The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) presented and subjected to public consultations the first draft of the National Program for Media and Information Literacy for the period 2024-2026. The discussions, attended by authorities, representatives of civil society, the academic community, as well as donor and development partners community, took place on Monday, May 29.
The purpose of this document is for the authorities to prioritize the field of media and information literacy in accordance with the international commitments of the Republic of Moldova. IJC initiated the development of this document in February 2023, involving civil society organizations engaged in media and information literacy activities, as well as activities related to countering propaganda and disinformation.
“Once adopted, the National Program for Media and Information Literacy will establish a clear action plan for all actors involved in media and information literacy activities and combating disinformation and propaganda. We hope that media and information literacy will become a priority on the authorities’ agenda because to achieve long-term results and increase society’s resilience to misinformation and propaganda, strategic thinking and a clear vision are needed not only from civil society but also from relevant state institutions,” said Nadine Gogu, the executive director of IJC.
Angela Vacaru, the expert involved in the development of the document, argues that, unlike other states, the Republic of Moldova does not have public policies specifically targeting this field. “Most of the initiatives, projects, and research so far have been initiated by representatives of civil society, with the support of the donor community, in line with their agenda. We hope that this first draft will be finalized through active intersectoral involvement and that state institutions will assume the role of initiator, coordinator, funder, and direct implementer of media and information literacy actions. The fact that we currently have no specific institution or public authority designated to oversee and coordinate the field, no action plan for the coming years, allocated budget, and coordination, leads to overlapping or desynchronization of media and information literacy,” emphasized Angela Vacaru.
According to the first draft of the document, the Ministry of Education and Research will have the most significant responsibilities in this field.
“With regard to formal and non-formal education programs, it is evident that the Ministry of Education and Research will be the main partner. Because we are also talking about policies for the development of the media field, we hope that soon the main partner will be the Ministry of Culture. Regarding media and information literacy, there will be certain areas of interference, such as support programs for adults through libraries,” commented Liliana Nicolaescu Onofrei, the chairwoman of the parliamentary commission for culture, education, research, youth, sports, and mass media.
“We are ready to take on everything related to formal education. I am glad that we have a draft program, and from this moment, we can discuss more about each of the proposed objectives. I don’t know if the topic we are discussing today would be reduced to just one school subject, even if it is fundamental. There is a much broader set of measures that should be undertaken in multiple areas. Regarding education, whether with the presence of an optional discipline or not, this field must ensure critical thinking for every child. Certain activities listed in the program seem too far apart in time; that’s why we need to identify immediate actions to reduce the impact of disinformation. We should explore how to provide the necessary information to schools through well-prepared specialists,” declared Anatolie Topală, the Minister of Education and Research.
The program will be finalized after the State Chancellery approves the concept of this document.
IJC initiated the development of the National Program for Media and Information through the project “Creation of a coalition of stakeholders for national MIL strategy,” supported by International Media Support (IMS). Through this project, IJC aimed to develop public policies that would outline the directions for the development of the field of media and information literacy in the Republic of Moldova, as well as establish an action plan for the actors involved in activities related to this domain. The first draft of this document was elaborated with the contribution of civil society organizations in the Republic of Moldova that engage in and support media and information literacy activities and the fight against disinformation and propaganda.