Navigating the Media Maze: Empowering Seniors with Media Literacy

by Jaroslav Valuch, Transitions, Czechia.

In an era where the digital world is rapidly transforming how we access and understand information, the need for media literacy across all age brackets is more critical than ever. This is why Transitions, an esteemed organisation dedicated to fostering independent and professional investigative journalism, has collaborated with Elpida, a leader in senior education, to initiate a groundbreaking project focused on enhancing media literacy among seniors.

Our latest venture, made possible solely through the support of Google, is a testament to the valuable collaboration between technological innovators and educational bodies. Working with Google is particularly beneficial, as we often use Google’s tools as examples to demonstrate how to uncover false information. This synergy is essential in advancing our mission.

Elpida, established in 2002, has been a cornerstone for active seniors, providing a variety of educational and cultural activities. From engaging lecture programs and exhibitions to the well-received quarterly magazine VITAL, their efforts have significantly enriched the lives of many. Meanwhile, Transitions (TOL) has been a trailblazer in elevating the standards and independence of news media in post-communist Europe and the former Soviet Union. With Google’s support since April 2023, these organisations are on a mission to advance media education for older adults.

Our initiatives concentrate on a crucial yet often neglected demographic: seniors. The collaboration between Transitions and Elpida is set to create adaptable educational modules for local entities such as libraries and clubs. These modules are tailored to increase seniors’ trust in quality journalism, thereby boosting their media literacy and resilience against manipulative and misinformation tactics.

Our news project – “Fakt, jo?” program, is a series of five online courses, that invite seniors to test their resistance to misinformation. This initiative includes a new promotional video aimed at not just countering manipulative narratives but also improving seniors’ comfort and confidence in the digital realm. By challenging the stereotype of seniors as “digitally and media illiterate”, we present them in a realistic yet positive light.

This project is born out of the recognition of a concerning trend: seniors’ susceptibility to misinformation. Research by IPSOS, in partnership with the Central European Digital Media Observatory (CEDMO), reveals that 34% of individuals aged 55 and above often feel exposed to misinformation. This underscores the importance of media education as an effective weapon against the proliferation of false information, particularly among those aged 45 to 65.

Contributions from Elpida, particularly its choir, have lent a unique musical dimension to our promotional video. This is complemented by five educational videos and corresponding online courses. For those who prefer in-person learning, we have organised a series of offline meetings in Elpida’s centres in Prague and various regional institutions in the Czech Republic.

Our endeavours go beyond just imparting information. We strive to empower seniors, assisting them to remain confident and respected members of our society. It is unfair to tag them as the primary spreaders of fake news. Through our programs, we provide them with the skills to withstand those who exploit fear and misinformation, fostering self-assurance over fear, uncertainty, and stereotypes.

In focusing on seniors in the Czech and Slovak Republics, we recognise the importance of language accessibility. Our online courses are offered in a mix of both – Czech and Slovak languages, catering to a wider audience and ensuring that seniors from both countries can benefit from our initiatives.

To date, Transitions and Elpida have conducted over 300 events, especially in collaboration with local partners such as libraries. More than 3600 participants have engaged in our courses and lectures. We are now translating these offline experiences into an online format, making our media courses accessible and attractive through e-learning.

In conclusion, this project not only seeks to elevate the media literacy of seniors but also to actively integrate them into our digital society. By combining the expertise of Transitions and Elpida, we are forging a path for a more informed, resilient, and engaged senior community.

Together, we are not just navigating the media maze; we are reshaping it for a more inclusive and informed future.


Jaroslav Valuch is a news literacy and fact-checking project manager at Transitions, a Prague-based media development organisation, where he runs the organisation’s media literacy and disinformation initiatives, including, which provides support to Czech journalists and students in the field of verification and fact-checking, as well as a program focused on senior citizens. He is an experienced practitioner in the field of media literacy, hate speech prevention, countering disinformation, strategic communication, and communication with crisis-affected populations. He has worked with dozens of organisations and civic initiatives in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. He coordinates the SCIENCE+ project of Free Press Eastern Europe, which aims to improve medical journalism and respond to medical disinformation. Jaroslav is a member of the Crisis Information Unit at the Czech Ministry of the Interior.