South-East Europe Regional Conference on Media and Information Literacy

To mark the Global MIL Week 2021, UNESCO is hosting South East Europe Regional Conference to gather relevant stakeholders in the region involved in Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and discuss how to work better together to harness the potential of MIL for the public good.
In the current information ecosystem of complex and sometimes contradictory messages circulating online, it is hard to conceive that the public good can be advanced if the public is unable to engage with information, respecting the rights of others and combatting expressions that cause harm. Capacity building is needed for each individual to understand the stakes – and for the public to contribute to and benefit from information and communication opportunities. Specific knowledge and skills are needed, and UNESCO aggregates these under the banner of MIL. The recent period has been a turning point in recognition of the urgency to promote MIL for all. As the world slowly begins to move towards a new post-COVID normal, the conference aims to ensure tangible advances in the role of MIL to uphold the vision of information as a public good.

South East Europe is a region with a challenging media environment where resilience against online harmful content needs to be further built. However, the awareness of MIL as a tool to empower societies is maturing in the region. Taking stock of the recent progress in the implementation of the UNESCO EU- funded project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2” and other initiatives to promote MIL in the region, the event will take stock of the current state of play of MIL in the region through a multi-stakeholder perspective, will put forward recommendations for deepening its integration.

The second phase of the project, “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”, was launched in November 2019 by UNESCO and the European Union, DG NEAR, to increase the resilience of media and citizens to online disinformation and ensure access to reliable information. To achieve this objective, the project aims to reinforce the MIL skills among citizens of the region while building the media’s capacities to curb disinformation through new skills and increased commitment to professional journalistic standards. It is expected that those activities will contribute to renewing trust and understanding between media and citizens and thereby strengthen freedom of expression.