Understanding Media Literacy in an Ever Developing World.

On a base level, media literacy seems like one of those concepts that a school would try to teach its students because it sounds catchy and has a certain appeal to it, something only to appease the board of directors. In application, media literacy could be one of the most powerful tools with which a populace can monitor its government and happenings around the state.

CCTV Headquarters. Source from Wikimedia under creative commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCTV_Headquarters#/media/File:Beijingskyscraperpic5_crop_rotate_lighten.jpg by user: Cmglee)

For example, China is notorious for its tight control over the internet and media within its borders. From skimping on details to not allowing various subjects to be discussed online, China tries its hardest to keep a grasp on what is said and read. This is broadly promoted by China’s state-run media service. This agency is responsible for providing all sorts of news to the millions. The news it runs is noted as being biased and not telling the full story. Media literacy in China could allow the populace to see when there is censorship due to the populace’s ability to see beyond the words spoken and images shown. State-controlled media is effectively propaganda but only can hold so much weight to an individual who utilizes media outside of the grasp of the state. This media literacy of the digital age, including crowdsourced media, like Twitter, could prove to be a substantial threat to all forms of state- run reporting.

Kony 2012 poster (fair use taken from http://www.kony2012.com/get_the_kit.html)

Media literacy becomes extremely important when it comes to things like viral videos and the understanding of the messages behind it. One of the most famous examples of media literacy leading to deeper analysis of an idea, came from the “Kony 2012” video from invisible children. I saw many of my friends change their Facebook profile pictures and share the video from YouTube. All seemed well at invisible children as millions of dollars poured in, however some media literate citizens found some key facts about the organization. These facts, deluged from their ability to see past intended messages and analyze key components, helped people reconsider their donations and support for an organization that was not as many clean as many thought it was. Overall, media literacy can change how people interact with their governments and how various campaigns seemingly for social justice are viewed.

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