The yearly MLEG meeting that took place in Brussels on December 11th, at DG-Connect headquarters, showcased a series of very interesting reports as well as some impressive “sensible” practices.
Among the reports, to be noted, the Council of Europe Study conducted by Martina Chapman « Supporting Quality Journalism through Media and Information Literacy » https://rm.coe.int/draft-version-of-msi-joq-study-report-rev-v6-2/168098ab74 and the RAND study conducted by Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva « Study on media literacy and online empowerment issues raised by algorithm-driven media services »
The CoE report drew attention to Media education competences to help people recognize and value quality journalism, among which understanding how content is created, distinguishing between content and opinion, recognizing influence factors such as stereotyping, bias, unfair portrayal, inappropriate content or context, lack of evidence… and understanding how the presentation of content can influence how content is perceived. The RAND report called on potential interventions strategies and “media literacy by design”, stressing the need for improving cognitive reflection, to overcome biases (adjusted algorithmic filtering; cue reminders, increased transparency…), breaking the media flow (browser extension, rapid interruption of tasks…) and training and education to increase general digital skills (in school curricula, with information campaigns for larger public).
Among the sensible practices, European Schoolnet presented « Social Media for Change » http://fcl.eun.org/sml4change, Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) showcased « Media Literacy for All : Supporting marginalised groups through community media » https://rm.coe.int/cyprus-2020-media-literacy-for-all/1680988374, CLEMI showed « Famille Tout Ecran » https://www.clemi.fr/fr/guide-famille/guide-pratique-la-famille-tout-ecran.html and VUB developed all their activities around « Mediawijs » https://mediawijs.be/
These reports and practices showed clear advances in Media Education, especially as to a better understanding on how data affect media, in the particular context of disinforrmation. Savoir*Devenir was also present and mentioned the DG-connect supported project Youcheck ! http://project-youcheck.com/ This on-going project builds on the INVID plug-in, developed by AFP (France) with partners of Horizon2020 eponymous project, to detect fake images and videos. Coordinated by Savoir*Devenir, it co-joins the expertise of several partners, such as Uppsala University (Sweden), Ecolearning (UNED, Spain) and SNSPA school of policy (Romania). It draws attention to the visual component of fact-checking and its attendant strategies for Media education.
Savoir*Devenir also described the Council of Europe programme on Digital Citizenship education https://www.coe.int/en/web/digital-citizenship-education/digital-citizenship-education-project It has generated several publications, a handbook, a recommendation and a ministerial communication upheld during the French presidency of the Council of Europe. The programme is also developing “Guidelines to Support Partnerships between Education and the Private Sector », to take into account the growing interest of platforms and social media in media education. Savoir*Devenir recalled the warning by CoE member states, according to which the involvement of commercial platforms could not be done to the detriment of independence, transparency and the public interest, so as to « exclude adverse effects of commercial interests in face of public responsibility for education ».
Savoir*Devenir, with the support of other NGOs, expressed the need of an independent oversight mechanism around media education research and education, to ensure that platforms provide findability of quality content, pluralism of sources and tools and showcased the diversity of Media literacy initiatives. These issues will no doubt be part of the continuing conversation in Zagreb, during the Croatian presidency of the EU. The Croatian government, in collaboration with DG-Connect, has chosen to showcase “Media literacy in an Ever-changing world” as a means of responding to EU’s current challenges. It will hold a conference on the topic during European media education week, 30th March-April 1st. The whole project was presented during the MLEG meeting and the speakers were announced, among whom Divina Frau-Meigs for Savoir*Devenir and Sorbonne Nouvelle UNESCO Chair “Savoir Devenir à l’ère du developpement numérique durable”. The upcoming event will focus on Media Education as a means towards a more active and resilient society, with challenges on how to integrate it into education, gather stakeholders, fund projects and empower citizens.