Letter to the Editor: The tale of time and literacy

IN TODAY'S time, the rapid development of media and information can be observed as society continues to progress. This growth has become favorable given that media and information have played an important role in the people's everyday lives since the beginning. As promising as it may sound however, it is only relevant to tackle the undeniably inevitable possibility of susceptibility to misinformation in media that is brought about by the flourishing of media and information itself. Instances like this can be seen in the newly developed media platforms where easier access to information is given, yet easier fabrication of information is made possible as well.

Clearly, hoaxes themselves are the problem to begin with, but the duty of being knowledgeable and sensible enough to critically evaluate pieces of information also lies within the consumers. With the present issue of misinformation in media, being literate when it comes to media and information should be comprehensively taught, exercised, and valued now more than ever to maintain its significance in the lives of the masses.

As implied, it is the responsibility of creators to release accurate material, and it is the duty of consumers to be aware of what sources can be relied on and what contents can be trusted as well. Though misinformation in media may seem like an inevitable problem, Media and Information Literacy (MIL) serves its purpose to educate consumers in order to aid in the proper assessment of both media and information as it focuses on the study of the different aspects to consider when taking them in. This is made possible as according to the Moscow Declaration of Media and Information Literacy, MIL is a combination of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices that develop a critical set of competencies to be able to thoroughly and appropriately appraise, create, and use information and knowledge in creative, legal and ethical ways that respect human rights. Basically, MIL suggests that the creators' ability to produce reliable information and media messages, along with the audiences' competence to analyze media and information, significantly contribute to the traverse function of media and information itself, therefore making it just as vital to learn about.

With MIL in this sense, there should be no reason to choose misinforming and being misinformed. It is only fair to study the creation of precise and factual content, and it is as well as only appropriate to learn the scrutinization of different media material in order for everyone to benefit from the entirety of media and information itself. This is supported by the fourth law of Unesco's Five Laws of MIL which states that "Every citizen wants to know and understand new information, knowledge and messages as well as to communicate, even if she/he is not aware, admits or expresses that he/she does. Her/his rights must however never be compromised." This law may emphasize the general first-person perspective of consumers who want to know, and creators who want to share alone, however it also subsequently explains the aspect of the information being taken in as well. Considering how consumers can be creators and vice versa, the quality of information being consumed and created lies in a cycle, then building the importance of not only the ability to give and receive information, but as well as the right that should be practiced to receive and give accurate and quality information.

As MIL being acknowledged as a right, it does not only hold the title for itself. Rather, it also gives meaning of inclusivity to the people. It is important to understand that rights mean more than just exercise and practice as there are people who are not only unaware with their rights, but as well as deprived of them due to the lack of resources and the short range of access. In this context, it is only relevant to bring up the second law from Unesco's Five Laws of MIL which states that "Every citizen is a creator of information/knowledge and has a message. They must be empowered to access new information/knowledge and to express themselves. MIL is for all -- women and men equally -- and a nexus of human rights. Like the fourth law, the second law tackles the right of the people to express and access information, only the second law emphasizes how MIL is for all, therefore tying it to the rights of the people as a whole. On these terms, the inclusivity of these rights is the responsibility as an individual and as part of the public to guarantee everyone's recognized opportunity to be literate in the platforms of media and information.

While most concepts of MIL are quite broad and abstract to think about, its definite significance speaks volumes for the reasons as to why it should be discussed in the first place. Being media and information literate is way more vital than people actually give it credit for, most especially in the present society where misinformation in media is quite prevalent. With this being the case, MIL continues to be a platform that the masses need to interact with more in order to prevent falling victim to the hands of fabrication. After all, MIL is not just simply lesson nor a requirement from society, and it is so much more than a right that can be exercised, because it is a right that should be empowered and recognized among all kinds of people.

Anika Leonora

Student of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu


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