Media Literacy

© UNESCO / Gloria Alberti

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.

European Media and Information Literacy Forum

The first European Media and Information Literacy Forum will be held from 27 to 28 May at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This conference is co-organized by UNESCO, the European Commission, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and other partners.

>> Click here to read more about the Forum

Global Forum for Partnerships on MIL

The Global Forum for Partnerships on MIL, incorporating the international conference on MIL and intercultural dialogue, will take place from 26 to 28 June 2013 at Nicon Luxury Hotel, in Abuja, Nigeria, under the theme “Promoting Media and Information Literacy as a Means to Cultural Diversity”.

>> Click here to read more about the Forum

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