UNICEF volunteers - young reporters take over the EU Delegation to Montenegro
Media literacy is crucial for combating fake news
PODGORICA, 15 NOVEMBER 2019 – Media literacy is crucial for combating fake news, disinformation and violence against children, but it is also essential for acquiring basic 21st-century life skills.
This is the main message sent by the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, during his interview with UNICEF volunteers – young reporters from the "Let's Choose What We Watch" media literacy campaign, who took over the EU Delegation to Montenegro on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
A free media is the foundation of every society, and participation by children and young people in the media is of the utmost importance. I regularly watch the WADADA News for Kids that you – UNICEF's young reporters – create, and I find this initiative very useful. I hope it will inspire other media outlets to involve more young people in creating their programmes.
The young reporters also said that the development of digital technology itself was important for the education system.
We believe that digital technologies should be used more frequently in our classrooms because interactive learning with digital media makes school more interesting, as it facilitates knowledge acquisition, and encourages creativity and critical thinking.
Orav agreed with him and shared his experiences from the classroom.
"I was a chemistry teacher 30 years ago, and even then, I was trying to make classes that would be more interactive. Today, it is even easier with digital media. The European Union strongly supports digital pedagogy and the development of digital skills through education," Orav added.
Fake news – one of the major concerns of our society in the digital age, was also one of the topics of conversation. The Young Reporters asked Orav for his advice on combating this phenomenon.
My best advice would be to strengthen a professional and independent media, empower journalists and promote digital and media literacy. A healthy, responsible and successful media community and educated citizens play the most important role in combating fake news and destructive, disinformation campaigns.
UNICEF volunteer - young reporter Tara Simović pointed out that online abuse is one of the emerging problems that children and young people face in the digital age.
In 2016, UNICEF supported a Global Kids Online survey which included children aged 9–17 years, which showed that, compared to the European average, children in Montenegro are more likely to be abused online. Thirty-nine percent of children in Montenegro, compared to 17% of children in the EU, feel a high risk of being bullied online.
Orav said there was no doubt that in today's environment children had to possess the skills and tools to use the internet in a safe and responsible manner, and that the EU itself is paying close attention to this topic.
The EU adopted the Better Internet Strategy for Children in 2012, but all those strategies must be implemented. Education is key here, too. Also, the EU has supported the establishment of Safer Internet Centres in EU member states, and here in Montenegro we have a Better Internet for Children portal.
The European Union in Montenegro will respond to the young reporters’ takeover on 12 December, when a group of young European ambassadors will "take over" UNICEF and interview Mr Khogali in the presence of Ambassador Orav on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Three decades after its adoption, the rights of the child have not changed. However, children are growing up facing new challenges, such as those brought by the digital era, which is why the Young Reporters are celebrating this anniversary with public discussions on digital and media literacy.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1989. The Convention states that childhood is distinct from adulthood and that it lasts until the child's 18th birthday. This period of life represents a unique, protected time in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and mature. Since its adoption, the Convention has become the most ratified international human rights treaty in history, helping to positively transform the lives of children around the world.