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Industry Report: Film Literacy

What is Europe doing to encourage our media literacy?


- The European Audiovisual Observatory publishes a new study on our capacity to access, have a critical understanding of and interact with the media

What is Europe doing to encourage our media literacy?

Media literacy - our capacity to access, have a critical understanding of and interact with the media - has never been as important as today. It seems that every day, some "fake news" sets the internet alight, only to be revealed later as a hoax. In the era of #badbuzz we are literally swimming in a sea of information, advertising and just plain fiction. So what is Europe doing to encourage our media literacy? What measures are being taken at national and European levels to foster our critical appreciation and understanding of the mass media? The European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has just published a brand new study.

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Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU-28

Maja Cappello, Head of the Observatory's Department for Legal Information talks about this new study.

Link to the video clip about this project.

This study has been financed by the European Commission with the goal of analysing the various media literacy initiatives on a national or regional level in order to provide an overview of what is currently being undertaken. This is the first major mapping exercise to survey the field in Europe. Although this study does not aim at covering the entirety of media literacy initiatives, it provides a detailed analysis of the main trends, based on a selection of 547 projects involving 939 stakeholders across the European Union, which were identified through a questionnaire addressed at national experts from the different EU-28 member states.

Out of the 547 different media literacy projects analysed, the authors found that initiatives to develop "critical thinking" were the clear winner, representing a massive 403 out of 547. This is followed by "media use" with a total of 385 projects aiming at improving our ability to search, find and navigate and use media content and services.

Other major findings of this unique study include the fact that civil society plays a very active role in media literacy projects, representing around one third of all stakeholders. Interestingly, the study states that two thirds of the main stakeholders involved in media literacy projects actually have no formal responsibility or duty to act in this field. Although the study does not extend to school-based projects (at the demand of the European Commission, given that other studies exist), remaining extra-curricular in its approach, the authors found that "teens and older students" are the main target demographic for media literacy projects.

In terms of structure, the report delivers its key findings in the first chapter before moving on to explain the project's scope and methodology in the second chapter. Chapter three presents the findings in their entirety. The various stakeholders and 189 main media literacy networks across Europe are identified. The 547 projects analysed as the basis of the study are then analysed before the report focuses more closely on the 145 'case study' projects featuring in this report. The report closes with an overview of trans-national and pan-European programmes.

This study is accompanied by a wealth of background media literacy research contained in its 4 annexes:  annex 1 delivers country by country detailed national summaries, annex 2 contains the list of the 547 featured projects, annex 3 summarises the 145 case-study projects and annex 4 contains the original responses from the 29 national experts.

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