The first part of yesterday's session was Media and Information Literacy as a prequisite to tackle disinformation and conspiracy theories. Chaired by Rachel Fischer (Information Ethicist, Co-Chair of the International Centre for Information Ethics, South Africa), the panelists were: Dorcas R. Bowler (Director of Libraries, National Library and Information Services, Ministry of Education, Bahamas); Saša Mirković (Media Expert and Lecturer at Faculty of Media and Communications, Serbia); Kristine Stewart (Information Literacy Coordinator, Library & Learning Commons, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates); Anna Kozlowska (Assistant Professor and Liaison Librarian, The University of Illinois at Chicago, USA).
Two of the things that were highlighted were the Serbian national guidelines for MIL for citizens, which has high level support, and the need to target populations outside formal education. In terms of best practices, panelists emphasises: the need for colaboration with all stakeholders; the importance of not just thinking about functional literacy; the importance of the whole population thinking critically; integration of MIL; the focus on lifelong learning (not just learning in formal education); the need to address the power of Artificial Intelligence; the need for equality in MIL (e.g. fighting stereotypes); the need to set an example of MIL, personally; the need to provide educational material in multiple languages; Inclusive and flexible approaches.
The second session was Policies and Practices: Futures of Media and Information Literacy. It was chaired by Carolyn Wilson (Lecturer, Western University, Canada) with panelists: Divina Frau-Meigs (Professor and UNESCO Chair, Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, France); Dorothy Gordon (Chair of the UNESCO Information For All Programme, and Board Member of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, Ghana); Ramon Tuazon (President of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication and secretary general of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, Philippines); Masato Kajimoto (Associate Professor, at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong, China); and Maja Zarić (Head of Unit for International Cooperation, European Integration and Projects in the field of Media, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia).
Frau-Meigs mentioned that MIL is in the DG concerned with digital communications. She talked about the call for projects concerned with disinformation etc. in particular the projects she is involved with - think this is one of them http://project-youcheck.com/ & https://savoirdevenir.net/you-check/. She also rounded out the sessions by talking about the need for evaluation and metrics, and the need for good research evidence - Frau-Meigs talked about upcoming European research programmes that can be related to MIL (linked variously to employability, creativity etc.) She finished by emphasising the need for values as well as metrics, though, and the importance of supporting those who educate about freedom of expression. This also involved linking MIL to the environment and sustainability.
Gordon identified the importance of librarians, and that you cannot target just one group of stakeholders to reach all citizens. All citizens need to be included in MIL and people should have access material in their own language. It is important for key policy people to understand the importance of MIL and be trained, and a whole Government approach is needed. The pandemic has made policymakers more aware of the need for MIL. She also identified the problem in evaluating MIL projects, and a need for metrics. Tuazon identified a number of initiatives in Myanmar which had involved MIL, before the recent coup. I will also highlight the Philippine Association for Media and Information Literacy https://www.facebook.com/PAMIL.PH/. He said that UNESCO had been valuable in triggering MIL initiatives, then they needed to be taken up inistutionally to be sustainable. Tuazon felt it was important that young people were heavilyy involved in iniatives. He finished by identifying the power of the private companies in all this.
Kajimoto talked about how the current focus in Hong Kong is fake news and fact checking, and indeed this has been introduced more strongly in schools by the Chinese Government with new textbooks suddenly arriving. This brings in the issue of what the outcomes of these initiatives are, and how they will be evaluated: it is tricky for teachers implementing this, as this is a sensitive area. In terms of recommendations, one thing he identified was that you needed to develop MIL Curricula specific your own country, which takes account of the national/regional cultural, information and educational landscape in your country.
Zarić talked about how they brought together stakeholders from many sectors in Serbia and introduced the concept of MIL into law, then worked on MIL handbooks for educators (for preschool - elementary school - secondary school) which have been published on a web portal (in Serbian) and there is also an app and a TV series.