Within UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week, which is being celebrated from October 25 to November 1, Media and Reform Center Niš, with partners from the local community, organized Media and Information Literacy Week in Niš – a series of events with a goal of actualizing media and information education and strengthening civil society.
Day 1 – October 25, 2017 – A photo exhibition “Context”
The first event was a photo exhibition “Context”, held on October 25 in Deli Prostor. It was authentic because there were two copies of every photo, but with completely different titles. The goal was to show how only one headline can completely change the perception of a particular photo, and point out that it is important to think about and to know the context of media content.
Visitors said that it was hard to guess which title was true and which was false, especially for photos from events that they were not familiar with. “It’s incredible that the power of manipulation can be so great! I was convinced that some false titles were actually true”, said one of the visitors.
Dimitrije Nikolić, Vanja Keser, Saša Đorđević and Ivan Dinić are the photographers whose photos were exhibited. This exhibition will become a permanent setting in Media and Reform Center Niš.
About 40 people visited the opening of the exhibition, and more than 100 in the following days. Expect seeing the photos, visitors were also informed about media and information literacy by promo materials that Media and Reform Center Niš created, and by the speech of Zoran Aracki, a longtime journalist, editor, and professor of Media Literacy. As this was the first event of the Media and Information Literacy Week in Niš, many media were present, and the most important for the promotion of this subject was an article of the news agency Beta.
Day 2 – October 26, 2017 – Perspectives of media literacy
In order to encourage students to think about the importance of the media in modern society, at the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš on October 26, a discussion Perspectives of Media Literacy was held. Students of the Faculty of Law and the ones from the Faculty of Philosophy had three-minute speeches in front more than 50 students, on the following topics – The Importance of Media Freedom, Censoring the Internet, The Right to Privacy and Implementation of the Media Literacy in the Education System.
Head of Department for Communication and Journalism of the Faculty of Philosophy professor Zoran Jovanović, professor of Media Law Jelena Vučković, as well as Andrej Blagojević, teaching assistant, took part in the event, by moderating the discussion and sharing their expert opinions, and professor Dejan Vučetić from the Faculty of Law by preparing the students. Students who participated in the event are Đurđa Milanović, Dana Mitrovska, Stefan Veličković and Jovana Jovanović from the Faculty of Philosophy, and Lazar Petrović, Milan Milutinović, Aleksandar Todorović and Dimitrije Andrejević from the Faculty of Law. Their speeches are also published on the portal mediareform.rs in order to the wider audience reading them.
Participants of the panel agreed that:
The audience needs to be educated in order to distinguish important from irrelevant media content, but also to understand the social role of the media.
- Media education must be one of the compulsory subjects in elementary and secondary schools, as well as at faculties because the literacy of media consumers and media content creators is extremely important for the development of the society.
Expect hearing students opinions on the topics mentioned above, and getting important inputs on media literacy from young people, this event was significant because of fostering cooperation within civil sector and academia. A local television Niška televizija reported on the event.
Day 3 – October 27, 2017 – The Importance of Media Freedom
High school students also had the opportunity to discuss media literacy at the Svetozar Markovic high school, when the fourth episode of the documentary series The Importance of Media Freedom – Law in the Service of the Media, Media in the Service of Citizens was shown. After the documentary, the discussion was held and high school students were eager to talk about media. There were more than 100 students and teachers present.
Conclusions that were made at this event are:
- High school students are more informed about the ways they can use media and create content than older citizens, they are aware of the power that media has, but they do not fully understand the importance of the safety on the Internet.
- High school students show readiness for learning about media literacy and understand why that is very important.
- High school students stated that they have the difficulty choosing which media to follow and trust, and they state that their major source of information are social networks and Internet portals, which corresponds with the findings of a research on media literacy conducted by Media and Reform Center Niš and professor Zoran Aracki from the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš in 2016.
- The teachers stated that they do talk about media and information literacy, but that they are limited by the existing teaching program.
- Both students and teachers agree that there is definitely a need for an implementation of a separate subject on media and information literacy, even in elementary schools, which also corresponds with the research mentioned above.
Days 4 and 5 – October 28 and 29, 2017 – Street Activities
During the weekend citizens were able to get information on media and information literacy in Obrenovićeva street, where volunteers of civil society organization Shtek House presented them the importance of critical thinking when consuming media content.
