NEWS | 11 Jul 2018

Media and information literacy – a question of democracy

Image: Ulla Carlsson speaking at the conference "Media and information literacy – a question of democracy". 

On May 30, the UNESCO Professorship at the University of Gothenburg and the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO organised a conference to discuss and find models to promote media and information literacy (MIL) based on a democratic perspective. The basis for the conference was a knowledge overview that Nordicom, through UNESCO Professor Ulla Carlsson, has produced on behalf of the Swedish Ministry of Culture. 

The knowledge overview, presented by Ulla Carlsson in the opening part of the conference, concludes that the time we are in can be seen as ‘the end of the beginning of digitalisation’. MIL has become crucial for citizens in order to participate actively in society and should therefore, be seen as a foundation of our democracy. 

MIL – Whose responsibility and how?
In the first part of the conference it was discussed whose responsibility it is, and how we can work to increase MIL in society. To answer these questions, representatives from politics, media companies and civil society were invited to present their views. 

Coherent work is missing
The knowledge overview is based on a survey of MIL efforts in Sweden, conducted by the Swedish Media Council and the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority. During the second part of the conference, Martina Wagner from the Swedish Media Council presented the results of the survey. It showed, among other things, that there is a need to coordinate the work on MIL issues in Sweden in order to avoid fragmented efforts where the effects are difficult to assess.

MIL – the next step
Finally, Ulla Carlsson presented her conclusions based on the knowledge overview. She emphasised that governance, implementation and collaboration are most important when it comes to work on MIL issues, but clear political leadership is a condition. 

 In summary, a consensus was reached on the proposal for a national political framework and on the need for overall coordination. In addition, all parties saw a need for more meeting places around MIL.


The knowledge overview will be available on our website shortly.