As part of “MIL goes viral”, a DW Akademie project, young Tunisians are developing social media content to teach peers about Media and Information Literacy. Two participants say they’ve learned much about MIL themselves.
How do deep fakes work? How does unchecked information spread so quickly? These are just two of the questions young Tunisians have been tackling on Facebook and Instagram as part of the DW Akademie project “MIL goes viral”.
Together with counterparts, the youth are learning how to produce short videos aimed at their peers by using techniques such as animation, stop-motion and on-camera reporting. The project was launched in several countries at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to develop youth-oriented media products that use a human-centered design approach. Young people in the Palestine territories, Jordan and Guatemala, for example, have developed three app games.
In Tunisia, youth are focusing on social media campaigns against disinformation. 19-year-old Rawia Guidara and 20-year-old Nacim Ben Hmed are taking part in the “MIL goes viral” project and told DW Akademie that they are benefiting from it themselves.
Rawia: My teacher asked me. I hadn’t really been into journalism before but I’d won the Arab Reading Challenge and I've also been the national Chess Champion for the last three years. I think they thought I might be an interesting participant for the project.”
Nacim: I was also asked. I’m active in various youth groups, and I’m involved in theater as well as radio and TV production with youth companies. The project was a perfect fit for me.
Rawia: Not really. Some teachers do try to be creative and include MIL elements in their teaching, but it wasn’t a subject when I went to school.
Rawia: I think knowledge and an awareness about MIL will help young Tunisians develop skills to verify information before sharing it with others, and to spread accurate information that really has a source.
Nacim: It’s important that young people who use the Internet a lot benefit from the social media they use because a lot of fake information is being spread in Tunisia.
Nacim: No, and I hadn’t seen anything like our channels before.
Rawia: Me, neither. You occsionally see posts against disinformation on social media, or types of boycotting campaigns where users rally against accounts that deliberately share disinformation, but I'd never heard of an initiative like ours that really tries to look at the mechanisms behind it. I loved the project right from the start.
Two young participants in the “MIL goes viral” project work on their ideas for a media literacy campaign aimed at Tunisian youth
Rawia: I think our generation is different than the previous ones, partly due to social media because we know more about other cultures and are hopefully more open. But we tend to spread information very quickly before verifying it, and I would love that to change. I’d like my generation to learn about the dangers of racism and sexism, for example, but also about the importance of tolerance and equality because that will help us go far.
The DW Akademie project "MIL goes viral" is part of the "Initiative for Transparency and Freedom of Expression: Media Resilience during Crisis" by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Although journalists in Tunisia enjoy a relatively free media environment, the country's media sector still faces many challenges.
A recent conference and a newly founded regional network in the Middle East and North Africa enabled MIL practitioners to share best practices and find solutions to regional challenges.
At a time when misinformation dominates social media, media literacy is increasingly important. A recent conference saw participants from the Middle East and North Africa sharing their experiences.