Friday, September 24, 2010

Media literacy who is responsible for its development?

In Brian O'Neill's Media literacy and communication rights article, he talks about the concept of Media Literacy as a critical tool for citizens in nation-states to interact not only within their own physical communities but also with those they interact with online and through various forms of media. This critical tool as stated in various media policies in Europea as "a prerequisite to effective participation in technologically advanced societies" (pg 325), has brought about many revisions and extensions on how media literacy should be achieved and who should be responsible for achieving it.

The focus seems to be on nation-states who in turn create a definition of media literacy before turning to "regulatory authorities and media industry interests [to] play their part in helping to promote and improve levels of media literacy" (pg 328). This makes finding a source for learning media literacy very blurred and ambiguous as one group looks to the other for a solution. One of the main solutions suggested is education, mostly education of youth. A field in which the U.S. is stated to lag in because of its "failure to recognize media literacy and media education as a right that all children and young people have" (pg. 326). But with the U.S. being one of the nations with the most proliferate users of technology is it a failure to recognize rights or is that as a nation that prides individual achievement and creativity, we see children as having the ability to navigate technology in their own way or is it simply that the nation like others hasn't chosen who is responsible for educating individuals namely children to be media literate.

It seems the issue is a universal one with concepts such as the Oslo Challenge created by Norweign government at the 10th Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC), which calls upon the government, educators and media industry interests to promote childrens' media rights (pg 335). This concept along with the formation of the CRC have focused and transformed the concept of media literacy into a basic human right and while that confirms the legitimacy of media literacy as a fundamental part of social interaction and political involvement, it still doesn't address how or who is suppose to initiate this education. Is it the nation-state, the NGOs, private media firms or local education?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that it seems there is a general understanding that media literacy is important, but there is a gap in implementation. One of these reasons is what you stated, in that who exactly should be responsible for implementing media literacy, especially for the youth. I think the fact that the United States is a very individualistic society that puts confidence in individual citizens to learn and make the right choices themselves. However, I do feel like American society is very concerned with the well-being of children, and that being said, I don't feel that the responsibility to make children media literate should fall solely on parents. I think our government should mandate media literacy classes in all public schools for elementary students. In order for this to happen, we have to guarantee that teachers are media literate. I think this would be a good step towards making our youth more educated media consumers but I know this process will take awhile to implement, but I think any action would be a great start.