Academics from around the world heard about UNESCO research on media development and Media and Information Literacy at two events in Cartagena, Colombia, on Saturday 16 July.
The occasion was the eve of the 60th congress of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, a global academic network that was formed under the aegis of UNESCO in 1957.
In Cartagena, UNESCO director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, addressed a pre-conference titled “Reflections on Foreign Aid, Philanthropy and Change in Media Systems”, which was organized by the Center for International Media Assistance; School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds; University of Westminster, Communication and Media Research Institute; and Global Forum for Media Development.
He highlighted the conceptualization of media development that underpins the Organisation’s Media Development Indicators, which were endorsed in 2006 by the 39-Member State council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
“The Media Development Indicators assess the state of media freedom, pluralism, and independence, along with safety and gender-sensitive criteria,” said Berger. “They do this by covering the legal and economic environment, as well as technical infrastructure and journalism support through capacity-building and civil society services”.
In addition, the indicators take stock of what this all means for the democratic performance of media, he explained.
The UNESCO director also drew attention to “opportunities for new research into media development arising from the indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 and from the outcome document of the 10 year review of the World Summit on the Information Society,” said Berger.
In a presentation to a second pre-conference titled “Global Shifts in Media Education: Where are we now?”, Berger previewed UNESCO research on how Media and Information Literacy(MIL) could engage with the right to privacy.
“MIL can teach understanding of the right to privacy, and its relation to anonymity and encryption” he said. “It can also promote understanding of risks to privacy, as well as empower people to apply judgement in what information they share and the terms and conditions of online services they use.”
Berger described the results of two studies commissioned by UNESCO – one exploring views on privacy among 1,735 young people across the world, and the other probing the perspectives of 231 MIL providers.
“These surveys show strong interest by youth in being empowered about privacy issues, but limited attention to the issue in courses provided by MIL educators.”
The MIL-privacy research will be published later in the year, and launched in the Global MIL Week 2017 during the feature global conference from 24 to 27 October 2017 in Kingston, Jamaica.