Youth’s Voice for the Future of Media and Information Literacy in Asia and the Pacific

More than two hundred young people from Asia and the Pacific participated the online consultation “Youth’s Voice for the Future of Media and Information Literacy in Asia and the Pacific” on 18 November. UNESCO Offices in the region, and Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) organized this online consultation.

Dr Ming Kuok Lim, Advisor for Communication and Information for UNESCO Office in Jakarta, in his opening remarks hoped that through the online consultation, youth’s suggestions and opinions would help us better integrate Media and Information Literacy (MIL) into education and strengthen the youth network on MIL.

Ms Andina Dian Dwifatma (Indonesia), lecturer at Atma Jaya Catholic University, in her presentation shared that Indonesia, just like other countries, also faces an increasing polarization in the media. People place other people into categories and refuse to talk to each other. She also explained that social media algorithms increase the polarization and drive people into living in their own echo chamber and bubble. Ms Dwifatma suggested we get out of our comfortable echo chamber, recognize your potentiality for confirmation bias, and reduce our social media screen time, read books as well as talk to real people.

Mr Marlon Nombrado, Co-Founder Out of the Box (OOTB) Media Literacy Initiative in the Philippines, shared MIL initiatives including providing educational resources, training, and advocacy campaigns. He shared framework that defines media literacy as a set of three distinct yet overlapping practices: to interrogate media texts, to create with media tools, and to participate meaningfully in the digital media space.

Ms Arulselvi Azhagiri, Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) Youth Ambassador for Asia, as the third speaker underlined that information is our basic human rights. It is freedom of expression and information empowers citizen, but if it is overloaded, it can cripple. We have different types of sources for getting information. People frequently fall for misinformation; people already have some schema in their minds.

She furthermore encouraged participants to develop critical thinking, to analyze the information, to compare with the different sources and with different search engine. That is the main component of Media Information Literacy. Ms Azhagiri urged everyone to develop basic information hygiene practice: to check for the source and verify it with the fact checkers.
After the plenary speaker session, participants joined breakout sessions to provide inputs for the Plan of Action for Youth Engagement to enhance Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in Asia and the Pacific.

Dr Crispin C. Maslog, Chairman of AMIC Board of Directors, closed the event by reminding that despite the evolving technology, media should honour truth, balance, fairness, justice, decency and love.

UNESCO is the UN specialized agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and access to information. Media and Information Literacy is part of UNESCO’s core programme. UNESCO actively contributes to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 16 related to access to information.


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