Name: Atanda Ayobami Israel
Institution: University of Ibadan
Phone Number: 08128403205
Email: [email protected]
Topic: How Can Media and Information Literacy Foster Innovative Cities Development in Nigeria?
In August 2014, when the whole world was battling with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), a message went viral on social media. The content of the message advised Nigerians to bath with water mixed with salt and eat kola nuts excessively. In the wake of the misinformation, The Vanguard reported on August 8, 2014, that, at least, 2 people were dead and 20 others were hospitalised after following the unprofessional medical advice from an unknown and unverified source.
The circulation of the bogus information really left much to be desired. It shows that Nigeria, despite having about 62.02% of literacy rate, in 2018, still has a lot of people who are vulnerable to uninformed information. It was shocking to come to the knowledge that many literates in the country were the purveyors of the unverified information that had a malign implication on people’s health. Without doubt, this buttresses the suggestion of Renee Hobbs, “Few people verify the information they find online ― both adults and children tend to uncritically trust information they find, from whatever source.”
Media And Information Literacy
The Information Age came in the mid-20th century. It was a great paradigm shift from the industrial revolution to the epochal dispensation of Information Technology (IT). Simply put, the advent of computers, internet, technology, and artificial intelligence characterise the information age. It is the current era of human civilization that people have access to unlimited information via the new media: usage of computers and internet.
In order to dissect every information either from the new media or traditional media — radio, television, newspaper and magazine, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) introduced the Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in 2007.
MIL revolves around accessing, analysing, creating, interpreting and evaluating media contents in their variations. It centres on the unique ability and attitude of the information decoder through any channel of communication to understand and decipher the veracity of any information. MIL encompasses media literacy, information literacy and digital literacy.
The concept of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) stems from the disadvantages that come with the invention of the information age. The influx of information on the internet, which can come through; television, blog posts, photographs, podcasts, content creation, social media, newspapers, radios, video games magazine, news websites, and others, by every Tom, Dick and Harry is numberless. Many of the contents are saturated with mediocre ideas that lack erudition. Some are misleading and some are set to ignite hatred or immorality in the affairs of men.
Ipso facto, media and information literacy is germane so that the audience will be able to access information, assess the veracity of the information, the writer’s relevance as well as credibility in the subject of discourse and know the purpose of the creative work. Knowing what to access as well as how to interpret it is a good media and information literacy skill.
The Ways Media and Information Literacy Can Foster Innovative Cities Development in Nigeria
- Global Framework for Media and Information Literacy Cities (MIL Cities)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the aegis of United Nations Organization (UNO) champions the advocacy for the media and information learning. The organisation introduced Media and Information Literate Cities (MIL Cities) in 2018. It has partnered with a lot of partners. However, the vision of the body concerning media and information literacy is far from the expectation of the purpose in which it was conceived.
The MIL Cities is an education system that covers the existence of men. It seeks the advancement of media and information literacy in children and youths and the proficiency of the media industry. To add a verisimilitude, it enshrines the integration of MIL learning in the formal educational system of all countries in its aims and objectives and promotes the dissemination of MIL knowledge within the nooks and crannies of the globe in alignment with the Social Development Goals by the United Nations. The end result of the MIL Cities is to facilitate the participation of the media and information literate citizens MIL learning in order to create immense MIL knowledge, enhance information technology skill acquisitions and engineer topnotch creativity and entrepreneurship.
It is imperative for any government to liaise with UNESCO to improve their capabilities and competencies. This will create awareness, sensitization and accurate dispersed information needed for the MIL learning and knowledge.
Therefore, to foster innovative cities development in Nigeria, the Nigerian government needs to liaise with UNESCO by creating the MIL Cities website.
- Adding Media And Information Literacy Studies In The Learning Curriculum
Though the knowledge of the media and information literacy is age-long, pupils and students should be allowed to learn it in school at young ages. Many of the students are inclined to using the internet. Therefore, it will serve the best interest of the country if the young minds can be exposed to IT learning early, and knowing how to identify true or false information.
The Nigerian government should endeavour to add MIL studies in the academic curriculum across all academic levels. This will, in no small measure, help the students to compose electronic technologies, plot mathematical problems, seek external help to aid their studies and conduct precise research.
- Establishment of Many E-Library in Nigeria
According to the research conducted in Canada, 62 percent of the students in grade four place a preference to using the internet for learning while the percentage of students in grade 11 is 92. The indication of the research reveals that many students prefer using the new media to learn to using the traditional media. Many of the libraries in Nigeria are situated in the higher institutions. While the government should endeavour to stock these libraries with timely books that centre on growth, personal development, entrepreneurship and IT vocational acquisition, it should also be ready to make all the libraries digital and create a digital platform for all Nigerians to get IT-related and other relevant books as well. Nigerians need to be kept abreast of every happening in IT.
- Censuring Media and Information Outlet
The upsurge of new media as the mainstream of information dissemination comes with its disadvantages. Many people now proliferate the internet with a plethora of posts of which many are inconsequential to the growth of the country. A lot of people have blogs, vlogs and podcasts where they disseminate information to their audience. Over the years, many of the contents on these platforms have been proven bogus. Furthermore, many Nigerians use social media handles to incite hate, cyberbullying and ethnic bigotry.
The Nigeria government should censure what people see on the internet and make everyone responsible for whatever they post on the internet.
The world is a global village. Nonetheless, the proximity of the media and information literacy of the people lies on the information acquired and the right attitude to evaluate it. The world is remote for anyone who is bereft of the information about the reality of the 21st century, which is IT. The government should liaise with UNESCO through the MIL Cities website in order to ensure safe and secure cities that have mouthwatering industrialization and technological innovations in conformity to the world’s standard.
- The Vanguard (2014)
- Nigeria Literacy Rate 1991-2022
- Fight Hate Speech through Media Literacy (June 18, 2022)
- What is Information Age? – Definition from WhatIs.com (November 25, 2014)
- What is Media Literacy?: Media Literacy Now (October 20, 2022) https://medialiteracynow.org/what-is-media-literacy/
- Media and Information Literacy (January 1, 1970)
- Media and Information Literacy (September 21, 2021) https://iite.unesco.org/mil/
- Media and Information Literate Cities (N D)
- Canadian Internet Use Survey, 2020 (June 22, 2021htm https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210622/dq210622b-eng.htm