Digital Media Literacy: EU

Part
01
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Part
01

Misinformation / DML Prevalence: EU

While the EU appears to be taking measures to prevent misinformation and fake news, there are also plenty of high profile events and criticism against the EU that suggest that this practice is widespread in the region. Seven articles focused on the prevalence of misinformation and digital media literacy in the EU have been presented in this spreadsheet. A summary of these findings are as follows.

PREVELANCE/AWARENESS OF MISINFORMATION

  • Brussels Times has reported that previous attempts against disinformation had been hampered by the EU's commitment towards safeguarding the freedom of speech. While it has made several attempts to tackle this issue through education as well as coercion, the article states that there was still a major concern on the potential damage that the free flow of information could have on the European Parliament elections in May and had called for more decisive action from the EU.
  • According to a survey conducted on behalf of the European Commission on fake news and disinformation online, more than eight in ten respondents (85%) think that the existence of fake news is a problem in their country. In each country, at least half of the respondents have stated that they encounter fake news at least once a week.
  • A news article from Politico emphasizes on Europe's failure against fake news, stating that sophisticated disinformation campaigns aimed at voters heading for polls had gained strength despite EU efforts. The article further notes that the multiplication of actors has made it nearly impossible to pinpoint who is actually behind the false or manipulative messages online.

OCCURENCES OF MISINFORMATION

  • Another article from Politico states that there had been a widespread Russian disinformation campaign targeted to influence the European Parliament election. This group had used digital tactics to undermine the democratic legitimacy of the EU and create anger in the public through hot-button topics.
  • BBC had reported on an incident where pro-Indian fake websites and think-tanks had attempted to influence decision-making in Europe. It further states that researchers have traced back the websites to an Indian company called Srivastava Group and that the networks' purpose was to disseminate propaganda against India's neighbor and rival Pakistan.

DEMAND FOR DIGITAL MEDIA LITERACY

  • According to a study conducted by the Reuters Institute, only 28% of people in the sample of 21 EU countries know that algorithms select most of what they see on the Facebook news feed. The authors have emphasized on the low awareness of the algorithms and suggests that there should be a higher focus on social media to improve digital media literacy.

WHO NEEDS DIGITAL MEDIA LITERACY

  • Study findings by the European Parliamentary Research Service notes that the older generation (aged above 50) has lower than average ability to recognize factual information and remember already debunked false claims. This suggests that people of this age are likely more susceptible to believing fake news.



Part
02
of eight
Part
02

DML Government Actions: EU

The European commission has made notable efforts in the past five years to respond to mis/disinformation and to promote digital media literacy. The government has published reports, collaborated with tech players, and encouraged various players to contribute to the efforts towards widespread digital media literacy in Europe. Below is an overview of the findings. Additional information has been provided in the attached spreadsheet.
  • In 2019, the EU published a call for tenders to create the "European Digital Media Observatory which will serve as a hub for fact-checkers, academics and researchers to collaborate with each other and actively link with media organizations and media literacy experts, and provide support to policymakers." The EU financed the project with about €500,000.
  • In 2018, the EU introduced "new legal obligations for European Member States" to ensure that they "promote and take measures for the development of media literacy skills.
  • In 2018, the EU partnered with ALL DIGITAL, a Europe-based tech/digital company to discuss the lack of necessary digital media skills in member states.
  • The EU's position is that the responsibilities for media literacy should be a multi-stakeholder effort.
  • In 2018, the EU also proposed an EU-wide "Code of Practice" to tackle disinformation in Europe.
  • Additionally, the EU uses its Digital Agenda Scoreboard to assess media literacy levels and has commissioned and released several reports on digital media literacy.
Part
03
of eight
Part
03

DML Players, Part 1: EU

CMPF, SID, GEN, Cartooning For Peace, and DIMELI4AC are five key players in the digital media literacy space in the EU. The modus operandi of all five organizations circle on education and training, digital innovation, and the media. They are also active in the space by organizing yearly programs or initiatives, and more details are contained in the attached spreadsheet.

