Press Releases

    UNIS/INF/271
    18 July 2008

    Re-issued as received

    Launch of Innovative Tool to Promote Media and Information Literacy

    VIENNA, 18 July (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has launched an online tool to foster active dialogue and debate among researchers, policymakers, students, and world citizens on media literacy.  Recent studies concluding that children and youth spend twice as much time immersed in electronic media (television, internet, video games, etc.) as they do receiving formal education at school raise several important questions: Who is educating our youth? Who is teaching them ethical and social values?  Who is supplying them with role models to emulate?

    Even when educational curricula discuss electronic media technologies, often they focus on teaching technical skills (i.e. how to use computers), but seldom consider the critical thinking skills necessary to digest the information overload our children and youth face daily.

    The Alliance recognizes that our burgeoning global information society requires citizens worldwide to develop new cognitive and critical thinking skills to gain a wider understanding of themselves and the communities in which they live. 

    To address this gap in education, the Alliance of Civilizations' officially launched the Media Literacy Education Clearinghouse ( www.aocmedialiteracy.org), an online tool to foster engagement and analysis among researchers and policymakers on such issues. The Alliance Media Literacy Education Clearinghouse also provides easy access to teaching resources for educators interested in implementing media literacy education in their classrooms.

    At its core, Media Literacy Education (MLE) aims to overcome complex cultural, political and religious differences by creating an inclusive environment that recognizes and counters media stereotypes and misinformation.

    Part portal, part wiki, part listserv, the Alliance MLE online clearinghouse is intended to develop a cross-cultural community of learners.  The site is a repository of international information relevant to media literacy education, media education policy and youth-produced media. 

    The Alliance MLE clearinghouse is accessible to all Internet users. Users can navigate the site in three languages (Arabic, English and Spanish) - the first such resource available to Internet users in Arabic.  Truly multi-lingual, the website also provides links to relevant information and resources in any language.  In addition, registered users can also upload and publish new content to the website, contributing in this way to the database expansion of the MLE clearinghouse.

    To further develop the MLE clearinghouse, the Alliance is creating a network of partner organizations around the world, including university departments and associations active in the field.  Partners are active participants in the development of new content as well as collaborating on the management of user-generated content. Already there are over twenty five international partner organizations directly involved in the expansion of www.aocmedialiteracy.org.

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    The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions and, in the process, to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism. It was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. In April 2007, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal, as High Representative for the Alliance. The AoC is supported by a Group of Friends - a community of over 89 countries and international organizations and bodies.

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    For more information, please contact:

    Jordi Torrent
    Project Manager, Media Literacy Education
    Alliance of Civilizations
    Telephone: (+1-917) 367-9918
    Email: torrent@un.org