About 60% of the global population and 70% of youth is using the internet. Thus, ensuring citizens have the skills needed to think critically about media and information in the digital age is no doubt one of the defining challenges of our time.
The information available through multiple media has escalated the complexity of this environment, posing new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it.
UNESCO in Jordan partnered with the Jordan Media Institute recognize this new tech complex world and are actively involved in developing awareness and foundations for young people and community to provide media literacy.
To traverse and thrive in a world where misinformation and disinformation campaigns have become a part of everyday exchanges, it is important to create an informed citizenry and a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.
UNESCO and the Jordan Media Institute efforts in this direction are exemplary since the first joint MIL initiative that was started in 2016. It was long before the exponential rise in disinformation, increasing influence of digital platforms, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the current ecosystem of complex and sometimes contradictory messages and meanings, it is hard to conceive of the public good being advanced if the public is disempowered in the face of opportunities and threats. 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
Every year, the Global Media and Information Literacy Week, is commemorated from 24 to 31 October; this is a key week to reflect on how information and media content is accessed and assessed worldwide, both online and offline.
Youth received particular attention this year within the framework of the Youth Forum organized today by the Jordan Media Institute with the support of UNESCO. Short workshops and discussions within the youth networks are organized to encourage youth to blog about media and information literacy and intercultural dialogue.
Keeping in mind the well-being of the public with the need to empower them with the right information, such an event was conceived. The MIL endeavor is aimed to engage youth in the creation and dissemination of MIL knowledge and resources as leaders and peer educators, and to increase awareness for the prevention and resilience to disinformation.
In 2020, the Jordanian government approved a four-year national strategy on MIL (2020-2023) under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. In addition to that, the National Center for Curriculum Development (NCCD) has recently launched the curricular framework for “media education” at schools through the integration of media concepts into most subjects across all levels of school education in the Kingdom, including in private and public schools.
The Jordan Media Institute is the implementing arm of the national strategy; the Institute has trained more than 3410 youth, teachers, faculty members, and school students across Jordan on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills.
For decades investing in education has been the drive of development for countries. In this digital era, societies need empowerment in Media and Information Literacy skills, especially youth to engage and thrive in the virtual space. Whether interacting on the social platforms or engaging with the virtual reality, for entertainment or education, or seeking knowledge, the key word is discernment. The joint Media Information Literacy programs between UNESCO and JMI address this need to serve the cause of public interest
UNESCO’s Multi-donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists supports and champions media and information literacy initiatives across the globe. These efforts resulted in 25 countries taking steps to develop national policies and strategies on media and information literacy, carrying out training in close to 100 countries based on the Media and Information Literacy Curriculum, expanding the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance with members in 113 countries, supporting 300 youth organizations, 100 of which are in Africa, integrate and strengthen MIL in their policies and operations, reaching hundreds of thousands of young people.