The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF)

  • CMPF is an NGO, and its goal is to "develop innovative and relevant lines of research on media freedom and pluralism in Europe and beyond, and to provide knowledge support to the international, European and national policy and rule-making processes." It operates in the digital media literary space.
  • The main activity of the organization is "to enhance the awareness of the importance of freedom and pluralism of the media, to contribute to its protection and promotion and to develop new ideas among academics, policymakers, regulators, market stakeholders, journalists, and all others directly involved professionals who take part in the public debate."
  • Also, the activity of the center involves "developing and implementing the EU-funded project Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM), assessing the risks for media pluralism in EU member states and candidate countries."
  • CMPF was established in 2011, with operations across the EU and beyond.
  • On an event held in Brussels in December 2019, Elda B. presented the paper, "Media Pluralism Monitor — the next generation and meeting the challenges of an online world in a session titled 'External Media Plurality'."

Safer Internet Day (SID)

  • Safer Internet Day is a cross-sector collaboration, and its goal is "to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns." These topics cut across media literacy, cyberbullying, social networking, and many more.
  • The main activity of the organization is "to implement awareness and educational campaigns, run a helpline, and work closely with youth to ensure an evidence-based, multi-stakeholder approach to creating a better internet."
  • SID was birthed in 2004 as "an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project, but has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in approximately 150 countries worldwide."
  • One of the insights of the 16th annual edition of Safer Internet Day (SID), which was held in February 2019, was "a heightened focus on online safety, media literacy, and cyber hygiene across the EU."

Global Editors Network (GEN)

  • GEN operates as media regulatory authority with the goal of "fostering digital innovation and new storytelling methods within newsrooms and beyond, to all content providers."
  • The main activity of the organization is "to empower news executives through its dedicated programs: The Editors Lab, the Data Journalism Awards and the Media Literacy Toolkit project."
  • GEN was founded in 2011, and its community includes "over 15,000 editors, journalists, and media innovators from around the world." Its last Summit was attended by the industry's prominent figures and participants from over 55 countries.
  • One of the insights of the last GEN Summit held in June 2019 in Athens, Greece, was its focus on the title: "The VVV Challenge: Voice, Visual Journalism, and Verification."

Cartooning For Peace

  • Cartooning For Peace is an NGO, and the goal is to "sensitize young audiences to major societal problems with humor and through the strong educational value of press cartoons." It operates in the digital media literary space.
  • The main activity of the organization is "the production of educational material (educational exhibitions with specific booklets for teachers and pupils) and meetings with cartoonists and the young public (school pupils and students) in classroom workshops or large conferences."
  • It also makes use of "cartoons’ educational value to denounce all forms of intolerance and to raise young and vulnerable people’s awareness about major social issues through humor."
  • Cartooning For Peace was founded on October 16, 2006, and dominantly operates in France and Switzerland. Its network, however, has cartoonists from over 50 different countries.
  • An upcoming event that the organization is involved in is the exhibition on climate change at "the Musée MW de l’électricité de FEDA in Andorra la Vella." Cartooning For Peace is committed to being an advocate for the environment and plans to use cartoons in the form of digital media literacy to educate people on the subject matter.

