Organisations from over eighty countries have agreed to join forces and stand together for change as a Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL). GAPMIL is a groundbreaking effort to promote international cooperation to ensure that all citizens have access to media and information competencies. This pioneering initiative was launched during the Global Forum for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) which took place from 26 to 28 June 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria. The forum was held under the theme “Promoting Media and Information Literacy as a Means to Cultural Diversity”.
Over 300 persons from more than 40 countries gathered for the event. Speakers and participants discussed, amended and adopted a framework and a plan of action for the GAPMIL which was prepared in advance through a global call for interest and a three-month online debate. An eleven-person steering committee comprising two people from each region was established. It includes six women (one a youth representative) and five men. Click here to view the details of the GAPMIL Framework and Action Plan.
High quality presentations were made by thirty eloquent speakers, seventeen women and thirteen men, on issues relating to MIL, journalism and intercultural dialogue.
Sessions sought to highlight the link between MIL, intercultural dialogue and journalism education, providing an opportunity for participants to discuss how journalism education and MIL contribute towards intercultural dialogue. Journalism education institutions were encouraged to building MIL and intercultural competencies into its pedagogical framework.
An important aspect of this debate involved a reflection on possible editorial guidelines on intercultural reporting, which will form part of a chapter in the forthcoming book on MIL policy and strategy guidelines. Sessions also served to preview the book recently published by UNESCO, entitled 'Model Curricula for Journalism Education: A Compendium of New Syllabi'. The syllabus on Intercultural Journalism was particularly highlighted for the benefit of the journalism educators present.
With Africa as central focus during the event, the African Chapter of the GAPMIL was also debated and launched by stakeholders from Africa.
Participants also had the opportunity to review and offer recommendations to improve draft model MIL Policy and Strategy Guidelines and the Global MIL Assessment Framework. These will be published later in the year.
Participants called for access to MIL competencies for all citizens and a complementary widening of the landscape especially for more community based media platforms such as radio, television, newspaper, libraries as well as investigative reporting of events so that citizens can be better empowered with information needed to make decisions and engage in intercultural exchange.
The growing influence of social media on societies, especially on our youth was noted. Participants urged authorities to harness these potential positives for civic empowerment and also address the risks by promoting national MIL initiatives. The challenges of basic infrastructures like power and broadband Internet facilities were underscored. As one of the speakers puts it, “…it is a good that we are debating media, media literacy, information literacy and intercultural questions… Sometimes we have the impression that media is different from libraries. I think that we should all sit together and think about how we should educate people to be informed... we should put our experiences/skills together in order to create national programmes that will help citizen’s at all social levels… to avoid being overwhelmed with over-information through social networks, being misinformed, being overwhelmed with advertisement propaganda, which divert attention… and could steer them towards separations and conflicts.” (Cecile Coulibaly, International Association of Francophone Librarians and Documentalists)
The event would not have been a success without the support of the Saudi Arabian, the Nigerian, and the Swedish governments. Practitioners in MIL, librarians, journalists, ICTs specialists, educators, journalism training institutions, civil society organisations, private sector, university professors, and state and UN representatives - who together formed a kaleidoscope of cultures - contributed to the success of the event.
UNESCO is grateful to all local sponsors as well as the experts from all over the world who could not attend in person but contributed to the online debates and the realization of GAPMIL.
Relevant organisation can sign-up to be a part of the Global Alliance on MIL through this link: Complete survey to be associate with Global Alliance on MIL.