Media literacy

Listicle: 5 Ways To Cultivate Media Literacy

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This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 14, 2021 – June 20, 2021.

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Many of us have experienced the panic that comes from seeing our friends or family share a video or a link that seems a little suspicious to us on WhatsApp. Yet how do you tell them that the news can be fake or out of context without arousing their anger?

We live in an age of information overload. But not all of this information is accurate, leading to the proliferation of fake news. It takes a lot of effort to check every news item. If you want to go further, you have to check the source of the information and the method by which the facts are obtained.

What is even more terrifying is the militarization of “fake news” by authoritarian governments, which can claim that anything that remotely criticizes those in power is false.

Here are some tips for cultivating media literacy in today’s world:

1 Determine the source of the news

Is the article from a credible news agency? How did he find the information? Who owns the press agency? What kind of prejudices might the owner have? What is the agency’s record? Bloggers and YouTubers generally provide personal opinions instead of reporting facts; some government media around the world are prone to censorship and repeating official views. This image is a guide to media bias in the United States created by Ad Fontes Media.

2 Use fact-checking websites

This is more commonly available in countries such as the United States, where snopes.com, factcheck.org, and politifact.com are dedicated to debunking disinformation. In Malaysia, two sources available are Free Malaysia Today and the Faqcheck Lab.

3 Media education for all (ME4A)

This initiative was implemented by Arus Academy and The Fourth. It aims to promote media education among young people by training teachers. According to his schedule, he is currently developing courses for the teacher training platform.

4 Check and double-check before sharing

Sometimes we are tempted to immediately share a link to an article or video that arouses our emotions. But our feelings could be manipulated by the catchy title, a compelling narrative, or a heart-wrenching video clip that could actually be taken out of context. So before you share, give yourself a minute to calm down and check the facts. Check where the information comes from.

5 Google

Google and see if anyone else is reporting on the topic and how the stories or opinions differ. Find out what people are saying on the topic and try to understand the news in the right context. Nothing is as easy as it sounds.

Explanations from reputable news organizations (image from Reuters) can be helpful in helping readers understand the timeline and context of an issue.

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