Building a Media Literate Audience

Effective Public Service Broadcasting requires a media literate audience. This means that media citizens must develop the ability to effectively and efficiently comprehend and utilise mass media content. 1

Media organisations and schools can assist the individual to become media literate; but the individual must recognise his/her importance and build on his or her capability as a media literate person.' A media literate person is equipped to participate effectively in shaping a broadcasting model that produces good public service programmes that enrich, entertain and empower to serve the public interest.

The formation of citizens' media groups can help build media literacy. They are vital to the existence and development of free and robust media organisations and functioning of a healthy democracy.

Those who manage Public Service Broadcasting should bear in mind the fundamental principles of media literacy.3
1. An awareness of the impact of media
2. An understanding of the process of mass communication
3. Strategies for analysing and discussing media messages
4. An understanding of media content
5. The ability to enjoy, understand and appreciate media content.
6. An understanding of the ethical and moral obligations of media practitioners
7. Development of appropriate and effective production skills.

To build a media literate audience, public service broadcasters should advocate and actively support the cause of media education and literacy activities.They should:

1. collaborate with citizens' media groups to promote constructive and meaningful dialogue between PSB and the citizens. The terms of such dialogue will differ from country to country.

2. forge strategic collaboration with relevant stakeholders to develop and enhance media literacy. 4

3. advocate for the mandatory inclusion of media literacy and Public Service Broadcasting topics into the educational curriculum.

4. support media literacy activities including media literacy broadcast programmes for all types of audiences, especially children and disadvantaged groups.

5. promote media education for the youth. PSBs should support, for instance, 5

  • research platform for policy-makers, agenda setters, other researchers and the larger public,
  • training of teachers and other practitioners, NGO trainers and student teachers,
  • media partnerships with schools, NGOs, other private and public institutions,
  • networking with practitioners,
  • and consolidation and promotion of the public sphere for all actors of civil society, parents, teachers, NGOs, youth groups, consumers, viewer and listener associations.

REFERENCES

1 Baron S., (2004) Introduction to Mass Communication. New York, Mc Graw Hill Co., Inc.

2,3 Explicating the Construct of Media Literacy, (2004) Notes by assist professor Dr. Veronica Isla, School of Communication, University of Asia & Pacific as sourced from Potter, W.J Theory of Media Literacy:A Cognitive Approach: Sage Publications.

4 Asia Media Summit 2006, Report on the Seminar on Public Interest & Broadcasting Development: Regulation, Co-Regulation & Self Regulation, Kuala Lumpur,AIBD, 28 May.

5Jose Maria G. Carlos & Maria Celeste H. Cadiz (eds), (2003) Centers of Youth Media Education in ASEAN, Philippine Perspective, AMIC, Singapore, & University of Asia & the Pacific, Philippines.