It is a big challenge to think about the importance and significance of media and information literacy in BiH while being surrounded daily by complex (often even contradicting) events all while dealing with communications at the same time. But to take the opportunity and not address you, our public, especially in the week marked under the motto “Media and Information Literacy for the Public Good”, would be a shame. That is why we dedicate the content of our new blog to this topic because we believe that this is an opportunity to give our review of the importance of media and information literacy for all of us, especially when it comes to our country.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that in previous years, the last week of October was celebrated worldwide as Media and Information Literacy Week (MIL). This year, South Africa is hosting UNESCO Week dedicated to the media, a week in which we should all stop and reflect for a moment on the values of one’s society, but also think about respect given for basic human rights and freedom.
To understand media and information literacy, as well as their importance to us as individuals and society in general, let us explore the definition which inclines that “Media and information literacy refers to the cognitive, technical and social skills and abilities of citizens to access, critically evaluate, use and contribute to information and media content through traditional and digital information, media platforms and technologies, while understanding how these platforms and technologies work, and learning how to, while using them, exercise their rights and respect the rights of others, how to identify and avoid harmful content and services and use information effectively, media content and platforms to meet their communication needs and interests as individuals and as members of communities, and to practice active and responsible participation in the traditional and digital public sphere and democratic processes. “
It is for these reasons that every individual in our society should be informed about media and information literacy, ways for how to recognize it and understand the situation in his/hers/their surroundings, but also to contribute and benefit from information and communication opportunities. Especially at a time when the connection between health, information, communication, and technology is very important and when transparency, trust, multiple sources, and quality media are just some of the elements that affect this type of information.
The fact is that we live in a time where information is at our fingertips and we can find it all around us while looking at our mobile devices, laptops, desktops, and other types of media such as books, newspapers, television, and radio news… No matter how and in what way we receive information, we are the ones who make the decision which information we will, finally, choose, and whether the source of placement and information suits us. At the same time, we need to be aware that on the one hand we can be exposed to very useful and content of high quality, but on the other hand, we can also see content that can be very dangerous. Precisely those contents, often, harm many democratic processes in society due to the media and information illiteracy of the community and individuals with underdeveloped skills and lack of ability to approach contents critically, evaluate and understand them.
To be able to distinguish harmful and dangerous news and information (which we often call fake news) from true news, we must first know that fake news is untrue information that has no verified sources and does not represent the facts, while false information was created unintentionally and spread around.
Today, while social networks take the lead in news placement, information is transmitted so easily and quickly that it only takes seconds for them to be in focus or out of focus of our attention, we are giving a reminder that content needs to be “filtered” more than ever and it can be done by checking facts and critically evaluating the information and content provided by these platforms.
Of course, the solution is not to remain illiterate when it comes to media information and news, but it is even more imperative for all of us to “wake up” and pay more attention to the quality of information so we can protect ourselves and our environment, while also being able to recognize the true value we need in the present moment. So, let’s listen, read, explore, check the content while being evaluative and analytical to become and stay a part of society that will contribute to the betterment of the world, we live in.