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The European Council encourages Media Literacy

Monday 6 June 2016, by SIGNIS

Brussels, June, 6th, 2016 (NewEurope). The European Council issued a press release on conclusions adopted on developing media literacy and critical thinking through education. It also acknowledges the many benefits and opportunities that the Internet and social media can bring, and highlights the potential threats and dangers they can present.

The conclusions stress the fundamental role of education and training in helping young people to become media-literate and responsible citizens of the future.

You can read the full text here. Below, find a short summary of it.

The Council considers that “The internet - and social media in particular - offer unprecedented, almost limitless opportunities in terms of sharing knowledge and ideas. By providing instant access to vast amounts of information, as well as access to a wide range of sources, they can have a significant impact on opinions, attitudes and perceptions. They also offer everyone a platform to create, share and publish content themselves, thus helping to unlock talent, foster creativity and promote innovation.

Today’s world is characterised by easy and continuous access to the internet, with people, especially the young, spending more and more time online. Virtual communities and contacts - notably via social media and instant messaging services - are growing in importance.

The Council also notes that “Media literacy (…) is of increasing importance. It is closely related to active engagement in democratic life, to citizenship and the ability to exercise judgment critically and independently as well as to reflect on one’s own actions, and can thereby enhance young people’s resilience in the face of extremist messages and disinformation.”

The Council invites the member states to

  • Encourage sufficient attention to be paid to developing media literacy and critical thinking in education and training at all levels, including through citizenship and media education.
  • Seek to increase digital competence levels among learners of all ages, in a lifelong learning perspective, as an important precondition for strengthening their ability to participate actively in the democratic life of our modern societies as well as for enhancing their employability.
  • Encourage socially safe learning environments, both online and offline, in which controversial issues can be openly discussed and freedom of speech preserved, and empower teaching staff to initiate and moderate such discussions.
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