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Riga Recommendations highlight Media and Information Literacy as a life code for sustainable development

Monday 11 July 2016, by SIGNIS

Riga, July 11th, 2016 (UNESCO). Participants from over 25 countries joined in Riga, Latvia, for the Second European Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Forum which was held from 27-29 June.

MIL is very alive, within the institutions and on grassroots level. Calling on the roles of UNESCO Member States, Internet and technological intermediaries, civil society and GAPMIL as well as educators, libraries, journalists, audiovisual regulators, publishers and others, the Riga Recommendations recognized that MIL is a life code that can underpin sustainable development.

During the three inspiring days of the Forum, MIL was analyzed and explored from many different angles and approaches. The participants were faced with challenging questions about MIL in this shifting media landscape, but also reviewed successful examples of initiatives that are empowering people to be more critical about their information environment.

The need for stronger involvement of the internet industry was emphasized, as well as the necessity for strong contribution to the creation of a sustainable system through national policies in integrating MIL into formal, non-formal and informal education.
Empathy was underlined by several speakers: it was seen as one of the critical components of MIL in promoting peace and nonviolent behavior. Thus, the Riga Recommendations on MIL call all stakeholders to promote, through concrete actions, MIL as enabling all citizens to take part in political and social life in a democratic society.

During the last day’s Plenary session and Round tables, speakers emphasized how young audiences are receiving information that is less and less structured. It was concluded how it is necessary to find new formats and platforms and new writing styles, sending reliable journalistic content through platforms that young people use.

As it was noted during the Forum, the real dialogue should also happen at grassroots - individual level. Propaganda, often so harmful, can be used as beneficial to raise awareness on all levels and inspire people to action. There is clear absence of the inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue in the media, and these competencies should be integrated into MIL education, to help overcome disinformation, stereotypes and intolerance.

The Second European Media and Information Literacy Forum (EU-MILINFO II) was organized by UNESCO, the European Commission, the Latvian Government and the Sub-Chapter of the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), under the theme “Media and Information Literacy In Europe: Citizens’ Critical Competencies for a Rights-Based, Transparent, Open, Secure and Inclusive Information Environment”. It took place from 27 to 29 June 2016, in Riga, Latvia.

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