DIMELI4AC

  • The DIMELI4AC project is a cross-sector collaboration, and its goal is "to empower young students to become responsible, critical, global citizens for the digitalized and connected world we live in, while creating blended learning opportunities to acquire digital and media literacy skills to safeguard democracy and common values."
  • Other goals are "to strengthen the profiles of teachers and in doing so to upgrade the quality of teaching or earning services provided in formal schooling, and to promote whole-school approaches towards dealing with cross-sectoral issues." Some other goals include its commitment "to utilize the non-working time of schools in order to set up on-line and in-house digital media literacy labs and observatories based on synergies to be created among teachers, parents, schools, organizations, stakeholders which will endorse the campaign and sign the memorandum of DIMELI4DC commitment."
  • Another of its goal is "to introduce the idea of an interactive assessment tool in the form of a game based on an AVATAR (DC-MELI) where students follow various challenges in order to be awarded the badge showing a respectful, responsible and safe use of the technology based on the digital citizenship and democratic values and critical thinking."
  • The main activity of DIMELI4AC is "to develop resources for students, parents, and teachers."
  • Based on its submission number (2018-1-DE03-KA201-047411) to the EU, and its historical background, it is assumed that the DIMELI4AC project started in December 2018. The DIMELI4AC project operates in EU member countries.
  • At its second transnational meeting, which was titled “DIMELI4AC — Digital and Media Literacy for Active Citizenship,” the target was school students aged between 10-15 years.

Summary

Five key players in the digital media literacy space in the EU were looked at from the perspectives of educational, digital, and media operations. All five organizations mentioned in the above findings operate under these criteria and are active in the space by organizing yearly programs or initiatives. For instance, the educational materials of Cartooning For Peace are captured in digital forms on its website and Facebook page. While a few of these organizations operate within the EU alone, others operate in the EU and beyond.
Part
04
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Part
04

DML Players, Part 2: EU

Five additional key players in the digital media literacy space in the EU include Europa, NESET, European Audiovisual Observatory, EAVI, and All Digital. The requested information for each of them is available in the attached spreadsheet on the "3 - DML Players" tab.

Europa

  • Its goals includes supervising the administering of the EU's brand-new policies, which it also proposes, and helps to advance international development and provide assistance.
  • The organization's primary role is the management of the Creative Europe initiative, which focuses mostly on the audiovisual space and assists with the distribution of films throughout Europe. Additionally, Creative Europe helps to promote various film festivals.
  • The organization was established in the year 1945.

NESET

  • NESET's goals include serving as a knowledge broker that connects the academic world to EU policy coordination and offer feedback.
  • Its activities include working on the social elements of training and education.
  • The organization was established in 2015.

European Audiovisual Observatory

  • The European Audiovisual Observatory's goal is to present a comparable European synopsis of the audiovisual sector in 41 nations and offer a comprehensive overview of both national and regional industries.
  • Its primary activities involve developing an economic and statistical overview of particular trends surrounding the internet, television, and cinema spaces in Europe (Department of Market Information) and evaluating certain legal concerns impacting the audiovisual segment (Department for Legal Information).
  • The organization has been active since 1992.

EAVI

  • It has been active since 2005.

All Digital

  • It has been active since 2010.


Research Strategy:

Our research began by analyzing trusted sites such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and Media & Information Literacy to find a list of key players in the digital media literacy space in EU. We also listed some players provided by the EVAI, which offered more associated organizations that are the key players in EU.

Afterward, we studied each organization individually using their official websites to provide the requested data. We also used social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Part
05
of eight
Part
05

DML Initiatives, Part 1: EU

Media In Action, NOST and NESET are among the organizations engaged in digital media literacy programs in the European Union and their activities traverse several EU states. An overview of these organizations' can be found in the attached spreadsheet.

Media In Action (MIA)

  • MIA is a team of experts from across Europe who have a joint mission to impact media literacy in the EU and the team is made up of educationists, news persons, research experts and academicians.
  • The primary goal of the initiative is to enhance the capacity of educators to use media for storytelling and the secondary initiative is to create media analysis awareness among citizens.
  • MIA says, ''We want educators to be able to work with their school and community groups to use multi media such as blogs, videos, podcasts and social media to tell their own stories.'' They also say, 'MIA will provide training and support materials and workshops aimed at increasing the critical thinking towards the media among citizens.''
  • The MIA initiative was launched in January 2018.
  • A report appearing in Ange's Scribbles shows that the team has already established a website, their abstract for the NAMLE conference in Lisbon was accepted and they are already building a network.
  • The unique aspects about MIA is that they have an open provision on their website for anyone interested in digital media literacy to join their network to learn with the experts and they have the combination of one-on-one & online engagement with their target.
  • Their 2017 report indicates that they planned to work with 70 educators across Europe and this number looks small compared to the size of the EU block.
  • MIA's ultimate aim is to provide a media-in-action hub, an online course on media literacy, samples of training materials and present several case studies of their success.
  • MIA education initiative is very detailed and although it may not reach so many people, those who will be trained will be experts in media literacy.
  • Additional source can be found here.

