The plenary session titled: “New world, new literacies,” featured a variety of speakers from different media organizations, all discussing the importance of Media and Information Literacy and what it actually entails from different perspectives. This session encouraged proactive discussions and conversations not only between the panel speakers, but also among the audience.
To the first speaker, Mirta Lourenco, section for media at UNESCO France, Media and Information Literacy is crucial, as she believes that it’s more of a “right” to the citizens and they should all have access to it. She also talks about how the new media, especially the internet and social media replaced the traditional aspects of transferring media and information between people and that indeed has transformed Media and Information Literacy to another level.
According to Lourenco, what really matters in the prices of delivering Media and Information Literacy is to make sure that is not limited but attainable internationally to different countries. So, here’s where the importance of promoting Media and Information Literacy is needed the most.
One initiative that UNESCO HQ Paris is heavily investing on to promote Media and Information Literacy is to combine the efforts of the European commission and UNECSO to promote Media and Information Literacy. Lourenco believes that MIL can be best deliverable when it is a collective effort between different organizations.
The second speaker, Matte, European Commission, agrees with Lourenco on expanding the voice about Media and Information Literacy through the support of the media organizations together.
According to Matte, in 2007, the European Commission started to raise awareness about Media and Information Literacy through debates and conferences, but that was not good enough. So, he proposed the idea of taking an advantage of the existing new technologies to adapt the new media literacies through them. The world is changing significantly fast and we need to cope with these changes. We need new literacies to adapt to a new world. He finally suggested that we read the title of the session the other way around “New literacies, new world,” so that by defining new literacies, citizens will be able to define the new world.
Other speakers like Jordi Torrent, UNAOC, USA discussed the human aspect of Media and Information Literacy. To Torrent, MIL is a “Human inspect platform,” meaning that it is a way of reflecting the critical thinking of people and that language plays a vital role in the critical thinking process. He mentions an example of an interactive platform of MIL that they are working on for teachers where they can navigate using four languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and they are working on Chinese.
Torrent also highlighted the importance of Youth Media in promoting Media Literacy. For example, he argued that having a network of proactive schools could enhance Media Literacy. He also gave examples of mobile apps and interactive games that provoke proactivity and if we are able to actually use them effectively, they can help us fit in the new media era.