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Global Media and Information Literacy Week

A Global Media and Information Literacy Week from 24 to 31 October is due shortly.

Nigeria will host and commemorate eleventh Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2022. That there is a week of discussion ahead is surprising and I flash back to my young days.

When I was a young girl we sat very quietly down by our radio set to listen to the news at 9pm. We were encouraged to be part of a discussion on what was reported, post the news. We knew that what we heard on the broadcasting lines was news as it has happened, and it was authentic information.

Times have changed, and the word disinformation and misinformation have invaded the media circles, no longer does one source give you the news. Hundreds of channels and now social media attack your aural senses. Media is not where you go for information, it seems more for polarized commotion.

Today we have a special week to commemorate annually, “Media and Information Literacy”. This is a major occasion for stakeholders to review and celebrate the current status of media and the progress made since the Media and Information Literacy Week was instituted. The genesis of Global Media and Information Literacy Week was in 2011 in Fez, Morocco. This was long before the exponential rise in disinformation, political polarisation, increasing influence of digital platforms and the COVID-19 pandemic. These collectively have transformed the way information-whether authentic or not is disseminated.

Realising the fast-shifting scenario along with the promise and peril of new technologies. In 2021 the UN General Assembly recognised the substantial digital divide and data inequalities that exist among different countries and within them. In a resolution citing the need for the dissemination of factual, timely, targeted, clear, accessible, multilingual, and science-based information it sought solutions to stem blurring of lines between information and disinformation.

What is the purpose of the commemoration of such subject matters? For one thing this is a globally accepted malaise. The challenges such as growing digital divides, cyber threats, and human rights violations online come as a package deal with the incredible benefits of the digital world. The UN agencies provide space for exchange on how a more equitable digital world, one which will lead to a brighter and more prosperous future for all.

Several countries has agreed that this issue can be addressed in part by improving people’s competencies to seek, receive and impart information in the digital realm. Each individual needs to be equipped with media and information literacy competencies to understand the stakes, and to contribute to and benefit from information and communication opportunities. A monumental task this one, yet not insurmountable.

Different tools are being tried by universities, schools and other collaborating agencies to sensitise the young to understanding the boundaries of information. Digital media literacy is incorporated into the classroom activities during Media Literacy Week and beyond! In fact, this year’s focus will include the 12th Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue Conference and the seventh Youth Agenda Forum. Since 2016, UNESCO has been providing a platform dedicated to young people during the annual Global Media and Information Literacy Week. The Forum aims to highlight the importance of ensuring participation of youth in programmes, initiatives, and activities on MIL, and to engage youth in the creation and dissemination of MIL knowledge and resources as leaders and peer educators.

Where does this fit in the Soroptimist scheme of things and align with the Programme Action we hold so dearly. Yes, it does, marking days itself is a powerful advocacy tool and this becomes the first benefit.

Moving on Education, under the SDGs is so vital to developing countries. For education the lack of digitalised education sadly exacerbated the digital divide, as in the two years of COVID.

In the projects for women and girls, creation of tools that enlighten them to facts and help them sift the truth from fiction.  is well know that the impressionable mind of the young leave them floundering when there are conflicting messaging they receive. This week is an opportunity to raise awareness for everyone to be alert and discerning with the information that surrounds them.

The Media Literacy Week is also an occasion for Soroptimist to drive home the point of human rights and peace and how in achieving both these the need is to be able to able to distinguish between facts and fallacy. Working at the grassroot communities is the right place to begin planting an awareness and creating a literacy of the all-pervading media.

Nisha Ghosh
SIGBI PR & Marketing Director
SI Pune Metro East