Digital Media Literacy: France

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The Future of DML, Part 2: France

France is actively engaging in promoting digital media literacy for both children and adults; however, it is simultaneously developing regulatory policies that some view as restrictive and counter to free speech and open technological integration. Full details regarding the opinions and efforts of researchers, lawmakers, and commentators can be found in the attached spreadsheet.

Digital Media Literacy Insights

  • France regards technology as an opportunity and a risk. Researchers for the University of France identify several potentials that the nation has to excel in integrating familiarity with technology, as well as initiatives it is exploring.
  • France aims to create "Digital France" label, improve the image of digital jobs, create a data security policy, and a privacy policy, researchers outline. Not enacting effective policies will lead to increased risks for the protection of personal data.
  • France leads the way globally in misinformation education. Journalists with the New York Times explore how France is actively engaging its students in learning how to identify misinformation online.
  • Cellphones are now banned in schools. In 2018 France passed a law banning the use of student cell phones in school, a move that journalist Michael Bociurkiw contends will lead to less overall familiarity with safe practices.
  • France passed a law penalizing online hate speech. In 2019 France passed a strict law that penalizes anything regarded as hate speech, using the reasoning that if it would be harmfully inflammatory to say in person, it should be regarded as harmfully inflammatory to say online.




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The Future of DML, Part 1: France

Opinions and online commentary around the future of digital media in France were published by UNESCO, Digital Government Factsheet distributed by the European Commission, the Eurydice Network, French Ministry of Education and Safer Internet Day. Our detailed findings can be found in the attached spreadsheet.

Descriptions

  • UNESCO provided recommendations for future DML initiatives in France.
  • Digital Government Factsheet discussed the profound pedagogical changes in DML in France.
  • Eurydice is part of the European Commission's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA, Education and Youth Policy Analysis). It outlined the five priorities going forward in DML.
  • French Ministry of Education revamped high school graduation requirements to allow students to graduate with a specialty in digital and informatics sciences
  • Safer Internet Day provides information for students, teachers and families and sponsors an annual Safer Internet Day.
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DML Initiatives, Part 2: France

M@gistere

  • In a play on the French word for a Master's degree (magistere) and the @ symbol, M@gistere is a cross-sector collaboration of the Ministry and French educators to provide training for teachers of all levels in DML.
  • The training is free with an approved email address, is available for the teacher to use at their discretion, and has the capability for a specific platform for each school.
  • In the last six months, there were 187,000 visitors to the site, more than 60% who went directly to the site, which means they have used the website before.

Internet Responsable (Responsible Internet)

  • Internet Responsable is a site founded in June 2016 and funded by the federal government that provides online tools and resources for both education and the general public that promotes responsible internet usage.
  • The sole purpose of this site is to explain the data used by the internet, the risk of sharing personal data, and how to protect personal data.
  • From the types of information available on the site, we can infer that the goals are to help people understand the data they are leaving behind when they visit a website, what cookies do, what big data is, and how it is used and information on the GDRP.
  • Website usage grew from 7,799 hits in May 2019 to 37,526 hits in the first 12 days of December.


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DML Initiatives, Part 1: France

Three major initiatives in France that support digital media literacy are CLEMI (the funding and policy organization), EMI (the framework and course work resource site for educators), and Entre Les Lignes (Between the Lines), which is a program taught by members of the press in France to teach critical thinking skills and how to assess the validity of digital media. The findings have been summarized in tab 4 of the attached spreadsheet.

CLEMI (Center for Media and Information Education)

  • The Center for Media and Information Education (CLEMI), a division of the Ministry of National Education and Youth, is in charge of Media and Information Education (MCH) throughout the French education system. It has a long history in the teaching community and has had strong partnerships with the media for more than 30 years.
  • CLEMI manages and distributes the government funds for DML, as well as defining the policy and framework for the program. The program is designed to teach critical thinking and media use to French students.
  • There are over 30,000 instructors that teach the program with 32 regional coordinators. It has 1800 partnerships that support 3,800,000 students in 17,500 schools.

EMI (Media and Information Literacy Program)

  • The EMI site is where the literacy program, developed with, by, and for education professionals is stored. It provides the goals, framework, and resources for the classroom teachers to design their class activities.
  • It lays out the Why, What, and How of the program and describes the integration of the program from nursery school to higher education.
  • Reference first appeared in a law passed in July 2013. The initial framework was released in July 2015, and the program has been in continuous development since then.

Entre Les Linges (Between the Lines)






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DML Players, Part 2: France

Key players in the digital media literacy space in France are the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Liberté, the Center for Media, Technology and Internationalization Studies, the National Cybersecurity Agency, the National Research Agency, and the National Digital Council. There are two public authorities, a cross sector agency, one representative from academia, and media regulatory agency. Information on the goals, activities, target audience, and reach is in the attached spreadsheet.

Digital Media Players — France

  • The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Liberté (CNIL) is a regulatory agency for the media created in 1978 under the Data Protection Act. Its duties include advising and regulating, accompanying compliance, protecting data subjects, rendering orders and issuing sanctions, investigating, and informing citizens on data protection culture.
  • The Center for Media, Technology and Internationalization Studies (CÉMTI)was created in 2001 and currently is focused on communications from images, art and politics, media, and production platforms.
  • The National Cybersecurity Agency of France was created in 2009. Its role is to promote French technologies, systems and knowledge, and also plays a role in building digital trust.
  • Founded in 2005, the National Research Agency promotes French-based research. The Agency was a lead partner in the Translit project designed to examine the specific problems that occur at the intersection of media literacy, information literacy, and computer literacy.
  • Created in 2011, the National Digital Council studies the digital transition of society. Its work includes illegal content, work employment, and the digital world, digital inclusion, and monitoring.

