Key take-aways of CoE study on Supporting Quality Journalism through Media and Information Literacy

posted on 07 April, 2020   (public)

Mapping of 68 MIL initiatives reveals  mismatch between projects and needs

On 23 March 2020, the Council of Europe published a study on 'Supporting quality journalism through media and information literacy' authored by media literacy experts Martina Chapman and Markus Oermann.

The purposes of the study are two-fold:       

  • provide context and evidence to Council of Europe expert bodies, member States and other relevant stakeholders on media and information literacy activities in Europe supporting quality journalism
  • identify the possible need for further research and/or policymaking to ensure a favourable environment providing incentives for the sustainable development of MIL.

The premise of the report is that in today's mediatised society, media and information literacy is essential as part of the skillset and knowledge required by every individual citizen to participate in political, economic and social life.

Based on desk research and an open online survey, the study analyses 68 media and information literacy projects from 31 countries aimed at developing MIL skills and knowledge that help the public to recognise and value quality journalism.

The key findings from the analysis reveal a mismatch between the majority of the MIL projects that were analysed and what would be needed in order to foster quality journalism:

  • Strategic coordination is a must: Media Literacy concerns different groups of people, with different needs  and is thus typically a multi-stakeholder endeavour but coordination is lacking.
  • Rethinking the focus of MIL projects: Knowledge about media regulation, data and privacy, and how social media and search platforms operate is crucial but the majority of MIL projects do not address such skills.  
  • More MIL projects should focus on over 65s: There are not enough projects addressing this age group identified as the most likely to share disinformation online; the absence of a dissemination network is a problem.

Based on the findings, the report sets out a series of recommendations. Member States and other relevant stakeholders are encouraged to:

  • recognise and support the role the MIL has in promoting and protecting quality journalism in the digital age,
  • create media literacy programmes that help citizens of all age groups to develop the MIL skills and knowledge that will support quality journalism,
  • learn from existing practices,
  • foster collaboration,
  • evaluate and refine projects on an on-going basis (one third of the projects analysed did not undergo any form of evaluation or assessment).


Our take on the report:
Though unintentional, the timing of this publication is ideal as quality media and media literacy are crucial elements in times of crisis.
Particularly worth a read: section 5 (from p. 27) provides a selection of promising practices divided into five models (MIL in Schools, Public facing, Strategic, Training and Tools) which can help stakeholders in their development of future MIL programmes, strategies, materials, etc.
Of particular concern for media regulators: the lack of MIL projects aimed at fostering knowledge about media regulation.


Source: Council of Europe