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UNESCO and Premium Times Centre train Gambian youth leaders on Media and Information Literacy (MIL)



UNESCO and Premium Times Centre train Gambian youth leaders on Media and Information Literacy (MIL)

I am really proud that we have very dynamic young people who are thinking about peace and have seen that authentic and truthful information is a vehicle for building peace.

ROME, Italy, December 4, 2021 / APO Group / –

A total of 40 youth leaders from national and regional youth associations in The Gambia completed a three-day training on media and information literacy on Wednesday, December 1, as part of broader efforts to address hate speech and fake news in the country. .

It was organized by UNESCO and delivered by the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

The training focused on topics such as: understanding media and information literacy and its relevance to democracy and good governance; functions of the media and other information providers; understand the ethics of news, media and information, and the relationship between journalism and society.

Verification and verification of facts; how to analyze the medium and the message; examine sponsored and unsponsored media messages and their goals; and the nature and characteristics of traditional and new media were also key components of the capacity development workshop.

Tobi Oluwatola, acting CEO of Premium Times Center, noted that the training was designed to address the needs of allowing media users to access and use information wisely.

At the end of the three days, one of the youth leaders, Joe Bongay, a member of Young Volunteers for the Environment, pointed out that many youth organizations did not pay attention to the problems of media and information literacy due to a lack of knowledge about their importance.

“Now I realized that media and information literacy is very important and this training could not have come at a better time than now, when The Gambia will go to the polls for the presidential elections in a few days. We all know that in general , the entire Gambia is on Facebook and everyone is a journalist who spreads all kinds of information. But this training has helped us to know how to evaluate and scrutinize the information we consume and to be able to report fake news. The spread of fake news generates violence, We’ve seen examples of that in other countries. ” Joe Bongay, member of Young Volunteers for the Environment.

For Omar Bah, a member of the National Youth Council, one thing that stood out from the training is the importance of data verification.

“As the presidential election approaches, people are selling all kinds of information to misinform the public. And as a youth activist, if you are naive, you could spread that information even more without knowing it. Therefore, verification and verification of facts is key and important to young people and advocates. ” Omar Bah, member of the National Youth Council

Mansey Jabang of Youth Empowerment Africa said he now has a better understanding of the role of the media and journalists in society.

The training made her change a vow she made to herself.

“I promised myself that I would never speak to any journalist or give them information, but now I have changed my position because I better understand the role of the media and how journalists collect news. I know that journalists rely on the information we give them, so if we don’t want to talk to them, there will be no news. So the question we should all ask ourselves now is ‘what can we do to give journalists the information they need?’ He said.

Like Mansey, Omar Saibou Camara from the Fact Check Center also learned about the media and how it affects public space.

“In general, I have learned about the media and society and how society affects the media, as well as how the media affects society. I also learned about how the media can be used as a tool to improve democracy, access to information, ”he said.

Mbye Mballow from Peace Ambassadors The Gambia promised to work with his team to ensure that MIL issues are integrated into the organization’s communication strategy and outreach programs.

Lead Trainer Caroline Anipah, Program Officer for the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), said the information and media ecosystem continues to evolve and, as such, media users must also evolve to meet the many new challenges.

Ms. Anipah stated that the three-day training was engaging and the participants were receptive.

“I hope that the learning does not end with the conclusion of the training and that the participants look for more information about MIL,” he said. “I hope that with elections on the horizon they will be able to ethically access, evaluate and interact with media content so that they are not found to be contributing to the threat of ‘fake news’.” Caroline Anipah, Program Director, Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism.

Ndumbeh Saho, Director of the Coordination Unit of the Department of Strategic Policy and Execution of the Office of the President, praised the young people for their enthusiasm for media and information literacy as an instrument for peace.

“I am really proud that we have very dynamic young people who are thinking about peace and have seen that authentic and accurate information is a vehicle for building peace,” she said.

The three-day training was organized within the framework of the UNESCO component of the Peacebuilding Fund project entitled ‘Young women and men as stakeholders in ensuring peaceful democratic processes and advocates of violence prevention and discourse of hate’.

The two-year project is being implemented by a consortium of UNESCO, UNDP and UNFPA in partnership with local implementing partners. It seeks to address institutional barriers for youth, strengthen youth capacity for engagement and participation in governance and leadership, and address hate speech and counter youth false news and misinformation through the media. communication and local community structures.

Media and information literacy training was expected to adequately equip young people with an acceptable degree of skills to evaluate, understand and critique media content in order to know what is false from the real thing and to be able to differentiate between paid media propaganda and the content of the news.

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