The Ghana Institute of Journalism in partnership with UNESCO held its second edition of the 8th Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week celebrations on October 30, 2018. In attendance were the Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Prof. Kwamena Kwansah Aidoo; Head of Communication Department of GIJ, Madam Ewurajoa Sangmuah Tabicca; Madam Shamima Muslim, Covener of Alliance for Women in Media Africa; Nana Achampong, Chairperson and Head of Ama Ata Aidoo Center for Creative Arts (AUCC); Mr. Dominic Hlordzi, Chief Editor at GBC; among other very important personalities and lecturers of the institution. After an address from the Rector and the Chairperson of the event, a panel discussion took place, moderated by Mr. Stephen Tindi, a lecturer at the institution, with Madam Ewurajoa Sangmuah- Tabicca, Shamima Muslim and Mr Dominic Hlordzi as the expert panelists. Here’s an highlight of the discussions:
How important is MIL?
It is significant for us as students and communicators because it is opens your eyes to great information out there. A country that is MIL illiterate is a county that produces fake news. “It is important in order for us not to misinform the public. MIL boils down to how empowered people are to identify and excercise their rights”, said Madam Ewurajoa Sangmuah-Tabicca. According to Shamima Muslim, young people are not being literate enough right from the word go. The media itself are not media and information literate judging by the way some of them operate.
What can we do to make media professionals literate?
Our professionals should trained churn out quality information. Research and verification of articles and news stories is key to effective distribution of information.
How do we build scholarly interest?
There are research personnel and facilities that publish great literature along the globe. GIJ has found the need to strengthen our research base. We mostly produce works on MIL and along the years, there will be enough professionals from the institution to work more effectively in that regard. This will help saturate the trend of circulation of fake news and keep audiences more properly informed.
What gaps exist?
We have made impact but there is competition gaps and government gaps. Because people want to stay relevant, they cut corners to do their work. Let’s identify who the changemakers are and applaud them for great work amidst the competition and government influence. It must be part of the curriculum that has to be taught. There is the need to be knowledgeable of the ethical rules.
“We often get away with sensationalism which is not the best practice”, emphasized Shamima Muslim. MIL is a human right since everyone needs the right to be educated on it. The empowerment comes from the power to express their grievances after being educated. Builds the confidence of the young people and disadvantaged groups.
Mr. Dominic Hlordzi mentioned that it is important for the vulnerable, women and children to be MIL empowered. For example, child online protection program teaches young people on how to react to online content and how to behave properly online.
Irrespective of the various levels in society, we can break down the information for people at these levels to understand and be informed. There are best ways we can engage different kinds of people using the media.