European Media Literacy Week conference in Brussels. As usual with liveblogging, these are just my on-the-spot impressions, and I will be using my iPad to do some of the blogging, and that often has a mind of its own (bah, autocorrect). The conference is livestreaming, go to the conference web page and scroll down for the link. Kate Russell, a tech journalist, is acting as MC for the day and she talked about the growth of news and information.
The opening talk was from Mariya Gabriel (Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society). She emphasised education in media literacy, the relevant regulations of the Regulations introduced in the European Union, and the specific objectives of this week. She talked about the importance of critical engagement with information and news, and the need for education in this area, and the requirement for education outlined in the regulations, requiring action from all stakeholders. In particular educators were singled out for their particular role, including developing media literacy resources (sadly I don't think she mentioned librarians at all.....) and the obligations of media platforms to do more to fight disinformation and promote transparency. European Media Literacy week is seen as an opportunity of promoting the ideas, vision and experience of those engaged in media literacy. providing access to media and information and developing media literacy was seen as vital for the democratic vision of Europe.
Valer-Daniel Breaz (Minister of Culture and Audiovisual, Romania) Also emphasised the importance of a coordinated approach to tackling misinformation, since media had become a more important force than any state. Therefore citizens need media literacy competences, whilst media producers need to use technology and ethical approaches in publishing information. Breaz mentioned the proposals in the area of media literacy and the combat of misinformation e.g. in the report produced at the end of 2018 (which I have blogged previously) and in the EU's audiovisual regulations. He also emphasised the need for free and transparent information in the lead up to the European elections, which take place throughout the EU in May. Again he noted the need for education of young people, so that they were media literate both in consuming and creating media and information. Braez said it would be valuable both to share resources across the EU, to have a means to evaluate information for the benefit of EU citizens, and to have a means to compare Media Literacy initiatives across the EU.
Finally in this opening session, Ronald van Roeden gave a talk on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, The Netherlands). He also identified the need for a responsible press and media and media literate citizens in the run up to the elections for the European Parliament, and he also mentioned the forthcoming elections in the Netherlands. Journalists and media platforms were identified as having a particular responsibility in combatting fake news, and thus supporting openness and freedom. He advocated starting with the fundamental values of the European Union and saw effective use of technology to combat fake news (and understanding how technology is used to promote fake news). In the Netherlands they started a campaign earlier this month (linked to the elections), urging people to be curious and critical about news. Van Roeden talked about the differences between older people and younger people in their beliefs and reactions to media, and he said that there is more focus now in raising the awareness of older people about the dangers of fake news. He finished by showing a special edition of a Donald Duck comic focusing on diving into the digital.