DML Executive Summary: France
France is taking a systematic approach to addressing digital media literacy (DML) in the country, including passing laws, establishing resources for educators, and teaching students how to identify false information online. Following is a high level overview of the current state of DML in France, with the data and sources being pulled from the attached spreadsheet.
Misinformation / DML Prevalence
- Almost 3/4 (74% of French citizens) who took part in a study indicated they were concerned about misinformation. Partly due to the prevalence of misinformation in the country, a law was passed in November 2018 that strengthens an 1881 law which outlawed the dissemination of false news. Bringing lessons into schools to start educating kids early on how to spot fake news is another strategy being used to counteract the spread of false information.
- Some recent examples of fake news in France are #MacronGate, a false story about President Macron being the owner of an offshore account; several stories reporting incorrect information on the percentage of votes various candidates received during the election; and #MacronLeaks, a series of stories spreading false information prior to the 2017 elections.
DML Government Actions
- The French government took several steps in recent years that showed their commitment to DML. In 2016, the national government created the Public Service of Digital Education; the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolis works with the reCreation Lab to develop projects involving future tools, including digital media; and Canope is overseen by the Ministry of Education, with a mission to provide transmedia educational resources for teachers and others in the educational community.
- Some other specific actions taken by the government include developing a media and information education program; building the "School of Trust;" and creating a road map for France's digital strategy.
- Two organizations with international reach that are impacting DML in France are the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés and the French National Research Agency.
- The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés brings together over 60 organizations that lead campaigns on education in the digital world. The National Research Agency led the Translit project, promoting transliteracy.
- Some organizations operating at the national level are the CLEMI Center for Media and Information Education, which is in charge of media and information education in the French schools; Entre Les Linges, which trains older students to become critical thinkers; The National Cybersecurity Agency of France, which is partly responsible for building trust in the digital sphere; and the National Digital Council, which advises the government on digital society, among other topics.
- Research identified one initiative related to the provision of funding, three related to resources, and one related to end-user engagement. The identified initiatives focused on a variety of groups including professionals, students, and the general public.
- Four of the initiatives had critical thinking as the primary goal, including the Media and Information Literacy Program; the CLEMI program which has over 32,000 program instructors; and Entre Les Linges which boasts 155 journalist volunteers who help with the program.
- M@gistere provides training and resources for teaching DML and had 187,000 visitors to the site in the last six months.
The Future of DML
- Many experts have weighed in on the importance of DML and what it may look like in the future. The experts include UNESCO, Eurydice Network, the Ministry of Education, and New York Times journalists.
- Education was a common theme as it was mentioned in terms of changes being made to DML education, reform in the current Baccalaureate System, France being a leader in teaching students how to identify misinformation online, and educating adults in DML.
- Other topics that were discussed by the various experts included a law on hate speech, banning cellphones in schools and the potential negative impacts, and the risk and opportunity associated with technology.
The report can also be found in the attached Google document.