Integrating Media and Information Literacy (MIL) into our daily lives can create a safer and more informed digital world for everyone, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Jeremiah Sam, asserted at the Launch of the 2023 Global Media and Information Literacy Week in Kumasi.
He stressed the importance of the theme for this year’s MIL Week celebration, “Media and Information Literacy in Digital Spaces: A Collective Global Agenda,” highlighting the need to guide internet users on how to navigate digital spaces effectively and foster understanding of the impact of their online behavior.
“In an era where digital platforms have become the primary sources of information and communication, it is essential that we equip ourselves and our youth with the necessary skills to responsibly and critically navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape,” he said.
Touching on the impact that past MIL initiatives have had on the youth, Program Manager in charge of Communications at the Ghana Commission for UNESCO, Joan Nsowah Frimpong, indicated that through these MIL initiatives, young people have become better equipped to identify false information, protect themselves from online threats, and make positive contributions to the digital discourse.
To buttress the aforesaid, Mr. Stephen Tindi, a consultant MIL researcher, shared insights from Penplusbytes’ /DW Akademie’s evaluative report which explored MIL initiatives by Penplusbytes over the past four years in Ghana. He asserts that, although MIL initiatives have been highly effective and relevant, there is still potential to do more. He further recommended that Penplusbytes and its partners refine the target, scope, and strategies for promoting MIL to reach more vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, non-literates, and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
In a panel discussion that followed after the launch, representatives of Penplusbytes’ partner institutions: the University of Media, Arts and Communication-Institute of Journalism (UniMAC-IJ), the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) also shared some very useful insights around the importance of MIL during election periods.
For Dr. Kodwo Anson Boateng, Head of the Integrated Social Sciences Department at UniMAC-IJ, MIL education requires the effort of all stakeholders, and should not be treated as a one-sided activity.
“As Ghanaians become more digitally connected, the need for media and information literacy becomes a collective agenda. It is not the responsibility of one group; it is the responsibility of all,” he said.
The Global Media and Information Literacy Week since 2011 has been commemorated annually to raise awareness in order to increase national take-up and celebrate the progress achieved towards Media and Information Literacy for All.