The UNESCO global MIL Week – their international campaign for Media and Information Literacy – is coming soon while I write, and it is an important chance to bring back some focus on media literacy efforts once again.

I find the title of this year’s campaign, Resisting Disinfodemic, particularly well crafted. We face unprecedented times and events (at least, compared to the last 100 years) and surely we are facing an unprecedented spike in the spreading of “alternative information” in the shape of fake news, crazy conspiracy theories and fear-mongering in many different forms, by digital media of several kinds.

media literacy  UNESCO 2020 global media and information week promotional poster
Thank you UNESCO, I will surely borrow that word: Disinfodemic

That’s why we would need an effort to spread much more media literacy, in youth but even more in who is in charge of educating youth, and often is way less competent and skilled than them. A lot of projects and ideas were in motion, but then: enter Covid – everything was just like frozen for almost one year now.

My little contribution to a deeper understanding of how information works and how it can trick you, and in general some media literacy efforts going deeper into memes, video games etc, were the program for a training course which should have happened in March, led by me and my other brothers from the 3 nerd musketeers gang, Carmine Rodi Falanga and Jan Lai.

media literacy  image of 3 faces wearing dark glasses, colored in green, with falling characters, as in The Matrix movies.
Here is a completely unrelated picture of the 3 Nerd Musketeers.

It was called Citizenship Reloaded, specifically to underline how so many issues with democracy nowadays are somehow connected with a lack of digital citizenship and the missing ability to really understand how media, an digital media in particular, work with emotions and action-reaction patterns to change your behavior as a citizen when you debate, discuss, vote etc. My previous post about The Social Dilemma docu-drama was dealing with this topic too.

Now the training course is finally coming back, in December and on-line, so maybe someone could be interested in following it. We are planning some parts which will be open to everybody, and other parts reserved to registered participants – and yes, we are brewing some good surprises for you 😉 . To enroll, just fill in the form on SALTO website for free, and cross your fingers to be selected by Italian Erasmus+ / Youth in Action national agency.

My feeling is that the debate and the efforts about media literacy, together with many other topics, have been frozen in the Covid-lockdown ice too – in a moment where unprecedented numbers of people of all ages were and are forced to spend much more time in digital environments and dealing with digital media. To help myself, and maybe someone else, reconnecting with what we were talking about one year ago, I want to share this interview with Salto Information and Participation, given in June 2019, as they have put it in their MIL Week Youtube playlist:

I love that t-shirt of mine 😉

To me, it really looks like a message in a bottle from another planet: we discussed botnets and coordinated attempts to harm democracy through mining the pillars of our citizenship (a shared space for truth, defined by indisputable facts) – exactly with that Disinfodemic which UNESCO is putting in their title; we mentioned the youth-led movement against global warming and climate change, which (surprise!) is now completely disappeared form the Eye of Mordor of mainstream media sight, and which once again showed that youth is able to step up and be heard by the world when something really matters; we shared tips and advices to youth workers, to open their projects to youth collaboration and participation, so that they would share – and get – some more media literacy, and then to question the choices and beliefs of youth regarding digital media, in a way to make them more aware of the bigger picture.

Nowadays, when another lockdown seems to be coming (not so) slowly, and Covid is going wild all over Europe, all these topics are still missing from the debate, probably when we would need them most.

I feel an urge to get them back.