DML Executive Summary: Spain
Spain has taken several steps to promote digital media literacy including passing laws, establishing resources for the general public, and developing resources to provide training to both teachers and students. A high-level overview of the current state of DML in Spain is presented below and in the attached Google document. The data and sources for the overview were pulled from the attached spreadsheet.
Misinformation / DML Prevalence
- According to the Digital News Report 2018, 69% of people in Spain are concerned about ‘what is real or fake’ on the internet.
- A recent example of fake news in Spain is Catalan separatists shutting down a cancer treatment center for children.
- In many cases, government leads initiatives against fake news. For example, "the National Security Department, Office of the State Secretary for Communication, and several Spanish ministries" launched a special unit to fight disinformation campaigns during the April 2019 elections. However, politicians are also known to use social media to influence elections.
- The Fake News and Disinformation study by Xnet, Pompu Fabra University, and Wainwright Reform Trust reported that most of the false news are disseminated by governments, political parties, and business corporations. The study found that bot activity related to fake news increased by up to 25% during election campaigns.
DML Government Actions
- In 2015, the Spanish government introduced digital and media literacy in the legislation as "an essential tool for minors to develop their critical thinking" in the "Law on the Modification of the System for the Protection of Children and Adolescents."
- Before the April 2019 general election, the Spanish government set up a team of around 100 officials to scour social media for false or potentially misleading political posts.
- Other actions include (In) Formate, a program to promote digital media literacy among kids aged 14 to 16; a "report of good practices BP/13 disinformation in cyberspace" to raise awareness against misinformation; digital media education programs for kids; a course for youngsters to recognize fake news; educational materials created by the Catalan Audiovisual Council to teach students about digital media; and a conference on "Youth: Critical Thinking in the Digital Era".
- Key players in the digital media literacy space in Spain include public authorities such as the Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías Educativas y de Formación del Profesorado (INTEF), Filmotecas e ICAA, Centro Nacional de Innovación e Investigación Educativa (CNIIE), and Red.es as well as media regulatory authorities including Consejo Audiovisual de Andalucía, National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), and Catalonia Broadcasting Council (CAC).
- Other key players are civil society organizations including Observatorio Europeo de la TV Infantil (OETI) and Asociación de las Televisiones Educativas y Culturales Iberoamericanas (ATEI) and academia such as Edutic-ADEI.
- OETI organizes the International Audiovisual Festival of Barcelona (FIAB), the World Children's Television Forum, and the Observatory Days as part of the Week of Healthy Screens of the OETI. On the other hand, ATEI focuses on the development of Latin American education, science, and culture by using television and other communication technologies.
- Five DML initiatives were identified in the research. These include a research initiative (EMEDUS Project), an initiative related to networking platforms (Mediateca), two related to resources (Common Digital Competence Framework for Teachers and Edupills), and one related to end-user engagement (Chaval).
- Mediateca helps students develop their own projects and upload them to the web. The EMEDUS project gathered digital media literacy information from around the EU and aggregated common tools for teachers in 13 different languages. Chaval encourages children to seek advice from parents and educators regarding new technologies. The Common Digital Competence Framework for Teachers is a "reference framework for the diagnosis and improvement of the digital competences for teachers." Edupills is a mobile app that helps teachers develop digital skills and competencies.
- Three of these initiatives were focused on media use, one was focused on critical thinking, and one on civic engagement. Four of these initiatives were launched for professionals.
The Future of DML
- Many experts have weighed in on the importance of DML and what it may look like in the future. These experts include notable professors, university researchers, journalists, and government personnel.
- The majority of the opinions analyzed concluded that further investment in teacher training is required along with policy changes that can further evaluate and push the progression of the education system regarding DML and combating disinformation.
- Other experts were of the view that digital literacy must be emphasized in ICT and education policy formation and formal skills development programs should continue to be rolled out in schools.
The complete report can also be found in the attached Google document.