Guidelines on how Youth Organisations can integrate MIL in their daily operations
We live in a media world replete with new technologies and citizens, particularly young people, are daily being fed with media messages that affect them in different ways. Around the world, children and youth are also learning to use these new technologies to address issues that affect them.
Media and information literacy (MIL) – the ability to review, critique and digest information created and disseminated by media of various kinds – is an increasingly vital citizenship skill for life in a modern democratic society.
Unfortunately, Nigeria has no national policy and strategy guidelines to guide the development of MIL in the country and to help citizens, particularly youth, understand and manage the impact of media and information on its democracy as well as social, cultural and political lives.
This guideline aims to help youth, through their organisations, working in different areas (democracy, environment, religion, sports, education, literacy, gender, human rights, inter-cultural dialogue, etc.) to take advantage of benefits of MIL by incorporating MIL skills and competencies in their daily operations.
In an information and knowledge-based society:
Youth organisations and MIL
- The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past 25 years.
- The news media, websites and content on social media play an increasingly important role in shaping perceptions in society.
- MIL can empower youth organisations to navigate the news media and the Internet with confidence and more capably address misinformation or bias.
- It allows them to understand and deal with contemporary events, challenges and issues in a way that is responsible, informed and effective.
- MIL should spur members of youth organisations to become active producers of information and innovators of media and information products, as well as critical thinkers.
- MIL should incite youth to use new and traditional media for self-expression, creativity and greater participation in society
- MIL can enhance inclusion through interactions with and learning about members of other religious communities.
Informed youth organisations
MIL is concerned with giving people an understanding of the importance of media and other information providers in order to:
MIL and youth advocacy
How to use this guideline for youth organisations
Media and information literacy (MIL) concerns the role and function of media and other information providers in our personal lives and in society, and is an important skill set for citizens.
- Youth, like other members of society, are influenced by and through the media
- While they may have expertise on their area of work, they are not necessarily media and information experts.
- It is important that youth who play a leadership role in their communities, are able to critically analyze information and news media content
- It is important that leaders of youth organizations are able to understand risks and opportunities associated with the Internet
- It is important that youth and their organizations become responsible and informed consumers and transmitters of information and opinion
For youth organisations, as for other people, the news media and the Internet provide a window to the rest of the world. They provide tremendous opportunities, but also carry some risks—and media and information literacy helps youth leaders take advantage of the opportunities while safely navigating the risks.
Integration strategies (1)
The following strategies for integrating the MIL in the operations of youth organisations are offered for consideration:
- For youth leader who have acquired MIL skills: Start talking to your members about MIL early on;
- Emphasize that those who aspire to leadership positions acquire MIL skills (through training like UNESCO’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC);
- Youth leaders who take online courses can act as trainers for members of their organisation to enable them acquire basic MIL skills;
- Youth organisations can emphasize in their recruitment drive the importance of MIL;
- Youth organisations can organise periodic intensive training on MIL for members, possibly carried out by MIL organisations, media institutes and universities in MIL University Network
Integration strategies (2)
- Multi-components integration: Different components of MIL can be integrated into various related areas of the operations of youth organisation.
- Youth organisations working in the areas of religion and cultural diversity, including teachers and youth workers in religious institutions and schools and those in civic education programmes with an interreligious and or intercultural component can supplement and support training in intercultural and interreligious dialogue;
- Youth organisations can join the advocacy for a national policy and strategy guidelines to guide the development of MIL in the country as well as the effort to integrate MIL in the school curriculum;
- Develop media kits that can be made available to the media to better inform them about your group and its activities;
- Provide key contacts of your group to the media for easy access to information about your activities;
- Designate a spokesperson to speak for your organisation;
- Youth organisations can design outreach programmes targeting other youth organisations around different MIL concepts like stereotyping (simple, one-dimensional portrayals of people, based on generalizations based on religion, gender, ethnic group, age, etc);
- In the long term, a combination of two or more of these strategies could also be explored. Evidently, the adaptation process and integration strategies employed will vary from organisation to organisations depending on a number of defining factors;
Integrating MIL in the operations of youth organisations is important in the digital world and crucial for the survival of modern governance.
- It will enhance the process of creating knowledge-driven, inclusive, pluralistic, democratic, and open societies.
- It is important to evolve an all-inclusive strategy and to engage stakeholders to buy into a systematic effort aimed at understanding media information literacy is compelling
- Developing practical MIL strategies, informed by the realities of youth organisation is important to achieve national development goals.
Goal of adaptation:
- Help youth organisations understand the deeper significance of information, media and being informed
- Assist members of youth organisations in using information efficiently, critically and ethically and to advocate and defend freedom of expression, access to information and other human rights
- Help members of youth organisations to be to be constructive information disseminators
- Help members of youth organisations to be more involved and creative in the production of knowledge.
- Help members of youth to be actively involved in the enterprise of knowledge production.
- Assist in deepening democracy and strengthening institutions of governance
- Encourage a comprehensive and harmonized approach to the design, planning and implementation of MIL programmes for youth organisations
The benefits of integrating MIL in the operations of youth organisations
- More active and increased democratic participation
- Youth as citizens to take a more active role in society, in turn making it more democratic
- Youth can increase their role as producers of content and knowledge besides being consumers of them.
- MIL is a basis for freedom of expression, access to information and quality education for all.
- Without MIL competencies, youth cannot be well informed because they do not have access to information and are not empowered to process and use it.
This guideline is adapted from UNESCO: Media and Information Literacy Policy and Strategy Guidelines.