Media analysts are calling for the implementation of media literacy programs in schools in order to promote media awareness and development of internet literacy among youths.
They argue that the information, that children consume on social media, is a key determinant of their perceptions and attitudes, a reason they should be able to critically asses content that they receive both in print, broadcast and through digital platforms.
The call comes ahead of the Media and Information Literacy Conference to be held ay Protea Hotel in Kampala this Thursday. The conference, the first of its kind in East Africa, is bringing together more than 150 delegates from Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Germany and the Netherlands to deliberate on best ways to construct and deconstruct media.
Mirjam Gehrke, the DW Akademie Media Development Officer for Africa told journalists in Kampala that the goal is to ensure that citizens and media consumers across the region can distinguish between false and real news, separate fact from opinion and evaluate bias in the media.
Bruce Vitalis Ziraba, the Executive Director of the Centre for Media Literacy and Community Development-CEMCOD observes a need to train youths on how best to use social media in the run-up to the 2021 general elections.
He says knowledge and skills on media literacy would help Ugandans to determine whether the information they are consuming is credible and resist any attempts to dissuade them into actions or decisions that could be detrimental to their lives.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will also use the gathering to develop the first Media Information Literacy curriculum that will be used to train teachers on how to enhance media literacy in schools, with an intention of stimulating media and information literate societies through a comprehensive strategy that includes concrete actions and activities.
Ziraba says that the development of the UNESCO Media Literacy Curriculum will enable learners in schools to distinguish between fake and real advertising.