Digital Media Literacy: UK Executive Summary
The UK's Digital Media Landscape is chaotic. There is no single entity responsible for policy or implementation. The goals vary widely, from eliminating radicalization, to child safety, to Fake News and digital media literacy for adults. There are multiple initiatives popping up, but there is no coordination. This analysis can also be found in this Google Doc.
Misinformation and Disinformation
- There is a lack of digital media literacy among the people in the UK. The government plans to develop a digital media literacy strategy. The final report from the Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools, published on 13 June 2018, found that only 2% of children and young people in the UK have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake.
- Public faith in political rhetoric in the UK is eroding, likely because both conservative and labor political parties resorted to misinformation campaigns in the December 2019 elections against their opponents.
DML Government Actions
- The UK government is rightly concerned with radicalization. This concern for safety drives many of its DML initiatives.
- Other initiatives are targeted toward people who have basic digital skills and connectivity, but lack the confidence and knowledge to make the most of the digital economy, whether at work or beyond.
- The responsibility for ensuring the well-being of children when they are online is diffuse and is shared across the Government, industry, parents, carers, schools, young people and non-governmental organizations.
- There are three major sectors involved in DML in the UK. Government plays a role on policy through the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Government Communication Service and House of Commons — Science and Technology Committee.
- Not-for-profit organizations include Skooville, the UK Safer Internet Centre, and MediaSmart provide resources for teachers and students.
- There are also cross-sector collaboration groups like the UK Council for Internet Safety and the Information Literacy Group.
- The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), of the European Commission states that the UK has no national standalone strategy addressing media literacy. There is a charter that outlines a desired end state, but the implementation path is unclear.
- Because different parts of the government are responsible for different parts of digital media literacy, there is no single type of target audience. The initiative is delivered through policy documents.
- In the UK the policy focus is on warnings, safety, concern for children who use the internet. The program is just getting off the ground so it is unknown if the deliverers of the program will present digital media literacy as a positive tool to embrace or a dangerous one to fear.