More than 300 participants from 71 countries attended the Feature Conference of the Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2018 that took place in Kaunas, Lithuania, on 24–25 October 2018. The Conference was co-organized by UNESCO, the Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania) and the University of Latvia. This year’s edition of the annual conference focused on the concept of MIL Cities, complementing and reinforcing the more widespread concept of “Smart Cities”.
Representatives from the host country and the host university, European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO were present at the Opening Session, including Mr Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information; Mr Patrick Penninckx, Head of Information Society Department, Council of Europe; Ms Anni Hellman, representative of the Deputy Director-General of European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. They stressed the role of MIL in countering disinformation, cyberbullying and online hate speech, empowering youth and stimulating civic participation. They also addressed the need for MIL as a way to help citizens engage with the current complex field of media and information. Keynote speaker professor Divina Frau-Meigs (Sorbonne Nouvelle University) highlighted the changing internet landscape and the importance of educators in the “MIL for change” process. The Conference programme included more than 50 presentations.
UNESCO IITE was presented by Tatiana Murovana, programme specialist of the Digital Pedagogy and Learning Materials Unit. Ms Murovana in her speech outlined that increasing automation of not only industries but digital communication tools and platforms, as well as growing trend of using artificially intelligent technology designed to communicate on behalf or even in place of people, posed new challenges to experts on MIL and specialists in media education. She emphasized the need to introduce into the MIL programmes a study of algorithms and big data in terms of their ability to determine and control the ways we behave on the Net and communicate with each other. In this regard, she claimed, special attention should be payed to the practical ability of individuals to raise critical and behavioral autonomy.
Global MIL Week 2018 was celebrated until 31 October. The event highlighted that smart, sustainable cities must also be media and information literate cities. MIL Cities put people at their heart, enabling them to make better use of the practical possibilities that a connected city can provide. In connection with this year’s visual concept of Global MIL Week – the map of the first virtual MIL City – UNESCO and partners created a 3D virtual tour of a model MIL city.
More information about the Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2018 is available at the UNESCO official website.