discourse!) He stressed that what is said online has an impact on what happens offline, and young people, as much as anyone, need consciously to learn how to engage thoughtfully and carefully with each other online as well as offline.
Maximo Dominguez Lopez (Autonomous University of Mexico) started by talking about the importance of learning how to communicate inormation (e.g. using infographics or videos to communicate research results). He then mentioned the initiative to educate citizens about the issue of fake news, at the time of national elections, which also showed how librarians are relevant and active. Lopez moved on to identify the importance of copyright and ethical approaches for academic work. He emphasised the value of public libraries in working for equality, including for migrants.
Supreet Karanjit Singh (Red Dot Foundation, India) talked about the issue of violence against women, and ways of making cities safer for women. Singh stated that you cannot have a smart, MIL city if it is not safe from sexual harrassment. She identified the widespread problem of sexual harrassment and violence, and that 80% of these events do not get reported, and that if you do report incidents you go through a gruelling process that may not end up being successful. This raises the question "how do you solve a problem that is invisible". They created a web app, encouraging people to report sexual harrassment saying what happened and where, so they could develop a map. They have had 11,000 over 4 years. She said "you can use it like a TripAdvisor", which can make you more situationally aware when you visit somewhere. The website is at and you can download the app from that. Singh talked about one practical example, of a road that showed up was a site of a lot of sexual harrassment, and going to the community, engaging with the women and girls' stories. A key outcome was covering a wall with a mural that identified the problem and also the fact that it was illegal, and that led to citizens starting to self-police, and the road becoming a much safer place.

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