On October 26, the Independent Journalism Center launched the second edition of the Moldova Media Literacy Forum. About 70 teachers of media education from all over the country participated in the event, being aware of the important role that media education has for the development of a generation that thinks critically.
The IJC aimed to bring together in Chisinau decision-makers, teachers of media education, local and foreign experts to discuss the latest developments in the field, examine the experience of neighboring countries and analyze the prospects of this field in Moldova.
Nadine Gogu, Executive Director of the IJC, spoke of the importance of media literacy and, implicitly, media education in the context of technological developments in recent years, which have facilitated access to a wealth of information, but have also amplified the challenges related to the truthfulness and correctness of this information. “Media literacy is not only about the technological skills of accessing and creating media content, but also about the development of critical thinking, understanding the impact of media messages on us. Respectively, media education becomes a pressing necessity, an opportunity to learn how to deal with this avalanche of information and how to be critical and responsible in the process of choosing our sources of information,” said Nadine Gogu, urging the forum participants to become ambassadors of media literacy.
Dan Perciun, the Minister of Education and Research, said that in the world where we live, with a huge amount of information and a lot of misinformation, the competence to delimit truth from falsehood is very important. “In the coming period, falsehoods will be increasingly distributed online, so, for the survival of democracy, it is important to develop media skills. They are mainly related to the analysis and processing of information. We believe that the inclusion of these contents into other disciplines is very important. There are many school subjects that are intended to be optional, but the timetable is limited. Respectively, the option of adding new compulsory subjects is not always feasible, therefore, it is important to develop subjects that would include the concepts of media education, for example, in Romanian language, history or homeroom period. So, our urge is to find opportunities to integrate media education without overloading the core curriculum with optional subjects,” the minister said.
John P. Riordan, Deputy Mission Director of USAID Mission in Moldova, thanked the teachers for their effort to promote media education in school. “The U.S. is committed to partnering with the Moldovan government and ensuring that Moldova has the necessary resources to combat disinformation. The best action against disinformation is the existence of independent media, but these efforts make no sense unless we empower the younger generation to get involved. We thank the Ministry of Education and Research for its commitment to promote media education in school,” John P. Riordan said.
Margret Maria Uebber, the German Ambassador to Moldova, appreciated the importance of media education, noting that we live in a world where 24 hours a day and 7 days a week we are exposed to the information space, whether it is traditional media or new media. “The Covid period demonstrated the benefits of using new technologies. At the same time, users can be exposed to a large number of messages with a negative impact. For many people, especially young people, it is difficult to distinguish between truth and falsehood. In this sense, media education is extremely important, because it helps us to decode messages and understand the role of media in society. The ability to navigate the complex information space and critically consume information is crucial, including in the context in which Moldova is drawn into a hybrid war by Russia. I sincerely hope that this forum will contribute to strengthening efforts in educating a young generation that thinks critically,” the Ambassador said.
Oxana Iuteș, Director of Internews in Moldova, said, “If we want the next generations to make a difference in the information space, then action must be taken today.” “It is important to help children and young people, who in turn help their parents and grandparents, their friends, learn to think before making a decision after reading content online or seeing a report on TV. Providing support to students, we provide support to the entire community,” Oxana Iuteș said.
Cristina Leva, Project Officer of DW Akademie in Moldova, believes that new technologies are more and more often used to increase the speed and extent of disinformation and to slow down and even reverse democratic processes in society. “However, through the work that DW Akademie does in the field of media education, we have noticed the enormous potential that this initiative has in increasing resilience and critical, autonomous thinking. Therefore, we believe that the integration of media education in core school subjects, which we started to pilot in 2023 together with the IJC and the Ministry of Education, represents an important step in educating young people, but also a lasting investment in the teachers’ community,” Cristina Leva said.
The Moldova Media Literacy Forum is part of the project “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M), funded by USAID, the British Embassy in Moldova and implemented by Internews in Moldova, which aims to promote the development of independent and professional media and to create a media sector more resistant to political and economic pressures. Also, the event is held with the support of the project “Strengthening of media and information literacy (MIL) in the Republic of Moldova: Piloting the integrative approach in formal education”, implemented in partnership with Deutsche Welle Akademie and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ).