Today we are faced with a deluge of information – which gives validity to what famous historian John Naisbitt observed in his critically acclaimed book Megatrends, that in the long run “the visual narrative will overwhelm. the literary story â. This is why if we ever choke on ourselves, it may be on too much information – more in audiovisual form – because we have a lot more information and points of view on a daily basis than we can understand. And if we ever lose touch with the world we live in, it will be because of overexposure to alluring images and inexplicable Whatsapp University.
It is true that new technologies facilitate the dissemination of information and entertainment. At the same time, it turns both into commodities and facilitates wider dissemination of âwaste informationâ.
We all know the media are everywhere, but often a bad source of unbiased and objective information. This is why we are seeing the use of new technological platforms / tools to inform and disinform.
Audiences are tricked into believing everything TV networks / social media comes up with – not knowing that creators use a plethora of techniques to get the viewer’s attention, and they will often craft the text to please to a specific audience. The public is unable to see if the news presentation contains real substance or if it is just smoke and mirrors. Advertisements, news, movies, TV shows, social media, and many other types of media all want us to take their posts at face value.
We fail to look beneath the surface and ask questions to decode what these media messages are really saying. In order to have an informed opinion on a given subject, it is essential to have basic training in media education. If we teach children to read and write, it is high time that we also prepared them to read pictures, to negotiate the information available on social networks.
It is in this context that media education initiatives have gained momentum. UNESCO annually organizes World Media and Information Week to review progress towards âMedia and Information Literacy for Allâ. The National Telemedia Council defines media education as “the ability to choose, to understand – in the context of content, form / style, impact, industry and production – to deliver in question, to assess, create and / or produce and respond thoughtfully to the media we consume. It is a conscious vision, a considered judgment.
The main objective is to promote critical thinking skills that allow people to make independent choices, especially with regard to the interpretation of the information they receive through various mass media. The study of the media immediately opens the doors of perception.
In this regard, the book Media Literacy: Keys to Interpreting Media Messages, authored by Prof. Art Silverblatt, Emeritus Professor of Media Communications at WebsterUniversity, St. Louis, Missouri, Professor Anubhuti Yadav, Professor of New Media at the Indian Institute Communication, India and DrVedabhyasKundu, program manager at Gandhi Smriti and DarshanSamiti – is growing in importance as it makes a strong contribution to the appreciation of the need to promote media education.
According to the authors, media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they send. There are text messages, memes, viral videos, social media, video games, advertising, etc. But all media share one thing: someone created it and it was created for a reason and understand that reason is the basis of media literacy.
The book covers print, photography, film, radio, television and new media, and teaches readers how to take a critical approach to media and interpret the information overload that is disseminated through mass communication.
The current pandemic has been marked by widespread misinformation and rumors, especially via social media, which many, including the United Nations Secretary-General, have called an “infodemic.” However, these challenges should not have been unexpected. They are the result of massive technological changes of the past decades that have completely revolutionized the ways we communicate, interact and inform ourselves.
The digital age has made it easy for anyone to create media. We don’t always know who created something, why they did it, and if it’s believable. The authors illustrated how the messages can be manipulated by referring to Pakistani UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi who made an embarrassing blunder when she tried to pass a photograph of a girl injured in a strike air in Gaza for that of a young Kashmiri injured by a pellet gun fired by the Indian army in Kashmir.
What afflicts radio and television is much more elegantly summed up in the words of an American writer who says that “the media mediate between us and raw reality and mediation is increasingly replacing the reality for us?
The authors offer a detailed reasoning on how media education helps identify the influences and meaning of media messages, whether one is involved in media production or consumption. Whether it’s reading a newspaper, watching TV, using a social media platform, playing video games, or engaging with any other form of media, skills in education for people media make it possible to assess the credibility and intention of the author.
Simply put, media education aims to enable individuals to think critically about the media and the information they consume by engaging in a process of inquiry.
The book is divided into three parts: the first part presents a theoretical framework for the critical analysis of the media text; Part II gives students the opportunity to apply this methodological framework to a variety of media formats; and Part III consists of a brief review of the problems of mass media (violence in the media, media and children, media and social change, and global communication.) The authors have been careful to present a summary to at the end of each chapter for easy recap.
Media literacy initiatives should be treated as a public good, just like the water we drink and the air we breathe. Almost seventy percent of the world’s young people are now online. Every day, people watch over a billion hours of video on YouTube2, and nearly two billion of us log into Facebook, many using these platforms as their primary source of news and information about the world. .
Television news networks often resort to information packaging with entertainment and / or sensational elements in order to attract more attention. And yet, it’s no coincidence that we are seeing news confidence plummeting to record levels around the world, especially for information found online. The authors have provided a detailed plan for strengthening media literacy initiatives. The subjects discussed remain in the spotlight. Published by Kanishka Publishers, the book is a valuable addition to our understanding of media literacy and its importance. While we agree with Canadian media guru Marshall McLuhan who saw the advent of television as a way to “skip the literacy stage and get straight into post-literate society,” With a high volume of information now at their fingertips thanks to smartphones and search engines, today’s students will need to become more efficient at filtering what they read, see and hear. In other words, teaching media literacy is more important than ever. Therefore, deconstructing media messages is an essential skill in our media-saturated culture, as it helps you cut through the noise and draw your own conclusions.
(The author works for the renowned Apeejay Education Society)