European Media Literacy week: EPRA highlights essential role that independent regulators can play

posted on 25 March, 2019   (public)

EPRA represented in European Commission and Council of Europe MIL events

The goal of the first European Media Literacy Week was to raise awareness of the importance of media literacy across Europe and to highlight different existing initiatives, in particular those at regional and national level.  

From 18 to 22 March 2019, various events took place in Brussels and in EU Member States. It included notably an ERGA Academy event, a high-level conference hosted by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel,  as well as meetings of the Commission’s Media Literacy Expert Group and the Contact Committee of the AVMSD.

Meanwhile in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe, in partnership with Reporters without Borders, held  a two-day conference titled "Media Pluralism, how can we deliver?" which focused on the interplay between the promotion of media literacy, the support for quality journalism and for transparency of media ownership.

EPRA Chairperson Celene Craig was invited to present EPRA’s recent activities and findings related to media literacy at the ERGA Academy event on 18 March. She also participated in the panel discussion “Which role for public authorities in supporting quality journalism and fostering media literacy skills among citizens?” at the Commission's high-level conference on 19 March to highlight the role that regulators can play to promote media literacy.

Key messages included the following:

  • Media literacy is of increased relevance and importance to media regulators in Europe;
  • While there is no common definition, there is a common understanding among regulators that MIL empowers citizens to make informed decisions about the media content they access, create and consume;
  • Audiovisual regulators have an essential role to play in developing media literacy as they have extensive media expertise and can bring together a wide network of stakeholders;
  • The implementation of the new AVMSD, with its reinforced provisions on MIL, creates momentum for regulators to identify key challenges and opportunities, build engagement with stakeholders, share knowledge, practice and experience and show leadership.

In parallel, several representatives of regulatory authorities, as well as the EPRA Secretariat, actively participated in the Council of Europe joint-conference in Strasbourg to report on recent media literacy initiatives and best practices at national and European levels as well as in the Middle East and North Africa region

Research is one of the key pillars of MIL activity for regulators. Alison PrestonHead of Research at Ofcom and Maria Donde, EPRA Vice-Chairperson and Ofcom's Head of International Content Policy,  presented the UK regulator's latest findings of their media literacy research.

Emmanuelle Machet, Head of the EPRA Secretariat, moderated a panel on “Digital Literacy: education against disinformation” with representatives of academia, journalists, media regulators and community broadcasters. Asja Rokša-Zubčević, Head of Division of Audiovisual services and international cooperation in broadcasting at CRA, presented the recent conclusions of the EPRA MIL Task Force. Leadership, funding and knowledge are enabling factors for media literacy initiatives. Network facilitation is a natural role for audiovisual regulators.

The conclusions of the conference stressed, inter alia. the need for:

  • Further long-term and multi-sectoral research;
  • Involving all actors (academics, teachers, Media service providers, policymakers…) ;
  • A radical shift in public policies with a view to giving more strategic importance and funding to media literacy.

Source: EU Commission and Council of Europe websites

EU Media Literacy week's event and agenda

Video of the high-level conference on 19 March

Council of Europe and RWB's conference programme

Additional EPRA Background: In 2019 Media Literacy will remain a priority for EPRA with a permanent Working group allowing for a continuation of the fruitful work conducted until now.