With some two billion young people with a stake in celebrating the International Youth Day, UNESCO calls for all stakeholders to support their empowerment through media and information literacy (MIL).
As present and future creators and leaders of the world in an age of media and technology, it is vital to provide young people with competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitude) to advance peace, respect for human rights and intercultural dialogue.
In a Statement of Youth Committee of Global Alliance on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) to mark the International Youth Day 2017, Ms. Adama Lee-Bah, head of the Committee noted, “MIL blossoms in an environment where there is a rapid exchange of ideas and perspectives. Yet, youth are also one of the most vulnerable groups, prone to radicalization, hate speech, false news and intolerance”.
She pointed to UNESCO research, which found that “54% of youth surveyed don’t know how to respond to hate and extremist material they encounter online”.
There is more on this research in the MILID Yearbook, Media and Information Literacy: Reinforcing Human Rights, Countering Radicalization and Extremism, published by UNESCO.
The Youth Committee statement adds: “Many young people live in societies where an understanding of contemporary social issues is reduced by either a lack of access to information or critical competencies to evaluate information. Skills, knowledge and the ability to be critical thinkers and to engage in research and information verification is, thus, urgent,” called out the GAPMIL Youth Committee.
UNESCO’s Programme Specialist, Alton Grizzle, points out that young people should be actively involved in the promotion of the MIL. “As highlighted in the GAPMIL’s Youth Declaration on Media and Information Literacy, it is crucial that governments, universities and research bodies to see how best the youth can be mainstreamed into their initiatives.”
The GAPMIL youth committee are also inviting youth to join in and advocate for critical thinking and development of MIL competencies through UNESCO-led social media innovation, MILCLICKS.
The UNESCO-initiated GAPMIL promotes international cooperation to ensure that all citizens have access to media and information competencies. Established in 2013, it works globally on the development of MIL.
UNESCO, the Media and Information Literacy Intercultural Dialogue University Network, UNAOC, GAPMIL and other partners promote Global MIL Week 2017, 25 October-1 November, 2017 and organize the annual feature conference on 24-27 in Jamaica. On 24 October a MIL Youth Agenda Forum will kick-start the Global MIL Week Feature Conference as an extension of the UNESCO Global Youth Forum in Paris, 25-26 October 2017.