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Global Media and Information Literacy Awards 2021


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Global Media and Information Literacy Awards 2021

The International Steering Committee of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance calls for nominations for the 2021 edition of the Global Media and Information Literacy Awards. The Global Media and Information Literacy Awards will recognize information/library, media and technology specialists, educators, artists, activists, researchers, policy makers, NGOs, associations and other groups integrating MIL in an innovative way in their work and related activities. Specifically, the awards will recognize excellence and leadership in six sectors: Education, Research, Policy, Advocacy, Media and Communication, and Information sectors.

The Global Media and Information Literacy Awards are presented every year at the Global MIL Week feature conference. For 2021, the Global Media and Information Literacy Awards are led by the International Steering Committee and members of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance.

Submit a nomination

Awards Criteria

Work in any area/sector can be recognized within these six overall categories, as long as the activities reflect integration of media and information literacy concepts, including intercultural dialogue, in education, research, policy, advocacy, media and communication, and information sectors.

Nominations should:

  1. Describe how the nominee’s work and activities impact specific groups or society at large.
  2. Describe how the nominee’s practices do influence or could influence the media and Information Literacy field at large, in a local or global context.
  3. Provide testimonials, links to pictures, video clips, and any other published content (if appropriate) produced by the nominee.

Evaluation criteria:

  1. Consistency: relevance to the Awards; alignment with media and information literacy objectives
  2. Innovation and Excellence: uniqueness and originality of the approach(es); quality of documentation and evidence; innovative aspects of the programme
  3. Impact: the extent to which the intervention enabled positive change on specific groups or the society at large; level of contribution made to achieving media and information literacy objectives; reach of the programme and frequency/number of media coverage
  4. Implementation: the extent to which the intervention achieved its objectives; degree of integration of media and information literacy into the organization/individual's regular work, the organization/individual's commitment to the programme

In 2021, the Global Media and Information Literacy Awards reflect specific areas of expertise or advocacy within these five overall categories. Nominees are expected to be champions and promoters of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in connection with one or more of the following areas:

  • Cultural, ethnic and gender equality;
  • Diversity and pluralism;
  • Tolerance, peace and efforts aimed at countering hate;
  • Intercultural/interreligious dialogue and equality;
  • Freedom of expression, access to or right to information;
  • Privacy;
  • International MIL cooperation.

In addition, nominees should be supporters of critical, constructive spaces for knowledge sharing, research and debate. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; others areas will be considered as well.

The work of the nominees may also be related to one or more of the following fields, which are central tenets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Health
  • Peace building
  • Economic development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Fundamental rights
  • Poverty reduction
  • Cultural diversity


Public health has come to rely on awareness of healthy diets and active lifestyles, as well as mass consciousness with regard to such health challenges as COVID-19, AIDS, Zyka, and others plaguing contemporary societies. People are accessing health information and messages through a myriad of information and communication platforms.

Furthermore, media, libraries, and information and communication campaigns, products and services, are expected to improve our societies’ collective and individual knowledge sharing. Critical media and information competencies are a necessity, not a luxury, as all citizens need to be able to access and evaluate information related to physical and mental health.


New education and library practices, pedagogies for the proper use of information, technology and media, including digital media, and the promotion of cultural diversity in formal, informal and non-formal learning settings are expected to found a new era of interactive, immersive, and participatory education. From schools and other formal education spaces to informal, non-formal and local initiatives, MIL can foster a new era of responsive and emancipatory education. MIL can build a bridge between the learning that occurs inside and outside the classroom through libraries, media, technology, social media, and new and emerging electronic and virtual platforms for learning.


The world of media and entertainment continues to be a space for innovation, inspiration, freedom of expression and social cohesion. From “gamification” to indie movies, Bollywood to Nollywood, and from advertising strategies to transmedia projects, many of these initiatives go beyond pure entertainment, aiming to engage consumers and artists alike in collaborative initiatives. At the same time, these developments need to be underpinned by media and information ethics and responsibility, with a recognition of the social impact of information, libraries, media and technology, and ultimately, competencies in media and information literacy.


Savings, responsible consumption, sustainable investment strategies and sound public finance are part of a global reality which requires from all citizens the ability to deal with financial issues, from housing projects to educational planning. Financial literacy has become a highly promoted topic and practice. Financial and business reporting is widespread globally. What financial data and advise to trust or not is a crucial concern. The recent rise of ponzi schemes and the frequent online scams connected to savings and investment give rise to the need to explore how MIL can spur financial literacy and other social literacies.


Innovation, and thinking “out of the box” have become imperatives of contemporary societies, and media and information literacy includes recognition of the full expression of creativity. Creativity can drive economic growth and social development. This emphasis on creativity, innovation and cultural diversity is important in education, media and information industries, policy making, and in the work of NGOs and activists.


The use of information, media and technology can become the basis for propaganda and the promotion of a culture of hatred. Peace making is a global priority which requires a renewed perspective on the impact of knowledge sharing, media representation, and an ability to see, listen to and support cultural diversity, and interreligious dialogue. This perspective is integral to media and information production, consumption and distribution.

Cultural Diversity

In its rich diversity, culture has intrinsic value for development as well as social cohesion and peace. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only in terms of economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, which provides a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. The concepts of representation and cultural diversity are key components of media and information literacy.


With an ever-increasing importance being placed on the planet’s wellbeing, media and information literacy can help to foster critical thinking in relation to educational activities in environmental challenges, where individuals are required to access, evaluate and analyze information for a variety of environmental purposes. From analyzing initiatives in water education to obtaining the proper information on the environmental effects of products and services, media and information literacy can inspire a more responsible attitude towards the planet’s most important resources.

Poverty Reduction

The need to eradicate extreme poverty and establish a collective commitment to work towards this aim through media and information literacy is essential if we aspire to fight this severe injustice and abuse of human rights. MIL is based on an expanded definition of literacy that is essential for full participation in life in the 21st century and can be a source of inspiration and action to support livelihood systems and provide literacy skills that can help to combat poverty. The role of media and information literacy in poverty reduction, in close co-operation with other social sectors, is crucial.

Human Rights

When, at the end of the Second World War, UNESCO was created in the wake of the International Commission of Intellectual Cooperation, it was based on the conviction that intellectual and moral solidarity of humankind and the respect for justice and human rights are essential to building lasting peace. The Constitution of the Organization states as its first objective, the contribution to maintaining “…peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. Article 1 also notes, “Collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image.” These universal values of human rights are at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate which explains why its contribution in the elaboration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been considerable. MIL, with its connections to interreligious and intercultural dialogue, gender equality, freedom of expression, right to information, access to information and the right to privacy, is essential in securing human rights around the world.


Migration has become a global challenge, whether caused by climate, war, ethnic, religious or political conflict. Media and Information Literacy is key for both migrant populations and for those authorities and organizations who help those populations.

MIL for Civic Engagement

To participate fully in sustainable development and civic life, citizens need to understand the information and messages that surround them. Such an understanding is particularly crucial in decision making about environmental issues, dialogue and tolerance, human rights, peace and elections etc. Nominees are invited to consider submissions that include good practices and innovation focusing on municipalities or local government actions for engagement with people through MIL-related activities.