As described by Wikipedia, the purpose of being information and media literate is to engage in a digital society. Thus, “one needs to be able to understand, inquire, create, communicate and think critically. It is important to effectively access, organize, analyze, evaluate and create messages in a variety of forms.”
Wikipedia continues: “Information and media literacy enables people to interpret and make informed judgments as users of information and media, as well as to become skillful reactors and producers of information and media messages in their own right.”
From the UNESCO, we have the following description: “Empowerment of people through Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is an important prerequisite for fostering equitable access to information and knowledge and promoting free, independent and pluralistic media and information systems.”
It continues: “A particular focus will be on training teachers to sensitize them to the importance of MIL in the education process, enable them to integrate MIL into their teaching and provide them with appropriate pedagogical methods, curricula and resources.”
Even Moscow has issued a declaration defining MIL as “a combination of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices required to access, analyze, use, produce, and communicate information and knowledge in creative, legal and ethical ways that respect human rights.”
This is, of course, an overwhelming challenge. The technical aspects involved in this matter alone can already pose a formidable challenge. In this area, things are developing at warp-speed. But it is more in the moral and ethical aspects where the real challenge lies. And sadly, this latter concern is lagging behind miserably.
That in this matter everything has to start and end with God is hardly felt by people in general. It would even seem that God is regarded as a persona-non-grata here. But what is worse is when we start talking about the concrete guidelines and limits so that we can indulge in this task with prudence and temperance that would not compromise boldness and creativity!
I imagine that more than speaking of general principles, we have to accumulate a lot of lived experiences in this area before we can come out with effective guidelines that are adapted also to the peculiar and unique conditions of individual persons and not just a class of people.
Unfortunately, many people nowadays hardly make any reference to God in their growing ventures into the world of knowledge, sciences, technology. They seem competent to tackle the challenge simply by using their increasingly growing technical knowledge and skills. This is a big challenge to face.
They have forgotten what St. Paul said in this regard: “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.” (1 Cor 8, 1-3)
Maybe what should be done is to come out with a network of agencies and other relevant institutions that will continually monitor the developments in this world of the media and information. This network should cover and be represented by all levels, classes, sectors of society.
It definitely would involve technical people, but more than them, it should involve our spiritual leaders, parents, teachers, government, etc. There should be representatives from the legal field as well as from that sphere that studies social developments. There should be interdisciplinary approach to all this.
From there, we need to have an army of mentors who can personally attend to every individual person, especially the young ones. Of course, everyone should strive to be a mentor too, even if he himself needs also to be continually mentored. We have to remember that all of us are meant to be both sheep and shepherd, mentee and mentor./WDJ