Date Set: Unless Something Changes, Mamadou Konaté Will Be Deported On September 30 | Pro IQRA News

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The way people consume news media has changed. Gone are the days when newspapers and anchor networks were widely respected and trusted sources of information on current events. Today, social media has a huge impact on shaping people’s views, and partisan platforms allow viewers to pick and choose what is “reliable” based on their own ideas rather than facts, analysis and objective research.

In such an environment, conspiracy theories thrive, objective and knowable facts are often debated, and the polarization deepens. How can society begin to push back this dangerous wave of misinformation and build a path to a common understanding and common agreement about what is right and what is not?

A good place to start is with media literacy, a skill set that is closely related to critical thinking, but distinct enough to be a discipline of their own. As organizations like Media Literacy Now demonstrate, being media literate in the 21st century means having the ability to decode media messages and assess their impact on your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

There is clear evidence that these skills can have a major impact on people’s ability to identify and debunk the misinformation, disinformation and propaganda they oppose in today’s media ecosystem.

This summer, the Reboot Foundation surveyed more than 500 Americans and explored the intersection of conspiracy, science lore, critical thinking, and media literacy. The survey found that about 25 percent of participants were open to believing at least one of the conspiracy theories we tested. People who rely heavily on social media for their information are more likely to believe it, as are people who identify as politically conservative.

The survey also investigated participants’ exposure to media literacy principles in schools, and found that 26 percent of people had media literacy education. less likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Other research supports this. Simply put, news literacy gives people a chance to fight against conspiracies.

And there’s more good news. The Reboot survey found that the majority of the public – 84 percent – ​​supported those requiring media literacy education in schools, and 90 percent said they supported the critical thinking needed in K-12.

As you might expect, the downside is that few people report that they actually studied media literacy in school: only 42 percent reported learning to analyze science news in high school, and only 38 percent said they reflected on media messages there. .

Teaching the next generation to be media literate will require an investment of time and resources commensurate with the challenges. Groups such as the National Association for Media Literacy Education and Media Literacy Now are working hard to create resources for teachers, partnering with schools, and calling for new laws and regulations that will ensure that media literacy is part of every child’s education.

“We work at the local, state and national levels to support advocates and drive policy change that makes media literacy education a priority,” said Erin McNeill, founder and president of Media Literacy Now. “A solid foundation in media literacy skills is critical to the health and well-being of young people, and participation in the civic and economic life of our democracy.”

And they see success. In just the last two years, five states — including Utah, Delaware, and Illinois — passed languages ​​requiring their education departments to address media literacy. The membership list for the National Association for Media Literacy Education has doubled over the past five years.

Twenty years ago, journalist Linda Ellerbee wrote that “media literacy is not only important, it is very important. It will make the difference between whether children are tools of mass media or whether mass media are tools for children to use.”

Although doubtful Ms. Ellerbee envisioned our vast and confusing media ecosystem, his words still resonate today. In the fight against disinformation, media literacy is our best tool. It’s time to make it work, anywhere.

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