The media and information literacy represent life skills that need to be mastered by all citizens as active participants in a democratic society. So far, the states and the other relevant actors in this area do not have a sufficient level of understanding about the concept of media literacy and its importance in the society, nor sufficient will to implement it. Therefore, the development of media and information literacy requires a comprehensive approach and involvement of all stakeholders at national, regional and European level. These are some of the conclusions of the regional conference "Media Literacy and Education Needs of Journalists and the Public", which was held on 28 and 29 March in Skopje in organization of the Macedonian Institute for Media.
The conference was organized within the regional project "South-East European Partnership for Media Development", implemented by the Center for Independent Journalism from Romania in cooperation with eight media organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria, with support from the European Union. The conference was attended by approximately fifty experts from the media sector, academia, civil society and representatives of institutions and international organizations from the countries in Southeast Europe and Turkey.
The participants had the opportunity to discuss the findings and the recommendations of the comparative report on the media literacy and the educational needs of the journalists and the audience in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Discussions were also held about the models of journalism education and about the situation in terms of the media literacy of the audience, as well as their importance for the freedom of expression and media freedom.
The discussants concluded that the states should provide the necessary support for the inclusion of the programs on media and information literacy in the educational process from an early age and to contribute to the greater promotion of the media education of the citizens. The civil society organizations should be an active partner in the process by developing innovative projects and awareness raising campaigns for the citizens about the importance of the media literacy, aimed at the promotion of the democratic values.
The conclusion was that in almost all countries in the region it is necessary to improve and modernize the programs for journalism education through greater cooperation with the media industry and the professional associations, so that the students would be enabled to learn through practice and acquire basic experience in the journalistic profession.
The photo-gallery of the event is available here.