Research Strategy

To source five additional key players in the digital media space in France the research team consulted the Media Players Mapping document provided by the client. A list of the key players in media literacy for France was provided from page 509 to 516 of the document. The list provided details on the activities within the media literacy and digital media literacy space. A review of its content for organizations with an active role in digital media literacy provided the five organizations identified in the brief.
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DML Players, Part 1: France

Five of the Key players in the digital media space in France are the Department of Education, CLEMI Center for Media and Information Education, EMI (Media and Information Literacy Program), Entre Les Linges (Between the Lines) and PédaGoJeux. Full information is available here.

Descriptions

  • Department of Education is in the Ministry of National Education and Youth.
  • CLEMI is the agency created by the Department of Education to administer the DML policy.
  • EMI is the program that develops content for teachers incorporating DML into existing courses.
  • Entre Les Linges is a collaborative program between the Department of Education and the press in France.
  • PédaGoJeux is a network of representatives of French game industry, Family associations, experts, and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
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DML Government Actions: France

The French government implemented a methodical approach to implementation. It began with the passing of a law, then created the policies, agencies and technical infrastructure required. Once those were in place, it enlisted government officials, educators and the private sector to begin populating the information sources. As resources became available, it communicated with the people who would use them. Full information is available here.

Examples

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Misinformation / DML Prevalence: France

Examples of high profile misinformation or disinformation events in France include rumors that Macron had an offshore account, combating the spread of online misinformation, fake news on French election results ahead of the actual election, a law to fight the spread of misinformation during elections, "MacronLeaks", medial literacy and online safety through formal education, and co-octing of French unrest to spread disinformation. The details of the findings were entered in the project spreadsheet.
Below is a deeper dive into each of the above events.

Rumors on Macron's offshore account

  • In an effort to discredit Macron ahead of the 2017 French presidential elections, some 7000 Twitter users shared images of two documents that supposedly identified Macron as the owner of an offshore account in the Caribbean.
  • The first document was purported to be an operational contract for the creation of a limited liability company, La Providence, while the second one appeared to be a piece of official correspondence documenting a bank transfer from the above mentioned company.

Combating the spread of online misinformation

Fake election results news

  • Fake news about results of the French presidential elections circulated on social media ahead of the actual elections.
  • Research found that many of the sources were "exposed to Russian influence".
  • This came after Facebook had suspended 30,000 suspected automated accounts in France.

Law fighting spread of misinformation during elections

  • A French law to fight the spread of misinformation was passed in November 2018.
  • It provided the definition of "fake news" and was designed to enact strong rules on the media during electoral campaigns in the three months preceding any vote.
  • It builds upon an 1881 law that outlaws the dissemination of "false news".

Misinformation to influence election outcome

  • "MacronLeaks" was an instance of a potentially disruptive disinformation in the run up to the 2017 French election.
  • Documents were circulated online as purported "evidence of Macron's tax frauds and other illicit activities".
  • Conclusion from official investigations revealed that there was no evidence to support the allegations and that some conclusions were based on erroneous translation of French.

Medial literacy and online safety through formal education

  • The French Ministry of Education introduced Media and information literacy as a "subject incorporated into compulsory schooling programs at primary and lower secondary schools".
  • "The main instrument made use of by the Minister of National Education, which aims to teach children how to decode information and show proof of vigilance with regard to media and the internet, is the Media and information literacy (EMI — Education aux médias et à l’information) program, which aims to create 'cybercitizens'."

Co-acting of French unrest to spread disinformation

  • 125,000 Gilets Jaunes took to the streets in a destructive riot after President Macron gave in to their original demands and suspended tax increase.
  • On Twitter, outsiders (including far-right figureheads, conspiracy theorists, and pro-Kremlin influence networks) capitalized on interest in the Gilets Jaunes to spread disinformation.
  • Research reviewed by wired revealed that the accounts were responsible for thousands of posts on Twitter that were shared by thousands others, unaware that they were spreading disinformation.

Research Strategy

To find high profile misinformation or disinformation events in France the research team looked for information surrounding Digital Media Literacy in government databases such as EACEA national policies platform and French media websites like France24. These sources provided insightful information on these events. Other major news websites like wired and New York times were also consulted for the information.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Initiatives proposed for the future are ambitious: create a “Digital France” label, change the image of the digital jobs and develop a data security and privacy policy. However, the major challenges of the education system will be media education and actions to mitigate the risks of Internet use."
  • "France shows a strong willingness to improve digital education in order to compete the other global powers. Of course, the big challenge remains to counteract the risks of a passive use of Internet and also the protection of personal data. For that reason, media literacy must become, from our point of view, a priority for the future digital skills."
Quotes
  • "France is coordinating one of the world’s largest national media and internet literacy efforts to teach students, starting as early as in middle school, how to spot junk information online."
Quotes
  • "The eMedia project will develop educational booklets to support the training of teachers and educators in media literacy and digital citizenship for all. Each of these booklets will provide a minimum of ten hours of activities, and there will be three booklets developed in total by partners: on robotics and coding on digital media literacy and on digital content creation."
Quotes
  • "What is not tolerated on the street must no longer be tolerated on the Internet"
Quotes
  • "I think the French policy is regressive and could potentially freeze French students in the technological Stone Age. Rather than an outright ban, better to integrate them into teaching and offer incentives to students to stay off social media during the school day."