Media & information literacy
Technological advancement, namely, the development of Web 2 and social media has qualitatively altered a traditional understanding of media. Today, people have direct access to information sources; they may be creators as well as disseminators of media content and even more so, they are not required to have either special academic background or working experience in journalism.
The technological advancement has changed the power of control over the dissemination of information: traditional media no longer enjoys the monopoly on agenda setting, something that posed additional risks in the conditions of media ownership concentration. While the traditional media identifies, based on professional criteria, what information is important and worthy for society, citizens today are able to search information sources on the Internet and share that message which they deem proper themselves. These changes have resulted, on the one hand, in making the realm of information more pluralistic and accelerating the cycle of information, and on the other hand, in easing the spread of misinformation and hate speech.
To overcome existing challenges it is important to develop media and information literacy skills which, using all forms of communication, include the following components:
- Accessing media,
- Analyzing media,
- Evaluating of media,
- Creating media content,
Media and information literacy is the skill of using all types of media comprehensively and evaluating media content critically, while a critical reasoning is the skill of analyzing facts and evidence in an objective, rational, skeptical and impartial manner.
The United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) views the media and information literacy in the context of equality and human rights and places emphasis on the necessity to ensure equal access to information and knowledge and promote free, independent and pluralistic media and information systems.
UNESCO's 5 Laws on Media and Information Literacy
UNESCO suggests the following Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy. They are: