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SEE Regional conference on Media and Information Literacy

Media and Information Literacy for the public good: harnessing its potential through formal and informal education, journalism, and online initiatives

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela Funded by the European Union SEE Regional conference on Media and Information Literacy To

Conference 21 October 2021, 10h – 16:00h (CET) Place: Online, ZOOM platform

To mark the Global MIL Week 2021, UNESCO is hosting South East Europe Regional Conference to gather relevant stakeholders in the region involved in Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and discuss how to work better together to harness the potential of MIL for the public good.

In the current information ecosystem of complex and sometimes contradictory messages circulating online, it is hard to conceive that the public good can be advanced if the public is unable to engage with information, respecting the rights of others and combatting expressions that cause harm. Capacity building is needed for each individual to understand the stakes - and for the public to contribute to and benefit from information and communication opportunities. Specific knowledge and skills are needed, and UNESCO aggregates these under the banner of MIL. The recent period has been a turning point in recognition of the urgency to promote MIL for all. As the world slowly begins to move towards a new post-COVID normal, the conference aims to ensure tangible advances in the role of MIL to uphold the vision of information as a public good.

South East Europe is a region with a challenging media environment where resilience against online harmful content needs to be further built. However, the awareness of MIL as a tool to empower societies is maturing in the region. Taking stock of the recent progress in the implementation of the UNESCO EU- funded project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2” and other initiatives to promote MIL in the region, the event will take stock of the current state of play of MIL in the region through a multi-stakeholder perspective, will put forward recommendations for deepening its integration.

The second phase of the project, “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”, was launched in November 2019 by UNESCO and the European Union, DG NEAR, to increase the resilience of media and citizens to online disinformation and ensure access to reliable information. To achieve this objective, the project aims to reinforce the MIL skills among citizens of the region while building the media's capacities to curb disinformation through new skills and increased commitment to professional journalistic standards. It is expected that those activities will contribute to renewing trust and understanding between media and citizens and thereby strengthen freedom of expression.

Speakers

  • Marina Tuneva, PhD

    Marina Tuneva, PhD, is an Executive Director of the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia as of January 2015. She also holds a position as an Associate Professor at the Institute for Communication Studies in Skopje. Marina Tuneva is author of several books and publications, among which “International actors, the conflict in Macedonia in 2001 and the peace journalism”, “Guidelines for inclusive reporting about the pandemic”, “Guidelines for safe and professional reporting on the coronavirus“, “Public relations and interculturalism”, “Media, citizens and intercultural Communication”, “Diversity reporting handbook”, “Introduction to public relations”, etc.

  • Bojan Cvejić

    Bojan Cvejić is the director of the company DanGraf which publishes the daily magazine and the free monthly City Magazine. He is also the editor-in-chief of the portal Danas (www.danas.rs). He started his career in 2007 in this newspaper, where he was previously a journalist in several sections - Belgrade, Društvo, Politika. During his career, he collaborated with the weekly NIN, City Magazine, Radnik.rs, was a correspondent for the Italian portal L’Indro and the Kosovo portal Kosovo 2.0. He was born on April 19, 1986 in Belgrade, where he completed his undergraduate and master's studies in journalism at the Faculty of Political Sciences. He completed several schools, trainings and courses in ethics in the media, investigative journalism, TV journalism, digital marketing, MOJO, business in the media. He has collaborated on projects with numerous organizations, such as UNICEF, NUNS, Belgrade Center for Security Policy, NALED, Friedrich Ebert Foundation. From 2014 to 2018, he was a member of the Executive Board of the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia, and from 2019 he was a member of the Complaints Commission of the Press Council. He is the winner of the "Laza Kostić" award given by the Association of Journalists of Serbia (2015) and the "Person of the Year" award given by the OSCE Mission to Serbia (2019).

  • Özgün Özçer

    Özgün Özçer is a journalist and administrator at the Istanbul-based Platform for Independent Journalism (P24). He manages the online climate journalism website Gezegen while contributing to cultural content creation. He has monitored media freedom cases and covered trials against journalists for Index on Censorship. His previous working experience includes several Turkish media outlets, including Taraf, Hurriyet Daily News and Birgün. He conducted media monitoring as part of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission during the re-run of parliamentary elections in November 2015. He has also worked at international organizations and NGOs, such as UNICEF Turkey and Amnesty Turkey, and two think tanks, Ifri (French Institute of International Relations) and TEPAV (The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey).

  • Ms. Biljana Petkovska

    Ms. Biljana Petkovska is director of Macedonian Institute for Media (mim.org.mk) - the first specialized media training institution in the Republic of North Macedonia, founded in 2001. She has 20 years of extensive experience in media development and not-for-profit management, and a track record of working with key media stakeholders, governmental and civil society organizations in the country and the region of South East Europe. She graduated journalism at the State University “St. Kiril and Metodij” in Skopje and has completed numerous trainings about various areas related to media development and public communication.

  • Dr. Jasna Jelisić

    Dr. Jasna Jelisić is Head of Western Balkans Task Force in the Strategic communication division of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels. She has been working for the EU since 2006 in the posts entailing deep knowledge of the region within its geopolitical setting and the EU, and has had a wide range of responsibilities. Dr Jelisić also lectures regularly on public and cultural diplomacy at graduate and postgraduate level and trains professional diplomats. She is known in diplomatic circles for her insistence on innovative and fresh approaches in pursuit of resourceful diplomacy. Before involving herself in diplomacy, Dr. Jelisić was a prominent, award-winning journalist. Educated at the University of Oxford, City University of New York, University of Belgrade and University of Sarajevo she has worked as a consultant for the European Commission and the World Bank, and as academic advisor and researcher for Freedom House and Princeton University.

  • Ms. Kristina Dimitrova

    Ms. Kristina Dimitrova – Young journalist writing articles as part of the SEE Youth Newsroom established by the Centre for Development of Youth Activism (CROA) under the UNESCO EU-funded project ‘Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2’. Also, a project writer and coordinator at Youth Council Next Generation – a youth organisation implementing domestic and international projects & initiatives covering different social issues affecting youth based on non-formal education.

  • Selena Tasic

    Selena Tasic is a Public Diplomacy Manager at the Regional Communication Programme for the Western Balkans - Young European Ambassadors. As an Advisor and Consultant in the field of Media and Communications, she has vast expertise in managing, leading, and coordinating media campaigns, devising communication plans and strategies and event management. She performed advisory work for the Government of Serbia and the Government of Montenegro in devising communication campaigns for specific projects related to different sectors of the EU integrations process. She has extensive experience working in the civil society and media fields in the Western Balkans. She has worked on numerous youth initiatives throughout her career. Selena holds BA in Journalism, MA in International Relations, and she is a Ph.D. candidate in International and European studies.

  • Hadžera Selimović

    Hadžera Selimović studies Political Science and International Relations at University SSST/ University of Buckingham in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since she was 12 years old, Hadžera volunteered and worked on projects related to youth activism in her country and abroad. Hadžera is a former volunteer coordinator with seven years of experience at festivals in Sarajevo including PitchWise Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Pravo Ljudski Film Festival, Aljazeera Balkans Film Festival, and Youth Film Festival. In 2019, Hadžera participated in Youth Leadership Program in Dayton, OH, USA organized by US Embassy in Sarajevo. Additionally, in 2019 she became a fellow of the BOLD Leaders network in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, in 2020, Hadžera won a grant from US Embassy to implement a civic engagement project. In 2020, she became a TED licensee and organized the first TEDxYouth conference in southeast Europe. In December 2020, Hadžera became a Young European Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In August 2021, Hadžera was youth delegate and leader of policymakers at the YOUNGA 2021 forum at the Peace and Justice department. In August 2021, Hadžera became an alumna of the Summer School for Refugee Rights and Migration organized by UNHCR. Moreover, in September 2021, Hadžera participated in the ocean activism and awareness-raising campaign organized by the European Union- EU Beach Cleanup Day in Durres, Albania. As of August 2021, Hadžera is a member of the Common Futures Conversations initiative developed by Chatham House.

  • Lea Auffarth

    Lea Auffarth is the Project Coordinator of the ‘Journalism Trust Initiative’ (JTI) at the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, RSF. She has been working on projects around transparency and media literacy, like RSF’s ‘Media Ownership Monitor’ and the ‘Digital Rights as Human Rights’ project by the Lebanese Samir Kassir Foundation. Lea is a trained journalist and has worked with the German public broadcaster WDR as well as regional press.

  • Ivana Jelaca

    Ivana Jelaca is Executive Director of Belgrade-based Media Diversity Institute Wester Balkans. She has been responsible for implementation of projects focused on media and information literacy, representation of social diversity and hate speech in the Western Balkan region. Ivana holds MA in Diversity and the Media from University of Westminster. Through the current regional projects Ivana is working with The Media Diversity Institute, a London-based sister organisation, to empower marginalized communities exercise their rights.

  • Erkan Saka

    Erkan Saka is an associate professor of media and journalism studies and the head of the Media Department, Istanbul Bilgi University. He is the author of Social Media and Politics in Turkey. A Journey through Citizen Journalism, Political Trolling, and Fake News (Lexington Books, 2019) and "Big data and gender-biased algorithms" In The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. New York: Wiley Blackwell

  • Anida Sokol

    Anida Sokol is a media researcher from Mediacentar Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is the author of research studies on hate narratives and propaganda models in the media, media trust, media financing, media consumption habits and media literacy of youth as well as IREX MSI and VIBE reports for Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is a trainer of solutions journalism and media literacy. She works as a lecturer at the International Burch University in Sarajevo and Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, where she teaches Politics and the Media and Political Communication. She holds a PhD in History of Europe, Faculty of Political Science, Sapienza University of Rome.

  • Astrit Dautaj

    Astrit Dautaj, born on 09.09.1959, in Tirana, Albania works at the Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education (ASCAP), as the Head of Curriculum Development Sector, in the Directorate for Curriculum and Teacher qualification Astrit graduated from University of Tirana, Faculty of Political and Juridical Science, Philosophy branch, in 1983 and from the Faculty of Law in 1999. He has a long professional career in the education sector: In the quality of the person responsible (for more than 25 years) for the curricula of Citizenship Education and Social studies in Pre-university education Astrit have been contributing in different ways to the education system in Albania. He has written different school textbooks for high school students and teaching materials for teachers of social studies, has coordinated different projects in the area of social studies, the project for setting new standard for citizenship education, the project for developing performance criteria for assessment of students in social studies and citizenship education etc. Astrit has been a member of all core groups for policy developing issues in the framework of curriculum reforms Astrit has been participated in international projects, in particular with the Council of Europe.

  • Tara Simović

    Tara Simović UNICEF Montenegro Volunteer- Young Reporter
    Tara joined in 2018 the first generation of UNICEF Montenegro volunteers – young reporters, key spokespersons of the media literacy campaign “Let’s Choose What We Watch” implemented by UNICEF Montenegro and Montenegro Agency for Electronic Media. Since then, she actively promotes the media literacy campaign among parents, children and her peers in order to improve the quality of media reporting on child rights issues and to raise the quality of media programs for young people in Montenegro. As peer educator, she empowers young people to gain the capacity to engage with quality information, use critical thinking in combating fake news and how to counter malign narratives online, disinformation and fight against violence against children. Apart from being UNICEF Montenegro volunteer – young reporter, she also gained experience working with other Non-Governmental Organizations in Montenegro, where she worked on initiatives of strengthening youth volunteerism and civic activism. Tara graduated with honours from the Hight School “Slobodan Skerovic” Podgorica and is freshmen at academic study program International Hospitality and Management, Vatel at University of Donja Gorica, Faculty for Culture and Tourism. She fluently speaks English and French.

  • Evis Kushi

    Evis Kushi is Minister of Education and Sports in the Republic of Albania since September 2020. Recently, she has been committed to developing the policies of the Albanian Government for the promotion of art and sports in the education system, in order to identify new talents and their further support. Mrs. Kushi graduated in 1997 in the field of administration – business (Marketing), at the Faculty of Economics, at the University of Tirana. In 2008, she received her Ph.D. in Economics and Tourism from Staffordshire University, England and Six years later, she received the academic title “Professor”. Mrs. Evis Kushi started her academic career in 1998 as a lecturer at the University “Aleksandër Xhuvani”, Elbasan, in the main subjects “Marketing Basics” and “Econometrics” (1998‐2012). Meanwhile, between 2010‐2012, she was Head of the Department “Economy and Law”, Faculty of Economics, “Aleksandër Xhuvani” University, and during 2012-2013, Mr. Kushi was dean of the Faculty of Economics.

  • Božena Jelušić

    Božena Jelušić is a literature and media literacy professor; she holds an MA in world literature and literary theory; she has published essays and books on literary theory, film, and the sociology of everyday life. She is awinner of the most prestigious award in the field of education in Montenegro (Oktoih) and a writer of high-school textbooks and handbooks. She initiated the introduction of media literacy into the Montenegrin education system back in 2007 and continued advocating for its integration until the present time. She is active in teacher and youth MIL training. She is currently a Member of Parliament and Chair of the Gender Equality Committee.

  • Emir Vajzović

    Emir Vajzović is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo. He graduated B.A. in Communications and B.A. in Criminal Justice, an M.A. in Human Rights and Democracy (University of Bologne and University of Sarajevo), and a Ph.D. in Political Sciences from the Faculty of Political Sciences Sarajevo. Vajzović is researching and teaching Media and Information Literacy; Political Communications; Democracy, Civil Society and Human Rights; Information Security. In research and academic work, he applies an interdisciplinary approach in understanding the complexities of the digital transformation of society, education, media, politics, human rights, security. He is Head of the Institute for Social Sciences Research of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo.

  • Amina Abdulahović

    Amina Abdulahović, Expert Associate Advisor and Librarian
    She is a graduated comparativist and librarian with twenty-six years of work experience in the High School of Applied Arts school library Sarajevo. She is a member of the Association of Information Experts - Librarians, Archivists, and Museologists of BAM and the Association of Librarians of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has been a participant and lecturer at seminars, workshops, and conferences in librarianship and drama education. She is a winner of the annual award of the "Kemal Bakaršić" Foundation for her contribution to library activities through work in practice for 2019 and the literary award "Šukrija Pandžo" for 2021.

  • Mr Borislav Vukojević

    Mr Borislav Vukojević is national consultant and media and information literacy expert in UNESCO Sarajevo Office and Senior teaching assistant at Faculty of political science University of Banja Luka. He is included in MIL issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 10 years, with special interests in how Digital technoligies are shaping education process. In UNESCO, he is included in the project „Building trust in media in SEE and Turkey“ an a project Officer.

  • Lea Čengić

    Lea Čengić is a media and information literacy specialist. She holds a master’s degree in communication sciences. Lea has been working at the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Hercegovina for 12 years, currently as Head of Content and Media Literacy. Her specialties are media and information literacy, children and media, media education and policy, EU regulatory framework for audiovisual media services and regulation of new media services. She is an active researcher and trainer/lecturer in the field of media and information literacy and media policy.

Agenda Schedule

Opening session
10:30 – 10:45

This panel will spotlight high-level figures that will kick-start the discussion with their key note speeches.

  • Sinisa Sesum, Head of UNESCO Office in Sarajevo of Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe
Strategies and Policies Panel
10:45 – 11:30
MIL state of play in SEE: enabling sustained integration through formal education and institutional framework

The recent period has been a turning point in recognition of the urgency to promote MIL for all. Authorities from the region have reacted, committing to mainstream MIL in national strategy documents and increase MIL integration in formal education. Robust critical skills for the digital age are becoming vital for living and working in today’s changing information space. Tackling this need from a young age through formal education and institutional framework will be at the heart of this panel discussion, with the guiding questions:

Has the Covid-19 pandemic been an accelerator for promoting MIL in formal education, or was MIL already a priority?

