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


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

Unit 2 – Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue


Each day we are surrounded by more and more information and messages from media and other information providers, including those on the Internet. Information and messages are often about the cultures we grow up in or about the cultures of people from other countries and regions of the world.woman reading a newspaper in a newspaper hat

They come to us through television, radio, the internet, books, libraries and archives, newspapers, magazines, mobile devices, billboards, and so on. Each of these means of transmitting information and media content can influence the ways we think, act and believe. But not many of us understand the importance of media and information providers, including those on the Internet, to our daily lives and developing knowledge of how to examine the messages and information they disseminate in order to decide whether they are truthful or fair. Many persons still do not know or understand that many of the challenges (such as cultural and religious conflicts) that we face can be overcome by accessing and using the right information; or that we miss many opportunities because of the absence or misuse of information. This is what courses in media and information literacy are meant to do: give people the knowledge and intellectual tools they need in order to make informed choices and participate actively in society.

The media and other information providers do not exist by themselves. Our cultural environments influence media content. In turn, media content influences our cultural environments. It is a complex circular process of interacting elements that each citizen must learn to understand and employ. In today’s media environment, it isn’t enough to understand our own culture; we must also learn to appreciate the viewpoints of other cultures so that we can work together to build strong communities and address mutual issues. Learning to understand, appreciate, and accept all forms of cultural diversity is a necessity for maintaining healthy democracies, promoting and enjoying freedom of expression, practising social justice, establishing peaceful communities, and ensuring intercultural cooperation.


Suggested Activity 

  1. Develop Your Own Definition of Intercultural Dialogue LabforCulture offers people the opportunity in 6 languages to participate by adding their own definition of Intercultural Dialogue and then seeing how their definition relates to the others online. Choose a language and add your own definition of intercultural dialogue.

Photo credit:  "I read the news today, oh boy" by Flood GCC BY NC ND 2.0

Check out the Course Glossary.

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