NOST

  • NOST is an NGO whose initiative is to improve the quality of journalism in Europe initiative and their primary target are journalists in Europe.
  • They engage the target through conferences and online and their goals are to improve the professionalism among European journalist (Primary goal) and promote the welfare of foreign reporters (Secondary goal)
  • NOST says, 'We connect Europe. As a transnational network existing during times of increasing polarization, and as media outlets slowly drift apart from one another, we forge new paths in foreign reporting.'' The year when it began media literacy campaigns outside German is not indicated
  • They do a daily summary of news commentaries from across Europe, they support journalists to further their media skills and arbitrate on risks associated with reporting.
  • Their uniqueness is that they are targeting journalists who are at the fore in releasing digital media content to the masses and this will help enhance responsible media use. They also provide career development support for their target.
  • NOST's key pitfall is that it does not target other publics who also need digital media literacy but they have the advantage that they have a wide coverage across Europe and their approach seems to be without bias.
  • Additional sources on NOST can be found here.

NESET

  • NESET is an international team of professionals working to improve the sociology of knowledge delivery among its EU member states.
  • Its primary audience is the European Commission and the NESET website is its primary means of reaching out to its audience but they do host conferences as well.
  • NESET's primary goal is to offer professional advice to the member states on best social dimensions in knowledge delivery and their secondary goal is to make member states aware of the renowned experts in various fields of education.
  • NESET says, ''The main tasks of the network are to offer quality advice to the European Commission (advisory function, to do research reviews for policy-makers (knowledge brokerage) and to map of experts working on the social aspects of education and training.''
  • NESET was launched in January 2015 and one of their major achievements was that in November 2017, Harvard University recognized their contribution in the sociology of knowledge delivery.
  • The organization's uniqueness is that it has capacity to influence key policy-makers in the EU but their pitfall is that they concentrate largely on research and do not have outreach programs for the other media literacy targets
  • NESET information is reliable as most of it is based on expert research and an additional source for NESET can be found here.
Part
06
of eight
Part
06

DML Initiatives, Part 2: EU

The major initiatives in the EU around digital media literacy are the European MediaCoach Initiative (EMCI) to improve media literacy levels and the Safer Internet programs to promote safer and better use of the internet among children and young people. An overview of these initiatives can be found in the attached spreadsheet.

The European MediaCoach Initiative (EMCI)

  • "The main focus of the European Media Coach project is the improvement of media literacy levels among young people through the development of a large pool of media literate professionals working with young people in schools, youth centers and in non-formal contexts like libraries and museums."
  • This project aims to replicate the practice of media literacy that has demonstrable results with qualitative and quantitative evidence of impact.
  • The European MediaCoach Initiative launched in 2017. The project duration is 36 months.
  • The media coach program worked well in the Netherlands. The Dutch media coach training initiative has successfully achieved the goal of improving media literacy among children, young people and parents by training youth professionals, notably, teachers, librarians, youth workers, government officials, and other societal professionals by allowing them to study the possibilities and challenges of these new media and new literacies.
  • EMCI uses the scaling up of a recognized and proven innovation in the field of media literacy and works together with key stakeholders in the area of media literacy across Europe.
  • The European MediaCoach initiative does not have any pitfalls. This project has successfully achieved the goal of improving media literacy among young people.

