DML Executive Summary: The Netherlands
The Netherlands has taken several steps to promote digital media literacy including collaborations with companies such as Facebook and Twitter to combat disinformation, establishing resources for citizens, and adding digital media literacy skills to the school curriculum. A high-level overview of the current state of DML in the Netherlands is presented below and in the attached Google document. The data and sources for the overview were pulled from the attached spreadsheet.
- Although the Netherlands is the third most media-literate country in Europe as of 2018, a survey carried out by the Dutch Safer Internet Centre (SIC) found that low digital media literacy is more prevalent among youngsters. In fact, nearly two-thirds of youngsters in the Netherlands don't know how to use media properly, while 40-45% of youngsters in the 10-12 year age group are unable to recognize fake news or fake profiles.
- The Iene Miene Media 2018 study found that over 40% of Dutch parents are interested in learning how to ensure their child's online safety and help their children regarding media use.
- According to a report by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, Russia attempted to influence the 2017 Dutch election by spreading fake or partially true news. The report further claims that the threat of disinformation from Russia to the Netherlands has increased over the years.
- On the other hand, a recent research study on fake news conducted by Leiden University found that most Dutch fake news originate from inside the country with the right-wing extremists spreading the most disinformation. Photos and videos with incorrect descriptions are some popular forms of disinformation in the country. The research also found that not only politicians spread false news as facts, but they also exaggerate these news.
DML Government Actions
- While there is no national strategy on media literacy and safe use of media in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for national policy on media. The Dutch Ministry of Education established Mediawijzer.net, a network of professionals to promote media literacy. It also established Mediawijsheid, a Dutch website for schools that has brochures, games, and educational lessons on media literacy and digital citizenship.
- The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science encouraged journalists, scientists, and other experts to join the European Commission's expert group to combat fake news. It is also collaborating with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter to prevent the spread of disinformation.
- Other actions by the Dutch government include stricter standards for political advertising on social media during the recent local and European elections; an awareness campaign, ‘Stay Curious. Stay Critical’, on disinformation and how digital media algorithms and filters can create biased news; an online game to help users identify fake news; and a project Mediawise by Making Media (MMM) to teach young migrants using media and processing information effectively.
- The government also allocated "€20m to support investigative journalism" and is collaborating with scientific councils to determine the impact of digital media and data accuracy on democracy to develop strategies accordingly.
- Key players in the digital media literacy space in the Netherlands include public authorities such as the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Information Society Platform, The National Library of the Netherlands, Expertise Center for ICT in Education, Public Broadcasting Company NPO, The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Council for Culture.
- Other key players are Mediawijzer.net, a media literacy network that provides citizens a framework to increase their digital media literacy; Mediawijsheid, an initiative of the Mediawise Network that provides information on the smart and safe use of digital media; and the Media Literacy and Empowerment Centre, a consortium of social scientists based at Radboud University that work in the digital media literacy field.
- Five DML initiatives were identified in the research. These include two research initiatives (Media Literacy Network and Media Literacy Competence Model), two related to resources (Mediawijzer.net and MediaWijzer) and one related to end-user engagement (MediaMasters).
- MediaMasters is a game developed for children aged 9 to 16 years to build up basic knowledge about media literacy and how to deal with cybercrime and fake news.
- Three of these initiatives were focused on critical thinking, one was focused on media use, and one on civic engagement. The primary target audience of four of these initiatives was professionals.
The Future of DML
- Although there are no official national policies regarding media literacy in the Netherlands, government and other organizations are working to improve media literacy and digital citizenship and promote responsible use and intake of digital media. Digital media literacy skills are being added to the school curriculum in the Netherlands.
- Many experts have weighed in on the importance of DML in the Netherlands and what it may look like in the future. These experts include organizations such as NESET, Dutch Safer Internet Centre, Kennisnet Foundation, and EACEA National Policies Platform and researchers.
- Other experts are of the view that future educational programs on media literacy need to be flexible and context-aware when it comes to empowering migrants or other marginalized groups. Essentially, in developing these programs, there is a need to move away from the "one-size-fits-all" approach.
The report can also be found in the attached Google document.