Digital Media Literacy in EDMO Round Table: NORDIS

Related project: EDMO II

This interview is part of the ”Digital Media Literacy in EDMO Round Table’‘ interview series that is published every month to highlight the work of the 14 EDMO hubs.

NORDIS, The Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorder, Mikko Salo & Kari Kivinen, Faktabaari, Finland

Who are the leading players in the Nordic region when it comes to promoting media literacy?

Promoting media literacy and education as a whole, it is fair to say that the general answer in Nordic media welfare societies is state actors including responsible ministries, agencies and media councils. Defining leading actors to overall citizen reach, national broadcasting companies play traditionally a  major role with proper channels and stable funding. For more country-level info check e.g. on EDMO country fiches.

 Our  NORDIS hub members liaise naturally with many of these actors in their hands-on activity whereas as a consortia NORDIS has focused it’s small MIL resources, especially to developing a complementary Digital Information Literacy (DIL) angle to digital information disorders. Independent NORDIS fact-checkers are very familiar with the increasingly manipulative digital information environment on a very practical level. Within DIL we have built synergies with our fact-checking work, method and source criticism while attaining evidence-base from our researchers to policy work.  NORDIS researchers have e.g. positioned DIL to Nordic media ecosystem strategy documents. Pilots have catalysed the thinking of many of the bigger media educators to rapidly changing information ecosystems and complemented traditional players. A recent Nordic think tank report NORDIS researchers vision a  A Nordic approach to democratic debate in the age of Big Tech including the enforced role for DIL and fact-checking. 

Do you have any idea as to how media-literate people in this region are generally? Are there any types of measures that can be used to assess this over time?

2021 OSIS media literacy index ranks all Nordic countries top in Europe while NORDIS empirical findings suggest that we cannot afford complacency in our trust-based societies. Expert interviews indicate that especially social media, ChatGPT and other AI-driven digital causes worry, next to basic reading skills declining along with new media habits. For measuring human real action online, a priority is to ensure researchers access to very large online platforms data to keep them accountable. This would also increase our awareness for more evidence-based policy and literacy responses.

What are the main challenges you face in promoting media literacy in Denmark-Norway-Sweden-Finland?

Nordics is not a unitary actor and challenges differ. However, from the point of view of critical media education and Digital Information Literacy, the main challenge is the speed of technological change and resources to react to that. The cooperation between the countries remains mostly at the state level or in some cases within research projects. Some civil society organisations cooperate cross country.  A more systematic arena for exchange does not seem to have emerged yet, but could be addressed with DIL focus at NORDIS follow-up projects together with like-minded networks.

What value do you think EDMO and the network of EDMO hubs in particular bring to the challenge of fighting disinformation and promoting media literacy in this region?

Next to hands-on literacy activities by NORDIS fact-checkers, developing Digital information literacy efforts have framed our development work. On a wider perspective DIL guide has offered a reference for traditional media education actors to position themselves especially towards digital media information disorders and information manipulation. Next to being compatible with fact-checking, the  novelty of DIL is also that it is fully compatible with new DigComp 2.2. lifelong learning  digital competence framework that allows future cooperation. 

The materials have spread widely especially among Finnish stakeholders, whereas the exchange on Nordic level remains dependent on further investments during the NORDIS follow-up programs.

On practical literacy efforts, most mutual learning has taken place within new formats and convergence of materials e.g applying and testing the same STOP, THINK, CHECK approach between TjekDet and Faktabaari. 

More info on NORDIS literacy activities:

What types of media literacy activities have been organised by NORDIS since it was set up?

Next to development work, coordinated activities have been run next to International fact-checking days, NORDIS meet-ups  and many local events with stakeholders. Källkritiksbyrån has invested in major events such as Källkritikens dag while Faktisk Tenk has led outreach to global community hosting e.g. a major MIL event during Oslo Global Fact event 2022. 

A major effort on establishing Digital Information Literacy was carried out by University of Helsinki academics DIL course with useful video material.

See also the links to fact-checkers literacy website in local languages.

What plans do you have in relation to media literacy for the next 12 months for NORDIS?

Nordic media education scene has a long tradition and institutions where  NORDIS can drive as catalyser. No other program brings together such a variety of independent researchers, hands on expertise (fact-checkers) and pedagogues for fact-based public debate especially in the highly manipulative information ecosystem dominated by social media marketing platforms and other AI applications becoming mainstream. Within the next 12 months, NORDIS focuses on sustainability. NORDIS hub pilot phase final event can be followed online 15.9. Stay tuned for next phases within the EDMO family.

Mikko Salo, Co-Founder Faktabaari, Finland

Kari Kivinen, Education outreach expert at EUIPO OBSERVATORY, Faktaabari, Finland