Safer Internet Programs

  • Safer Internet Programs consist of Safer Internet Centres in the European Member States, with the Better Internet for Kids portal for resources and sharing best practices across Europe, and an annual event named Safer Internet Day. Their main task is to raise awareness and foster digital literacy among minors, parents, and teachers.
  • Safer Internet Centres provides an awareness center for informing about better and safer use of the internet, helpline services providing information, advice, and assistance, and a hotline for receiving and managing reports and data on online illegal child sexual abuse.
  • The Safer Internet Programs was launched in 2009.
  • On the Safer Internet Day 2018, the commission launched the #SaferInternet4EU campaign to promote online safety, media literacy and cyber-hygiene to make children, parents, and teachers more aware of digital opportunities and challenges as a part of the recently adopted Digital Education Action Plan.
  • According to the 2018 Better Internet for Kids and #SaferInternet4EU report, the Safer Internet Day 2018 reached over 15,500 schools and involved nearly 10,000 other organizations across Europe. More than 140 countries globally have participated in SID. Safer Internet Program's resources have reached nearly 30 million EU citizens and have provided more than 1,800 new resources.
  • Safer Internet programs focused on young people that need a safe and stimulating environment while engaging with new technologies and spending time online.
  • Safe Internet Programs do not have any pitfalls. These programs have been working well. The resources and campaigns are useful and beneficial for young people to raise awareness and foster digital literacy across the EU.
Part
07
of eight
Part
07

The Future of DML, Part 1: EU

Five opinion pieces / online commentary around the future of digital media literacy in the EU compiled in the attached spreadsheet include a report by Nieman Journalism Lab, an independent journalistic body in the EU, an opinion piece by a professor at the London School of Economics, an opinion piece published by Forbes, an article published by Brussels Talking Lecture Series based on scientific research, and an opinion piece by Dr. Richard Fletcher from the Reuters Institute.

Opinion pieces and online commentary around the future of digital media literacy in the EU

  • "The EU doesn’t have a sense of its disinformation problem — this report suggests the policy changes it can make" is a report by Nieman Lab summarizing three things that European media needs to accomplish in order to thrive in a highly confusing environment: freedom, funding, and help to find a future.
  • "The European Media Literacy Week & What The EU Is Doing To Secure Fair Democratic Processes" by Forbes was published in March 2019.
  • "Media Literacy For The Future: The Real Solution For The Challenges Of The Digital Era" talks about a cross-collaboration between different branches and stakeholders is the key to raising the level of digital media literacy.
  • "Media literacy: what are the challenges and how can we move towards a solution?" was published by Sonia Livingstone OBE, Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics.
  • "EU media literacy drive should address poor algorithm awareness" was published by Dr. Richard Fletcher at the Reuters Institute.


Part
08
of eight
Part
08

The Future of DML, Part 2: EU

Based on the findings, the view of most experts relating to digital media literacy in the EU was that, while the European Commission is taking action against disinformation, this is not sufficient for creating a meaningful impact in the future. Some of the key concerns highlighted include budget allocation issues, lack of foresight and long-term thinking, poor use of technology, and lack of shared vision. The opinions of five experts on this topic have been presented in this spreadsheet. A summary of the articles is as follows.
  • Dr Rasmus Kleis Nielsen from Reuters Institute states that the EU digital media policy has not been in pace with digital media reality. Their incrementalist, piecemeal approach to policy-making in an environment of revolutionary change has resulted in reality outpacing policy. He stresses that yesterday's broadcast and print media policies are not suitable for the current media environment and calls for a more holistic approach.
  • According to research conducted by College Of Europe, most of the current and upcoming projects for disinformation implemented by the EU rely on fact-checking and do not make sufficient use of new technology such as AI. In addition, it states that not all EU member countries equally view disinformation as a menace.
  • Anni Hellman, from the European Commission states that while interest towards media literacy has significantly increased, the policy should do more. She also emphasized that there is a major cultural challenge in teaching children not to believe everything they read, as opposed to what they were taught in previous generations.
  • Ravi Vatrapu, a spokesperson for the Sounding Board on Disinformation states that the Rapid Alert System, which was among the EU's action plans against disinformation during the time of elections, was set up with arbitrary timescales and budget allocations. He makes the following statement relating to the actions of the EU on this issue: “and will Fake News cease to exist after that time has passed and budget had been spent?”
  • According to David Buckingham (Loughborough University), there is a lack of long-thinking by the European Commission in implementing new measures to achieve sustainable results. He states that the focus is more on functional and instrumental skills, rather than on a comprehensive and critical view of media literacy.


Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "cartoons’ educational value to denounce all forms of intolerance and to raise young and vulnerable people’s awareness about major social issues through humour."
Quotes
  • "develop innovative and relevant lines of research on media freedom and pluralism in Europe and beyond, and to provide knowledge support to the international, European and national policy and rulemaking processes. "
  • "to enhance the awareness of the importance of freedom and pluralism of the media, to contribute to its protection and promotion and to develop new ideas among academics, policymakers, regulators, market stakeholders, journalists, and all others directly involved professionals who take part in the public debate."
  • "developing and implementing the EU-funded project Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM), to assess the risks for media pluralism in EU member states and candidate countries."
Quotes
  • "Media Pluralism Monitor – the next generation and meeting the challenges of an online world in a session titled, External Media Plurality."
Quotes
  • "to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns."
  • "to implement awareness and educational campaigns, run a helpline, and work closely with youth to ensure an evidence-based, multi-stakeholder approach to creating a better internet."
  • "an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project, but has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in approximately 150 countries worldwide."
Quotes
  • "a heightened focus on online safety, media literacy, and cyber hygiene across the EU."
Quotes
  • "fostering digital innovation and new storytelling methods within newsrooms and beyond, to all content providers."
  • "GEN sought to empower news executives through its dedicated programmes: The Editors Lab, the Data Journalism Awards, and the Media Literacy Toolkit project."
  • "over 15,000 editors, journalists, and media innovators from around the world."
  • "The VVV Challenge: Voice, Visual Journalism, and Verification."
Quotes
  • "to develop a digital single market to generate smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth in Europe."
  • "to develop and carry out the Commission's policies on digital economy and society, research and innovation, business and industry, and culture and media."
  • "developing policies on foreign affairs and security policy public health, economy, finance, and the euro, and education and training."
Quotes
  • "different categories focusing on innovative media literacy projects, most educative media literacy project, and the media literacy project with the greatest European potential."
Quotes
  • "sensitize young audiences to major societal problems with humour and through the strong educational value of press cartoons."
  • "the production of educational material (educational exhibitions with specific booklets for teachers and pupils) and meetings with cartoonists and the young public (school pupils and students) in classroom workshops or large conferences."
Quotes
  • "the Musée MW de l’électricité de FEDA in Andorra la Vella."
Quotes
  • "To empower young students to become responsible, critical, global citizens for the digitalised and connected world we live in, while creating blended learning opportunities to acquire digital and media literacy skills to safeguard democracy and common values."
  • "To strengthen the profiles of teachers and in doing so to upgrade the quality of teaching or earning services provided in formal schooling, and to promote whole-school approaches towards dealing with cross-sectoral issues"
  • "To utilise the non-working time of schools in order to set up on-line and in-house digital media literacy labs and observatories based on synergies to be created among teachers, parents, schools, organisations, stakeholders which will endorse the campaign and sign the memorandum of DIMELI4DC commitment."
  • "To introduce the idea of an interactive assessment tool in the form of a game based on an AVATAR (DC-MELI) where students follow various challenges in order to be awarded the badge showing a respectful, responsible and safe use of the technology based on the digital citizenship and democratic values and critical thinking."
Quotes
  • "to develop resources for students, parents, and teachers."