Why MIL is vital for you | Media and Information Literacy | DW | 24.10.2019
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Why MIL is vital for you

Global Media and Information Literacy Week is on from October 24-31. DW Akademie's Media and Information Literacy Project Manager Roslyn Kratochvil Moore reflects on why MIL is an essential set of skills for everyone.

Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week is upon us and from 24-31 October DW Akademie and our partners across the world will be running workshops, conferences and open days and connecting people on media and information literacy. This year, UNESCO has chosen the theme: "MIL Citizens: Informed, Engaged, Empowered" and this has compelled us to use the week to really explore the interconnectedness between our projects and to build momentum around MIL at both the local and global level.  

I believe that MIL is vital for anyone who is trying to navigate our complex media and information environment, especially in an increasingly digitized world. If we really want MIL to have an impact on our societies and help mitigate some of the issues we are dealing with — disinformation, hate speech, gender-based violence online (GBVO) and cyber-bullying, to name a few — then we need to be reaching more people, connecting with stakeholders and facilitating exchange. We need people to see their own need for media and information literacy and for them to want to be informed, engaged and empowered citizens who can be a part of shaping the world they live in.

MIL in the digital era

At DW Akademie we strongly advocate that media and information literacy is a prerequisite for ensuring and protecting freedom of expression and access to information. As our societies become ever more fractionalized and polarized, the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and access to information are eroded. In both the analogue and digital realms these rights are increasingly misunderstood, undervalued or bartered with under the premise of security. 

As the extent of our information disorder becomes clearer with the fast development of deepfake technology (manufactured videos and audios), artificial intelligence (AI), such as trolls and bots in our online spheres, and loss of trust in mainstream media, it is clear that MIL has an important role to play. It is not about being able to change this informational tide but rather ensuring that citizens possess the skills to access, understand and navigate their information systems and are empowered to actively participate in creating and ensuring a public sphere which is respectful, pluralistic and engaged.

Be a MIL role model

In collaboration with our partners across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa, we run MIL initiatives all-year round but Global MIL Week gives us the unique opportunity to celebrate and promote MIL, to raise awareness of these projects and to connect all of our partners and MIL communities. The message for us will focus on the MIL Citizen theme, specifically how MIL can not only change your life but how it can help you be a role model for others and how this will create a global conversation and movement to call for the types of media and information systems that we want.

These questions were already posed to youth attending the UNESCO MIL Feature Conference in Gothenburg in September and you can watch their responses in a short video shot by Alexandre Amaral from the Media and Information Literacy Expert Network (MILEN). You can browse our Global MIL Week 2019 dossier to follow the exciting activities taking place this week, from video competitions and awards in Ghana and Namibia, to a regional conference in Myanmar and the roll out of our MIL Campus in Central America. Not to mention that MIL will also be part of the Indigenous Languages Festival in Guatemala supported by MILEN.  Scroll through our photo galleries, watch some of our videos and learn more about what DW Akademie and our partners are doing all over the world.

I promise you are going to be inspired and please stay in touch as the momentum that we are raising for MIL during this week will kickstart a MIL campaign that includes MILEN co-hosting the Digital Citizen Summit in New Delhi, running workshops for media professionals and NGOs, a series of webinars and much more.

Please join us in shouting out for MIL this week by using the #GlobalMILWeek hashtag and sharing and liking our posts on social media.

Roslyn Kratochvil Moore is the project manager for Media and Information Literacy (MIL) at DW Akademie.