Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in Brazil

© UNESCO

UNESCO’s Member States and international organizations should facilitate the acquisition of basic computer skills for all and further popularize the implementation and use of information technology and communication for sustainable development and peace.

Empowerment of people through Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is an important prerequisite for fostering equitable access to information and knowledge and promoting free, independent and pluralistic media and information systems.

Media and Information Literacy recognizes the primary role of information and media in our everyday lives. It lies at the core of freedom of expression and information - since it empowers citizens to understand the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions as users and producer of information and media content.

Information Literacy and Media Literacy are traditionally seen as separate and distinct fields. UNESCO’s strategy brings together these two fields as a combined set of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitude) necessary for life and work today. MIL considers all forms of media and other information providers such as libraries, archive, museums and Internet irrespective of technologies used.

A particular focus will be on training teachers to sensitize them to the importance of MIL in the education process, enable them to integrate MIL into their teaching and provide them with appropriate pedagogical methods, curricula and resources.

UNESCO’s mission is to engender  media and information literate societies through a comprehensive strategy which include preparation of model Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for Teachers, the facilitation of international cooperation, development of Guidelines for Preparing National MIL Policies and Strategies,  articulation of a Global Framework on MIL Indicators, setting up MIL University Network, articulation of and establishment of an International Clearinghouse on MIL in cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and provision of Guidelines for Broadcasters on Promoting User-Generated Content and MIL.

Information Literacy

The Alexandria Proclamation of 2005 describes information literacy and lifelong learning as the "beacons of the Information Society, illuminating the courses to development, prosperity and freedom. Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations."

Information literacy enables people to interpret and make informed judgments as users of information sources, as well as to become producers of information in their own right. Information literate people are able to access information about their health, their environment, their education and work, empowering them to make critical decisions about their lives, e.g. in taking more responsibility for their own health and education.

In a digital world, information literacy requires users to have the skills to use information and communication technologies and their applications to access and create information. For example, the ability to navigate in cyberspace and negotiate hypertext multimedia documents requires both the technical skills to use the Internet as well as the literacy skills to interpret the information.

Media Literacy

The proliferation of mass media and new technologies has brought about decisive changes in human communication processes and behaviour. Media Literacy aims to empower citizens by providing them with the competencies (knowledge and skills and attitude) necessary to engage with traditional media and new technologies.  It includes the following elements or learning outcomes:

  • Understand the role and functions of media in democratic societies; 
  • Understand the condition under which media can fulfil their functions; 
  • Critically evaluate media content; 
  • Engage with media for self-expression and democratic participation; and 
  • Review skills (including ICTs skills) needed to produce user-generated content.

Access to quality media and information content and participation in media and communication networks are necessary to realise Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This underpin all other rights.

UNESCO has a long standing experience in enhancing media literacy, founding the Grünwald Declaration of 1982 which recognises the need for political and educational systems to promote citizens’ critical understanding of “the phenomena of communication.

In light of globalisation and the explosion of ICTs, the Grünwald Declaration was reaffirmed at the international level by experts (information, communication and media), education policy-makers, teachers and researchers, NGO representatives and media professionals from all the regions of the world who met in Paris, in 2007. The deliberations of this two-day meeting gave birth to the UNESCO Paris Agenda - Twelve Recommendation for Media Education (Media and Information Literacy (MIL).
Recognising the close link between media literacy and information literacy, UNESCO has redirected its strategy to treat Media and Information Literacy (MIL) as a composite concept. We have also discontinued the use of the term ‘media education’, in this context, to avoid confusion with higher level media studies. The Organization has since supported a number of initiatives to engender MIL as an engaging civic education movement and a tool for lifelong learning.

Please read further below our overall MIL strategy:

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