Media and Information Literacy
This domain concerns one’s own abilities of interpreting, critically understanding and expressing one’s own creativity through digital media.
Being media and information liberated is something that needs to be developed through education and through a constant exchange with the reality around us: it is essential to go beyond being simply able to use, for example, one or another media or “being informed” about something. A digital citizen has to keep a constant critical approach that leads to a meaningful participation in his/her community.
Media and Information Literacy (MIL) brings together the three distinct dimensions of Information Literacy, Media Literacy, and ICT or Digital Literacy. Acting as an umbrella concept, it is “a new literacy construct that helps empower people, communities and nations to participate in and contribute to global knowledge societies” (UNESCO, 2013).
Even though different terminologies are used in MIL, such as digital media literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, Internet literacy or news literacy, in general, the definitions refer to “competencies that emphasize the development of enquiry-based skills and the ability to engage meaningfully with media and information channels in whatever form and technologies they are using” (UNESCO, 2011).
MIL encompasses “the full range of cognitive, emotional, and social competencies that include the use of text, tools and technologies; the skills of critical thinking and analysis; the practice of messaging composition and creativity; the ability to engage in reflection and ethical thinking; as well as active participation through teamwork and collaboration” (Hobbs, 2010). It “relates to the ability to access the media, to understand and critically evaluate different aspects of the media and media content and to create communications in a variety of contexts” (Commission of the European Communities, 2009).
MIL and Internet governance are "the new basics" of education 3.0, which "can provide children with competencies for cooperation, creativity and social innovation (...) nurture their human rights and understanding of shared values, which, in turn, will help to build more inclusive societies" (Frau-Meigs & Hibbard, 2016). Accordingly, recent research results posit media literacy as "an important resource to fulfil the promise of digital citizenship" (Martens & Hobbs, 2015).
It is essentially “a matter of education, of citizenship education, of the necessary ‘literacy’ that allows individuals to truly participate in society. We need strong education policies that include at its core MIL education” (Torrent, 2014), since all citizens, with no exception, “should have access to multi-literacy skills education – including media and information literacy – which is effective, up-to-date and free of charge or affordable for the most financially disadvantaged members of society” (Council of Europe, 2016).