Since its origin media literacy education has been reflected on roles of media in everyday life especially, but not limited to children and youth. Its approach is simultaneously critical of media messages’ quality and creative when it comes to media production and participation. Media literacy education was underpinned by a strong sense of personal responsibility and citizenship.
Often lacking specific policies or mainstream political support, media education is perceived as a project, but also as a constantly evolving process. Those involved in this process wear two hats, as both activists and professionals. This distinctive characteristic should be seen as an added value, a resource to better navigate the recent developments in our sector. However, to address emerging challenges, media education cannot remain frozen in time. It needs to adapt constantly while staying strong on its basic principles, juggling around past and present, efficiency and creativity.
The time has come for the media education community to go glocal : thinking globally when it comes to international projects, while keeping our deep local roots. Our community is culturally enriched by the diversity of participants and of their fields of expertise. That’s why inputs from other contexts will be particularly useful and effective.
With the digital developments of the 21st century, media have become a linchpin for knowledge, and for economical, political and social interactions. As a result, media literacy is now a key competence that needs to be developed. Media educators should co-construct new working models and strategies, with increased interactions and dialogue between global and local levels. To achieve this goal, it is crucial for stakeholders to be connected, and to share questions, good practices and experiences at ground level. Families, schools, communities, media institutions, teachers and many other stakeholders should be part of the debate around the challenges and transformative potential of media education.
As media education expands its audiences and target groups, we are facing newly relevant questions for our societies. It is not by chance that in 2016, “post-truth” was chosen as the Oxford Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’. The Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election have raised these issues in the headlines.
Now more than ever, the value of media literacy is increasingly apparent, and the challenges of media education have become decisive.