The new media services and video-sharing platforms have brought about significant shifts in the trends for audiovisual content consumption. These content services, that are here to stay, are also contributing to an audiovisual ecosystem that requires different approaches complementary to existing regulatory measures in order to provide citizens with the skills, knowledge and understanding to use such media effectively and safely.
In my opinion, the relevance of media literacy has been growing in a slow but steady manner. This “slow cooking” has contributed to a situation whereby public institutions, among others, now recognise the importance of media literacy by fostering, funding, and also implementing themselves different media literacy initiatives.
For the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC), media literacy has been one of the axes of its scope of action since the Council was created in 2000. We target our media literacy initiatives to four different sectors: teachers, families, media organisations, and academia. In this article, I will refer to just some of our initiatives.
As an example of CAC interest in the formal educational field, we have been organising the CAC School Awards since 2004 on an annual basis. These awards are given to centres that integrate media literacy into the school curriculum. The aim is to promote media education and give visibility to the experiences that take place in schools and high schools in Catalonia. A total of 17 awards and 14,000 euros are distributed among the various subcategories in which the 3 main ones are: a) schools in Catalonia – from kindergarten to post-compulsory secondary school, including special education centres; b) high school students who carry out research work; and c) teachers. The call for the 18th edition, to be awarded in 2021, has already been published.
In 2017, we took a further step with the launch of the eduCAC program, an initiative of the Council in collaboration with the Department of Education of the Catalan government. The main objective of eduCAC is to promote media education, mainly in schools, but also among the general population, with content and proposals designed for families on the use of screens by children and teenagers.
The educational community can access this program through the website www.educac.cat. The website includes teaching units, which deal with information, entertainment, advertising, and good practice in the digital field; classroom projects, which encourage audiovisual work in the areas proposed in the units; and transversal itineraries, focused on debate and reflection on the values and social issues that concern students. All the materials have been elaborated by pedagogues and specialised professionals who worked together with our staff. At the end of 2020, the eduCAC website has more than 2,000 subscribers. Another point of contact with teachers is the eduCAC newsletter, sent periodically with news and tools related to media literacy. Around 1,500 subscribers received the newsletter in 2020.
To reach the general public, in 2019 we devised the #AMiNoMenganyen campaign (they don’t fool me campaign), to awaken the critical spirit and encourage the responsible use of technology and the media. The campaign was integrated by a TV spot, broadcast during prime time, three different creativities for live radio and short clips to be shared in social networks.
As a meeting point between the actors interested in working on media education, sharing knowledge and good practices in this field, in June 2019 we set up the Platform for Media Education. The main purpose of the Platform is to carry out initiatives and publish resources that contribute to critical thinking in the current communicative context, in order to empower citizens and strengthen democracy. At the end of 2020, the platform has 63 members.
And then, unfortunately, covid-19 arrived. However, the pandemic has not stopped our work on media literacy activities. On 20 March 2020, one day before the lockdown was confirmed, we launched a set of recommendations to warn about fake news contents.
During the lockdown, the CAC launched the “Stop, Think and Check” campaign against disinformation. In August 2020, the CAC launched the “To get wiser” campaign, in which more than twenty experts reflect on coexistence, the use of screens and digital responsibility after the lockdown. We also have been working on a media campaign for the good use of screens in online learning and for safe use of social media, on a set of recommendations for the good use of the screens, and issued infographics with reflections on responsible use of video calls in educational environments
Edumediatest and more media literacy initiatives are coming for sure in 2021!
Mònica Duran Ruiz. Lawyer, responsible for international relations at the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC)