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Third National Stakeholder Forum on Media and Information Literacy held in Mongolia

The Third National Stakeholder Forum on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was held on 25 November 2021 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia under the theme “Digital Literacy and Inclusion as a Booster for Infodemic Immunity”. The forum was jointly organized by the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and the Press Institute of Mongolia as part of Mongolia’s national celebration for UNESCO Global MIL Week 2021.
Mr. Tapan Mishra, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office, Mr. Sambuu Boldsaikhan, Secretary-General of the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, and Ms. Munkhmandakh, Executive Director of the Press Institute of Mongolia delivered opening remarks. More than 60 stakeholders, including representatives from the Mongolian Government, non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations attended the event and discussed how media and information literacy can contribute to addressing disinformation and hate speeches especially in and after a state of emergency, and bridging the digital divide for inclusiveness especially for women, youth, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Mongolia has identified digital literacy and inclusion of left behind groups as national priorities, as outlined in its Digital Nation Strategy. With support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), UNESCO has been supporting Mongolia in this endeavour by equipping policy makers, media regulatory and self-regulatory professionals with advanced knowledge of MIL policy and best practices, and improving capacities to respectively adapt and apply MIL curricula and policy in Mongolia.
Prof. Khan in his opening remarks pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale and on various levels to keep people safe and informed, but at the same time, “the technology we rely on is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine effective responses and jeopardizes informed decision-making”. Therefore, the importance of media and information literacy, particularly digital literacy for all, is more critical than ever. “Sustained and coordinated efforts are needed among all stakeholders.” He stressed.
The second edition of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Curriculum Think critically, Click Wisely: Media and Information Literate Citizens, which is an updated version of the first edition released in 2011, were officially introduced at the forum, followed by a discussion on terms and definitions for localization to create a shared understanding and buy-ins at all levels.
The discussions during the forum were centered around four major aspects, including access to education during COVID-19 and capacity building for the education sector in the state of emergency, opportunities and challenges in transitioning to the “Digital Nation” and addressing the digital divide, building MIL knowledge and skills to prevent and protect against disinformation and hate speeches, and responsibility of media in social development and importance of ethical and professional conduct for the media sector.
Discussion results have been generated into recommendations, including developing a comprehensive national policy and strategy for MIL education, promoting the new UNESCO MIL Curriculum and organizing training for teachers, improving knowledge and understanding of MIL among journalists and media workers, among others. The recommendations will be delivered to the Mongolian Government for further consideration towards a national MIL policy.
Under the theme “Media and Information Literacy for the Public Good”, the UNESCO Global MIL Week 2021 highlights the needs and importance for each individual to be equipped with MIL competencies to understand, contribute to, and benefit from information and communication opportunities, and at the same time, advance the public good.
Through capacity-building resources, such as curricula development, policy guidelines and articulation, and assessment framework, UNESCO supports the development of MIL competencies among all people. Free and open online courses are available for self-paced learning about MIL. Through media and information technologies, UNESCO facilitates networking and research through the Global Alliance for Partnerships on MIL (GAPMIL) and MIL University Network.
For more resources on media and information literacy, please visit: https://en.unesco.org/themes/media-and-information-literacy