We live in a world which is constantly bombarded by information and the media. The stream of content we receive across different channels is remarkable and we simply do not have either the time or mental capacity to process everything. In a digital age where we are so heavily reliant on the media, a certain knowledge of how to react to it and understand its dangers is of paramount importance. In this article we discuss the importance of media literacy in different contexts.
Political party owned media
Malta is quite distinguishable in this aspect, since its political parties have their own television and radio stations. From viewing both stations, one will notice two different extremes and viewpoints. On one side you have a station which preaches that Malta is a perfect example of Nirvana, whilst the other constantly warns of an impending apocalypse. A significant segment of the Maltese views these channels religiously and repeat the same message which their political party imposes on them. In this regard, a number of people do not consume such messages in a critical manner and simply believe whatever their favourite channel is throwing at them. This is indeed dangerous, as it fosters a society with no critical thinking capacity and political partisanship reigns galore.
Social media is indeed a current trend and many are doing their best to adapt to this new technology, irrespective of age and background. Although social media is an excellent communication tool, not all are aware of the dangers it may hold. In this regard, parents should always be attentive to see what their younger children are viewing and with whom they are communicating or chatting. This is all the more relevant especially when considering that anyone who has a device and internet connection can use social media. Awareness regarding the different types of content which can be uploaded on social media is also key.
Although the increased media channels allow us to view the latest news in an expeditious fashion, not all sources contain factual and accurate information. Some people repeat what they view on certain websites, which are created to maliciously misinform. It is important to check the source when viewing such news and confirm that it is reliable.
Media literacy is a key theme in a communications driven world. Awareness and school curriculum focused on the impact of the media on society and culture should be pushed to foster a generation of critical thinkers.