Civil society activists eager to advance media and information literacy (MIL) in five countries of the Western Balkans have been learning about MIL so as to be able to promote it and disseminate the knowledge to their target groups.
The workshops for CSOs are part of the EU-funded project ’Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media’ (2018-2021), which aims to build the capacities of CSOs with a wide range of activities to advance media and information literacy in the Western Balkans. A group of seven SEENPM members, led by Mediacentar Sarajevo, implement the project in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
So far 13 workshops with more than 160 trainees from CSOs were held throughout the five countries in late 2018 and during 2019. The individual workshops were adapted to contextual needs and interests of individual CSOs. Additional 12 workshops will be held in 2020.
The CSOs involved in the training program include those that received small grants for 40 projects advancing MIL within ’Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media’ project (see lists of awarded projects in the 1st and 2nd round of small grants’ awards).
Although the training curriculum varied among the countries, some of the common issues covered were: how the media operate (types of media, the role of the media and information in the democratic processes, news selection process, public interest mission of the media and the audience trust in the media), disinformation and propaganda (with the focus on how to recognize it and information verification tools and techniques), digital literacy, including digital security (in particular, protecting youth on social media), visual literacy.
Media literacy specialist, Mihajlo Lahtov, one of the trainers in this program in North Macedonia, said:
The trainers were encouraged to use Trainers’ Manual for Media and Information Literacy, one of the publications produced within Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media project, available in the Western Balkans national languages and English, primarily created to help education and other professionals from the region prepare their first MIL training courses.
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The regional program “Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media: Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs for the Development of Media and Information Literacy in the Western Balkans” is implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations Mediacentar Sarajevo, Albanian Media Institute,Macedonian Institute for Media, Montenegrin Media Institute, Novi Sad School of Journalism, Peace Institute, SEENPM.