Open Access
UNESCO and AU's Media and Information Literacy Course

 

Open Access
UNESCO and AU's Media and Information Literacy Course

Unit 10 – Engaging with Media and Using New Technology and Information for Social Action

Introduction

woman showing photos on her camera to two girls Increasingly citizens are using their media and information literacy skills to provide alternative views to the content of mainstream and online media. Such user-generated content increases the diversity of voices and opens the door to a variety of perspectives. Often individuals and interest groups work outside of traditional media, but more and more broadcasters now work with citizens and their communities to include such user-generated content as radio programs, photographs and videos, news stories, letters to the editor, online blogs and posts, and digital storytelling. The opportunity for change afforded by all forms of media makes global citizenship achievable and gives special meaning to the principles of freedom of expression and intercultural dialogue. 

When not cooperating with traditional media, individual citizens and their organizations are using the Internet to organize themselves and to mobilize public opinion by producing their own radio shows, newsletters, newspapers and magazines, wikis, spoof websites and sites that expose misinformation. Some activist websites specialize in one issue. Culture jamming, for example, is a response to the flood of consumer messages that overwhelm us every day and isolate us from our duty as citizens to engage in public life. Wikipedia provides a list of culture jamming techniques. Other websites provide general information about how to use the media to achieve results. An activist toolkit is provided by rabble.ca, for instance. And Amnesty International also supplies toolkits for people who wanted to become active.

The new reality of media is that media space is shared by powerful organizations like corporations, governments and political parties as well as non-governmental organizations, community groups and individuals. In some cases there is obvious tension and attempts to subvert the messages of others. In other cases, people have been able to work together to promote the public good.

There are four areas where citizens can engage with traditional and new media for social action:

Photo credit: Picture 164 by Carol Schaffer CC BY 2.0

Check out the Course Glossary.

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