October 25 to November 1 marked the Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week celebration under the auspices of UNESCO. The celebration was a way to empower people from all walks of life on the need to gather, analyze, and evaluate information. The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), on November 1st, organised a seminar on the theme, “Closing the Media and Information Literacy Gap in Ghana: The role of educational institutions, media. organizations and policy makers”, as a climax of the one week event, after organising a campus radio show.
Present at the event were distinguisehed personalities like Hon. Kojo Yankah, Founder of African University College of Communication (AUCC); and Dr. Wilberforce Dzisah, Rector of GIJ; Mr. Abdul Hamid Yakub, Representative from UNESCO; and other astute lecturers and professionals.
In his speech on Media and Information Literacy, Dr. Modestus Fosu stated that enlightenment will helps us know how to access and utilize information and that there was the need to integrate media and information literacy in school’s curriculum. He also added that terrorism is one danger that we face in the MIL age is terrrorism. To him, we should not wait for people to die before we find solutions but we must seek ways of preventing such issues as terrorism. For instance, we need to be informed about tell-tale signs which can help prevent such problems.
The essence of bridging the gap, according all three speakers for the day, is for there to be a synergy between educational institutions, media organizations and policy makers. They raised the key point about going back to the systems that made us united as a people of common values. According to Hon. Kojo Yankah, “Those who do not create impact in society are those who create the gap”.
He further said that commercialisation, politicization, sensationalization, lack of concentration on local folks, and disregard for cultural heritage, all create the gaps that we see today. In studying the media and society, there is the need to look at researching and findingthe historical background of the subject matter. This will enable us to fill the gaps very well.
At the core of the conversation was the call for the media advocacy and community involvement in discussions through radio and newspapers. There is the need for incluson and critical thinking in the quest to bridge the gap in the media and information literacy landscape. Attendees were given the commission of being positive media and information literacy advocates by continuing the discussions outside of the seminar hall. There is always going to be a gap but collectively, we can help solve it by being ambassadors of MIL both locally and globally.