What are the skills most needed to navigate the current online information ecosystem? What are now the concrete challenges to ensure the integration of MIL in formal education, in particular when it comes to curricula development and teacher training programmes?

How to build long-term and sustainable MIL programs?

Are MIL policies adequately resourced in terms of knowledge development and sharing, as well as programs for implementation?

PANELISTS:

  • Ms. Naida Hota-Muminović - Minister of Education of Sarajevo Canton
  • Ms. Evis Kushi - Minister of Education and Sports of Albania
  • Mr. Emir Vajzović - Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo
Launching the SEE MIL platform!
11:30 - 11:45

The 15-mins-long sessions will present the SEE MIL platform and various initiatives in MIL in the region.

Platform link: https://bit.ly/3k7jC5t

PANELISTS:

  • Mr. Borislav Vukojević - national consultant and media and information literacy expert in UNESCO Sarajevo Office
  • Ms. Lea Čengić - media and information literacy specialist
First Panel
11:45 – 13:00
MIL on the ground: Implementing approaches, strategies and action plans

As policymakers increasingly recognize MIL as a priority to ensure public good, the SEE region is witnessing a multiplication of projects and initiatives to ensure that this translates into reality. Taking stock of those projects and initiatives, the panel session will give the voice to some project beneficiaries or stakeholders.

What are the different approaches to ensure the integration of MIL within formal education? What are the main challenges for ensuring that most pupils of the region are getting MIL skills? How to measure the effectiveness of MIL projects in formal, informal and non-formal education?

PANELISTS:

  • Biljana Petkovska - Director, Macedonian Institute for Media
  • Astrit Dautaj - Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-University Education (ASCAP)
  • Anida Sokol - Researcher, Mediacentar Sarajevo
  • Božena Jelušić - Literature and Media Literacy professor in Montenegro
  • Amina Abdulahović - Expert Associate Advisor and Librarian
Second Panel
14:00 – 15:00
MILYouth in action to address online harmful content

As online platforms became dominant information source in particular for youth, their critical thinking and engagement are more important than ever to engage with information while respecting the rights of other and to counter online disinformation and hate speech. The panel will explore how to empower youth in SEE through MIL and thereby increase their capacity to engage with quality information, counter malign narratives online, and act as educators of their peers. Guiding questions of this panel are:

How digital world impacts young users, consumers, and producers online?
What are the motivations behind young people's participation in the digital economy? How to trigger and maintain youth’s attention on quality content?

PANELISTS:

  • Kristina Dimitrova - Project Coordinator at Youth Council Next Generation, and SEE Youth Newsroom member
  • Selena Tasic - Young European Ambassadors Project Team Leader, WeBalkans
  • Ivana Jelaca - Western Balkans Director, Media Diversity Institute
  • Hadzera Selimovic - Young European Ambassador
  • Tara Simovic - Young reporter, UNICEF Montenegro
Third Panel
15:00 – 16:00
The role of MIL in empowering journalism online

The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the critical role of journalism in providing acccess to reliable information and in empowering citizens in debunking false information. The multiplication of fact-checkers within or outside media outlets is the result of that need for quality insurance. This has proven how significant journalism and media professionals can be in providing citizens with MIL skills and tools to navigate the online information ecosystem. The panel will explore the tools developed by media to help citizens access reliable information.

What have we learned from the Covid-19 pandemic in that respect?
What are the most efficient tools developed by media professionals in the region to help readers distinguish credible information?
How can journalism stand against disinformation overwhelming social media?

PANELISTS:

  • Marina Tuneva - Executive Director, Council for MediaEthics in North Macedonia
  • Bojan Cvejic - Editor-in-Chief, Portal Danas
  • Ozgün Ozcer - Project Coordinator, P24
  • Lea Auffarth - Project Coodinator, JTI, RSF
  • Jasna Jelisic - Head of the Western Balkans Task Force,European External Action Service
  • Erkan Saka - Associate Professor, Bilgi University

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