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IGNOU organizes workshop on Media and Information Literacy

07 September, 2018

School of Journalism and New Media Studies (SOJNMS), IGNOU has organized the National Research Workshop on Exploring the Interplay between Media & Information Literacy and Sustainable Development Goals, the 9 day long workshop that started on 4th September would see deliberation around the topic by researchers, experts and academicians in the field of media and information literacy. The workshop would also cover the research methodologies for the participants to reach at quantitatively and qualitatively rich findings.

Dr. K S Arul Selvan of SOJNMS, Workshop Coordinator in his introductory remark set the tone of the workshop by defining MIL. Explaining Media and Information Literacy (MIL), he said that it is the ability to access, analyze, and create media, is a prerequisite for citizens to realize their rights to freedom of information and expression. He also welcomed the other members at the dais at the formal inauguration of the national workshop.

Director, SOJNMS Prof. Shambhu Nath Singh welcoming the guests touched upon the relevance of the topic in the context of today’s scenario where distinguishing between information and disinformation has become very critical. There he said one needs to be aware to differentiate between fake and authentic news and this workshop would delve upon the various facets of media including content, dissemination and consumption.

Prof. Jagtar Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala was the Guest of Honour and he brought upon the importance of media & information literacy for sustainable development goals. He emphasized on the MIL role in empowering the citizens to make informed decisions. He sought collaboration to build capacity between IGNOU and Punjabi University under the aegis of UNESCO in order to empower and advance media and information literacy and intercultural dialogue, and to promote freedom of speech, freedom of information and the free flow of ideas and knowledge. He also urged IGNOU to have a joint programme for the 45 thousand academic counsellors to be trained in Media & Information Literacy as they can be the conduit to reach 3 million learners of IGNOU.

Prof. Jagtar Singh also highlighted UNESCO’s role in furthering media and information literacy (MIL). “UNESCO holds that MIL is essential to empower citizenries all around the world to have full benefits of the fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as enable sound social discourse. It also enables citizens to be aware of their responsibilities in the context of the freedoms. These include the responsibility to demand quality media and information services and to use information and technology ethically” he said.

Prof. Nageshwar Rao in his inaugural address stressed the role of different media especially social media in today’s time where mobile has enabled media’s reach to everyone with simple tap or a touch. He also dispelled the fear that misinformation or disinformation would pose a problem as he said that consumer of information is smart enough to separate wheat from chaff in the age of information deluge.

Prof J S Yadav, former Director, IIMC, in his address stressed the need for the holistic approach to doing academic works in Sustainable Development Goals. He highlighted that the SOJNMS can take the projects in line with the areas which are undertaken globally. Training the IGNOU counsellors would be timely, but needs a careful and detailed planning in order to achieve the targets.

Ms Udita Chaturvedi from Digital Empowerment Foundation cited examples where digital literacy has led to Media and Information Literacy among the users. She reiterated the fact that customizing the digital literacy program of DEF as per Indian needs immensely helped and enhanced the outcome.