500 fliers were spread, and main conclusions are:
- Most of the people had no idea what being media literate means. There even were comments as “why don’t you promote Cyrillic”.
- Younger people had a very positive attitude towards popularization of media and information literacy.
- People older than 50 generally had a negative attitude when approached to talk about critical thinking and media and information literacy, even stating “If I am illiterate I want to stay illiterate”. This illustrates the difficulty of older people to deal with the fact that they do not know enough about media and how it influences their decision-making process
- Most of the people have little trust in media. They state that if media were promoting media and information literacy more often they would seem more trustworthy.
Day 6 – October 30, 2017 – Understanding the media
What is media manipulation, how to deal with false news, how to understand the media, and why some news is being delivered at the certain moment are just some of the topics discussed during the event Understanding the Media. The teaching assistant from the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš Neven Obradović and Marija Marinković from the EU info point moderated the discussion, and mainly students of journalism and communications participated. A part of the event was joint reading and analysis of media content. Main conclusions are:
- Absenteeism of journalists and media workers at the discussion concerning the state of the media in Serbia show indifference.
- Only a low percentage of students of journalism is actually aware of the power of the media and of the responsibilities they will have as media workers.
- A wider consensus is required between media associations, citizens, and the civil sector in order to improve the state of the media in Serbia.
Day 7 – October 31, 2017 – Joint activity of the local media on media and information literacy
The media, journalists, and media workers were invited to share media content on the importance of media and information literacy with hashtags #GlobalMILWeek and #MILCLICKS. The most responsive were journalists, from their private social media profiles and media led by students.
Day 8 – November 1, 2017 – City Forum – Media Literacy: Creating Critical Thinkers
Interlocutors at the City Forum were: Milos Janković, Assistant Minister for Information and Media, MP Predrag Jelenković, professors Jelena Vučković (Media Law) and Zoran Aracki (Media Literacy; Ethics and Deontology of the Media), and Marija Vucic, journalist of the Cenzolovka portal.
The event started by speeches od professor Nebojsa Randjelović, Assistant Mayor in charge of higher education and relations with the academic community, and professor Zoran Jovanović, Head of Department of Communication and Journalism, Faculty of Philosophy, Niš.
Tatjana Djukić from Media and Reform Center Niš, who was the coordinator of the Media and Information Literacy Week in Niš, was moderating the discussion. The audience was very active. There were more than 50 people in the audience and a wide news coverage.
Main conclusions of the event were:
- As a socially important topic, media and information literacy requires a lot of engagement of all members of society, not just media workers.
- Media literacy is a prerequisite for being an active citizen.
- The role of journalists and media workers in media education is enormous, but media literacy of Serbian media is on a very low level.
One of the participants in the City Forum MP Predrag Jelenković, who presented the proposal for the introduction of media education in schools in the Serbian Parliament stated that he got a response from the Institute for the Improvement of Education that the introduction of media literacy in schools is currently not in plan, but that the idea is good.
- Assistant Minister for Information and Media, Miloš Janković, stressed on this occasion that media literacy is an important part of the new Media Strategy, and that contacts with the Ministry of Education have been made and that the decision should be made whether media and information literacy will be within an existing subject or a separate one.
- Professors Jelena Vučković and Zoran Aracki agreed that media literacy must be a separate subject at all levels of education, but also that it is necessary to think carefully about who will lecture.
- „I am not sure how much the media is aware of their role in the literacy of the people. Not even the journalists themselves are media literate. There is a need for greater accountability of journalists and fair policy of the state when it comes to the media,“ concluded Cenzolovka journalist Marija Vučić.
Media coverage on The Media and Information Literacy Week
|1||24.10.2017||Media&Reform||Sutra počinje Nedelja medijske i informacione pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Tatjana Đukić||link|
|2||24.10.2017||Kapital magazin||Nedelja medijske i informacione pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Urednik||link|
|3||25.10.2017||Narodne novine||Niz događaja i diskusija o razumevanju medija||Medijska pismenost||NN||Str. 9|
|4||25.10.2017||Ananas magazin||Obeležavanje Nedelje medijske i informacione pismenosti u Nišu||Medijska pismenost||Ana Stanojević||link|
|5||25.10.2017||GP 018||Nedelja medijske i informacione pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Urednik||link|
|6||25.10.2017||Južne vesti||U Nišu počinje nedelja medijske pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||J.A.||link|
|7||25.10.2017||Belle Amie||Tatjana Đukić i prof. dr Zoran Jovanović sa Filozofskog fakulteta||Medijska pismenost||Popodne||12:51|
|8||25.10.2017||Beta||U Nišu počela nedelja medijske pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Beta||link|
|9||25.10.2017||Niške vesti||Nedelja medijske i informacione pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Aleksandar Đokić||link|
|10||26.10.2017||NTV||Jelena Vučković i Tatjana Đukić||Medijska pismenost||Niško jutro||16:43|
|11||26.10.2017||Niške novine||Obeležava se nedelja medijske i informacione pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Urednik||link|
|12||26.10.2017||JUGpress||U Nišu počela nedelja medijske pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Urednik||link|
|13||26.10.2017||NTV||Medijska i informaciona pismenost||Medijska pismenost||Telepres||3:49|
|14||27.10.2017||ZONA plus||Jelena Vučković i Tatjana Đukić||Medijska pismenost||Iz jutra u dan||22:55|
|15||27.10.2017||KCN::1||Jelena Vučković i Tatjana Đukić||Medijska pismenost||Srbija online||11:16|
|16||28.10.2017||ZONA plus portal||Medijska pismenost – kako „čitate“ medije?||Medijska pismenost||Jovana Đorđević||link|
|17||28.10.2017||ZONA plus||Medijska pismenost – kako “čitate” medije?||Medijska pismenost||Dnevnik||2:12|
|18||29.10.2017||iSerbia||Niš: Počela nedelja medijske i informacione pismenosti – iSerbia||Medijska pismenost||Marija Milanović||link|
|19||29.10.2017||Media&Reform||“Medijska pismenost – preduslov medijskog razvedravanja”||Medijska pismenost||Marta Savić||link|
|20||30.10.2017||EU info centar||„Čitanje“ medija u EU info kutku u Nišu||Medijska pismenost||Marta Savić||link|
|21||31.10.2017||Media&Reform||„Nedelja medijske pismenosti“ u Gimnaziji Svetozar Marković||Medijska pismenost||Nemanja Stevanović||link|
|22||31.10.2017||Media&Reform||“Medijska pismenost – auto gol za vlast”||Medijska pismenost||Marta Savić||link|
|23||31.10.2017||Media&Reform||Gradski forum – „Medijska pismenost: Stvaranje kritičkog mišljenja“||Medijska pismenost||Admin||link|
|24||31.10.2017||Južne vesti||Medijski stručnjaci, profesori i pomoćnik ministra na Forumu o medijima u Nišu||Medijska pismenost||J.V.||link|
|25||01.11.2017||RTS||Završena nedelja medijske pismenosti||Medijska pismenost||Ovo je Srbija||0:21|
|26||02.11.2017||Media&Reform||„Pravo na privatnost danas je privilegija“||Medijska pismenost||Aleksandar Todorović||link|
|27||03.11.2017||Media&Reform||Medijska pismenost važan deo nove Medijske strategije||Medijska pismenost||Marta Savić||link|
|28||03.11.2017||Južne vesti||Narodni poslanik iz Niša predložio da medijska pismenost postane obavezan predmet u školama||Medijska pismenost||J.A.||link|
|29||06.11.2017||Media&Reform||Cenzurisanje interneta – za i protiv||Medijska pismenost||Milan Milutinović||link|
The Media and Information Literacy Week Media and Reform Center Niš marked with the help of the City of Niš, the Youth Office of the City of Niš, the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš, the Law Faculty in Niš, High school “Svetozar Markovic”, the EU Info Point Niš, the Deli Prostor and CSO Shtek House.
This week’s events are just a part of the activities that Media and Reform Center Niš does with a goal of implementation of media literacy in the education system. One of these activities is also the Multimedia School of Journalism, where young journalists learn about the media and get the first practical experience. Also, it is important to stress the cooperation with the civil society organization from Brussels – EAVI, which advocates the participation of citizens in public life through the media, whose motto is „Investing in media literacy is investing in people.“
Based on all the previous work that Media and Reform Center Niš did regarding media and information literacy, a conclusion can be made that media and information literacy is an imperative nowadays and that all stakeholders must be involved in implementing media education. Having that in mind, a platform for communication on the subject of media literacy seems like a good start for building better and more democratic society. In the future Media and Reform Center Niš plans to continue working on media and information literacy with all its resources and partners.