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Government publishes online media literacy strategy to combat online disinformation – media, telecommunications, IT, entertainment



Government publishes online media literacy strategy to combat online disinformation

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The government released the new strategy as part of its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation. The idea is to give people the ability to think critically about what they see and read online and to help children navigate the internet safely.

The government says that according to Ofcom, 40% of adult Internet users do not have the skills to critically evaluate online content. Children up to the age of 15 are particularly at risk. Studies by the National Literacy Trust have found that only 2% of children have the critical thinking skills to distinguish fact from fiction online.

During the pandemic, misinformation and disinformation increased on social media and other online platforms, and the promotion of fake COVID-19 treatments and falsehoods about 5G resulted in vandalism on telephone poles in multiple locations.

The strategy includes a £ 340,000 action plan to be spent in the first year (2021/22) with a focus on Internet users at risk. This is the opening schedule with progress updates released annually.

A new “Train the Trainer” program will provide state training for disabled child carers and teachers. You will learn to teach others how the online environment works, including creating and paying for online news articles and social media posts and how to critically analyze the content they have consumed.

The action plan also announces funding for the National Youth Agency to develop a media literacy module that enables youth workers to take early action to prevent online harm.

The strategy also provides a training program for frontline library staff who interact with members of the public on a daily basis to teach them information literacy.

The strategy will also explore working with social media influencers to develop key online media skills and critical thinking, and raise awareness of groups that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

An online media literacy task force will be created, composed of technology platforms, civil society and academia, bringing together key stakeholders to take joint action to remove the barriers to improving people’s media literacy. An online portal will also provide users with a “one-stop shop” to access media literacy and online safety resources, and equip them with key skills and knowledge to identify disinformation and make safe decisions online. To read the government press release in full and for a link to the new strategy, click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.

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