UNESCO supports policy dialogue on media and information literacy at an international conference in Pakistan

The second International Conference on Media and Conflict(link is external) was organized by the Pakistan Peace Collective under the auspices of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 11 and 12 February 2020 in Islamabad. The conference brought together national and international organizations, researchers and practitioners to deliberate on ‘peaceful coexistence in the digital space’.

Over the course of two days, more than a thousand students, journalists, academics, media professionals and government officials attended the conference. The audience took part in interactive discussions on a range of topics including fact checking, digital divide, digital perspectives from South Asia, successful approaches to teaching digital literacy, online spaces and preventing extremism, information disorder and media and information literacy for sustainable development and human rights. The conference prompted a constructive debate on education reform and capacity building of teachers. In particular, participants echoed the need for ensuring inclusiveness and giving special attention to disenfranchised groups under initiatives such a ‘Digital Pakistan’ for it to be a driver for sustainable development.

The conference was inaugurated by the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi. In the plenary session on global challenges in the online space, UNESCO representative in Pakistan Patricia McPhillips emphasized the need for evidence based policy making for the internet and online spaces, based on principles of human rights, openness, accessibility and a multi-stakeholder approach.

The conference featured dedicated sessions and a workshop on disinformation, media and information literacy and global best practices. Ricardo de Guimarães Pinto, Programme specialist for UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) presented UNESCO’s composite concept of media and information literacy and available policy guidelines and curricula. Mr de Guimarães Pinto also shared platforms such as UNESCO-led Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) and the UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID Network, and encouraged interested institutions to explore opportunities for collaboration.

The research volume generated from the conference will be used as a starting point to develop a network that can advise the Higher Education Curriculum Review Committee of Pakistan on developing/adapting academic material on media and information literacy.

UNESCO Islamabad’s partnership with the Pakistan Peace Collective is the result of a national conference organized by UNESCO IFAP in September 2019 in Islamabad, on Media and Information Literacy to Prevent Violent Extremism.

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