Under the auspices of UNESCO, Penplusbytes and its partners have launched the 2020 Global Media and Information Literacy Week Celebration in Ghana. The colourful event which was attended by representatives from UNESCO, DW Akademie, University of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Journalism the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, NCCE, and other Civil Society Organizations sought to kick start the various activities earmarked to commemorate this year’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week on the theme, Resisting Disinfodemic: Media and Information Literacy for Everyone and by Everyone.
Launching the week celebration, UNESCO’s Country Head, Mr Abdulrahmane Diallo said UNESCO’s mission is to engender media and information literate societies through a comprehensive strategy which includes preparation of a model Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for teachers, the facilitation of international cooperation, development of guidelines for preparing national MIL policies and strategies among other initiatives.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a range of disinformation being churned out by different actors which negatively affects lives and livelihoods around the world and this need focused collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to fight against it. “Falsehoods and misinformation have proven deadly and sowed confusion about life-saving personal and policy choices,” he said.
He therefore commended Penplusbytes and its partners for setting the pace in championing MIL in Ghana especially among the youth who are actively engaged in the production and use of various information and content from the highly polarised traditional and new media platforms that currently exists.
According to the Deputy Executive Director of Penplusbytes Mr Jerry Sam, Penplusbytes has over the last four years positioned itself as the leader in the promotion of MIL in Ghana and has therefore partnered major communication institutions such as the Communication Studies Department of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in giving many students, non-formal education facilitators as well as content producers (bloggers, writers) MIL competencies and skill sets to shape their production and consumption of information and to also become multipliers or ambassadors of MIL in the country. “We have developed working a relationship
In countering disinformation, the Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo said the traditional media should position themselves as authenticators of true and fake news since social media is churning out a lot of fake news. According to Prof. Gadzekpo, it is the only way the traditional media can be more relevant. “The way the traditional media can be relevant will be to position yourselves as those who people come to verify whether a news item is true or not,” she said.
On her part, the Head of Communications Department at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Dr. Lawrencia Agyapong, said, “The Ghana Institute Journalism, recognizes that MIL must be given the much-needed attention it deserves in Ghana. As a result of this, the Institute has begun processes to integrate MIL into our curriculum at the Institute. We also have set up a research group whose focus is on MIL issues. We will be counting on support of our partners, other donor agencies and government to make this happen.”
On behalf of the Management of GIJ, she extended their sincere gratitude to Penplusbytes, DW Akademie and UNESCO for their unflinching support to the Institute in ensuring that Media and Literacy becomes available to everyone and used by everyone to combat disinfodemic.
The MIL Project Manager at DW Akademie, Ms Abena Benewaa Fosu condemned the increasing spread of disinformation within the society and how that threatening the peaceful co-existence of people around the world especially as we find ourselves in elections period.
She reiterated DW Akademie’s commitment to integrating media and information literacy in Ghana and would, therefore, continue with its partnership with Penplusbytes and other major stakeholders to build the capacities of more young people in Ghana to become critical producers and users of media information “leaving no one behind.”
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in four key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and enhancing oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources and health, environment and research.
By Joyce Hilda Efia Aboagye