Mass media, social networks and ICTs overall becoming more and more an inevitable part of life of the citizen in 21st century. Alongside with that, there is a sudden rise in the understanding of the concept of media literacy, filtering and working with information. And recent warfare developments on the territory of Ukraine proved a significance of the given concept once again.
My name is Dmytro Mamaiev. I`m Projects Coordinator of the ‘Efektas Group’ enterprise in Lithuania. And I`m Ukrainian. Following the development and implementation of the CulTech project funded by EU, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of the knowledge regarding media literacy and its place in the everyday life of any person regardless Your position or social status.
Essentially, media is the method by which messages are distributed to an audience.
Media is a broad term, and encompasses many different forms. Media is any communication outlet used to distribute information, entertainment and data. Essentially, media is the method by which messages are distributed to an audience. We can define literacy as the ability to identify, interpret, understand and communicate. Literacy skills include the ability to read, write, speak and listen effectively.
So, how do these two words tie together? Media literacy is the ability to understand information that is presented to us and respond appropriately. We need to make a conscious effort to understand how all forms of media are created and consumed.
Why does media literacy relevant nowadays and how Ukrainian context matters here?
On 24th of February Russian Federation has commenced a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Fake news and propaganda became a separate frontline of our realities (aside from the battle in the sea, on the ground, in the air). Thousands of fake accounts, websites, social media channels just exploded an informational space of Ukraine. Therefore, Ukrainian society has faced with an urgent need to act. To recognize fakes, to deny propaganda by truthful information, to block and complain on the artificial social media channels.
All of above-mentioned explicitly or implicitly regards the notion of media literacy. Considering a fact that the best way to manipulate, to scare people is providing them with information everyone will be afraid of, information frontline and ability to work with information became of paramount importance in Ukrainian realities. Majority of Ukrainian people did not expect, obviously, that a war will occur. Therefore, once an invasion has commenced, we were shocked and chaotic. However, it passed away fast enough and ordinary citizens along with the governmental and expert community have consolidated efforts in order to fight Russian state-funded propaganda flows.
Media literacy is a skill
Considering my personal case and some of my fellow citizens (colleagues, friends), we could assume ourselves as media literate in a relative extent. That is due to my educational accomplishments, personal and professional activities. Filtering and analyzing of the information, critical assessment of it, check-ups of the facts helps me personally to disseminate a necessary information, to share it with people who would really need it and not to spam others since flows of data right now are tremendous. If we will consider an ordinary Ukrainian person who does care about what is going on in Ukraine at the moment.
Media literacy skills also assist me in terms of analysis of the war development and potential forecasting of the events in a short-term prospective (should admit that it is incredibly difficult). Unfortunately, Russian Federation is not planning to stop dissemination of their fakes, bots and propaganda. Therefore, a need of self-awareness and self-enhancing of the media-literacy skills is growing with every day for us.
Simple suggestions how to become more media literate
We know now that we shouldn’t believe everything we see and read in the media. But how do we know what to trust? Let’s look at some ways You can become media literate.
Educate yourself on media literacy
But you can never have enough knowledge, and a great way to develop your skills is to carry on learning. There are plenty of resources available online to help You on your media literacy journey.
Practice your skills
Considering the amount of media we are exposed to each day, it’s near impossible to analyse every single piece of media in great depth. However, the more you practice your media literacy skills, the better you’ll be at analysing and evaluating media. As you work on these skills, your critical eye for the media and cautiousness around what you consume will become a habit and you’ll be able to consume content in a healthier manner.
Question the media you consume
You should make a conscious effort to assess the media you consume. You can do this by asking yourself some key questions about the media you come across. By doing so, you can find out the intent of what you consume and determine whether or not it is worth consuming.
Things you could ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of this content?
- Who is it geared towards, is it targeted to a specific audience?
- How could this be interpreted by different audiences?
- Has this information come from a reliable source?
- What, if any, information has been left out?
And always remember that we live in the age of digital content and revolution. The further we go, the more information pressure we will have. Therefore, media literacy is about a constant dedication and development for the better sake of our own and society overall.