Published On: Mon, Jul 17th, 2017

UNESCO moves to curtail Internet excesses through media literacy

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By Ochiaka Ugwu

There is need to engage the populace through media and information to curtail internet excesses which has made led money to use it for the wrong reasons, UNESCO has said.
This was contained in a statement released yesterday by UNESCO’s National Professional Officer (Communication and Information) Mr. Olushola Macaulay in Abuja at the weekend and made available to Peoples Daily.
According to the statement, “Over the past years, the number of reported attacks perpetrated by violent extremist groups have risen.
Young people are, however, most at risk. They are the main targets of recruitment through the internet and fall victim to extremist violence.
“In the same vein, the violent and destructive conflicts in the society today are the results of hate speech or unfounded news that has no root or foundation. The stakes are high; fake news, hate speech and violent extremism are affront that need to be checked. This phenomenon alerts us to the steps of losing a generation of youth to despair and disengagement.
“UNESCO is drawing on all of its strengths, to deepen cooperation through education, the sciences, culture and communication, supporting Member States, civil society actors, academia and private sectors in order to prevent and reduce all the mayhems that are createdvia the internet.
“In order to support its member States to face violent extremisms and hate speech, UNESCO has initiated Media and Information Literacy curriculum that lay emphasis on sensitization and capacity building of internet users, for more critical analysis of the information they are exposed to, and that can engender violence.
“Empowerment of the society through Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is an important prerequisite for fostering equitable access to information and knowledge and promoting free, independent and pluralistic media and information systems, to checkmate the excesses created by the use of social media.
It noted that UNESCO is organizing A-2 day Training the Trainers workshop from 18-19 July 2017 in Abuja with a particular focus on teachers and other social media users to sensitize them on the importance of MIL in the social context which will enable them to integrate the curriculum into their day-to-day activities and provide them with appropriate pedagogical methods, curricula and resources.
It also stated that over 60 participants are expected to benefit from the training, raging from the Federal Ministry of Education, National Universities Commission, National Colleges of Education, National Film and Video Censors Board, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, Media, Schools and other relevant Agencies.

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