Media literacy can be seen as a part of a wider definition of ‘literacy’ in the 21st Century. It does not simply refer to technical skills, but rather has to do with understanding, critical reading, the ability to analyse and reason and social participation.
As media becomes an increasing part of every-day life and as we make progress in bridging the digital divide, media literacy is becoming increasingly important. Media literacy is essential to giving people the choice to communicate, create and participate fully in today’s world.
UNESCO has a long-standing tradition in media literacy, dating back to its Grünwald Declaration of 1982 which recognised the need for political and educational systems to promote citizens’ critical understanding of “the phenomena of communication”. Today, UNESCO continues to be a leader in the development of national media literacy policies, media literacy teaching resources and curriculum.
The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) is working to support and develop UNESCO’s and the UK’s vision of a media literate world, focusing on two priorities:
- strengthening the internationalist dimension of media literacy in the UK
- raising awareness and understanding among UK Government of the importance of media literacy for democracies