Media is powerful enough to influence the way we contemplate, perceive, and behave. It’s true that as with food, what we find most alluring is not always healthy for our body, so is the same with media.
People are no longer conscientious towards media, rather they are enticed by sensationalism, scandal-mongering, and yellow journalism. In response to the concerns about media menace, there arises a need for media literacy driven initiatives to be implemented for educating the public.
Definition of Media literacy
“Media Literacy is defined as the ability to access, analyse, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication” -The US-based National Association for Media Literacy Education
Role of Media in Decision Making
Have you ever considered exactly how the media influence our decisions? As humans, we make our decisions endlessly. Oftentimes, those decisions are based on different communication sources around us.
In our Businesses, we make decisions like Supply Chain Decisions, Marketing Decisions, Financing Decision, and many other kinds of decisions.
media consumption from various sources influences our decisions. Therefore, the media is playing a major role in decisions made by us.
Evaluating Media Consumption
Communication often reaches us through a powerful combination of words, images, and sounds. The analysis and evaluation of the communicated content form a vital part of the topic.
As a Conscientious individual, we need to be wary of the negative dimensions of media. In short, this includes the usage of logical fallacies, psychological manipulations, outright deception, etc. Simultaneously, One should also consider, understanding rhetorical and propaganda techniques used by media, to divert attention from the focus areas to deliberately published hoax.
An effort to metamorphose the process of media consumption into an active and critical process is going on. Thereby, we see various schools and organizations introduce Media literacy into their Academic syllabus. In short, it is a ‘subject of study’ that require analysis and evaluation into the curriculum.
Impact of Media Literacy
A growing body of research has begun focusing on the impact of media literacy on youth. In an important meta-analysis of more than 50 studies, published in the Journal of Communication, the interventions by it were found to have positive effects on knowledge, criticism, perceived realism, influence, behavioral beliefs, attitudes, self-efficacy, and behavior.
The community as a whole will be able to successfully decipher the role of mass media and participatory media in constructing views of reality.
Hence, Douglas Kellner and Jeff Share suggested four different approaches to media education: the protectionist approach, media arts education, media literacy movement, and critical media literacy.
Media Literacy Moment
The media arts education approach focuses on the creative production of different media forms by learners. The media literacy movement is an attempt to bring traditional aspects of literacy from the educational sphere and apply it to the media.
Hence, Critical media literacy aims to analyze and understand the power structures that shape media representations. Simultaneously, it analyzes the ways in which audiences work to make meaning through dominant, oppositional, and negotiated readings of media.
The moment is not an anti-media movement. Whereas, it is a branch of study which provides us the tools necessary, to help people critically analyze messages. It offers opportunities for learners to broaden their experience of media. Simultaneously, it helps them develop creative skills in making their own media messages.
Critical analysis often includes identifying the author, Interpreting the purpose and point of view, examining construction techniques and genres. It also includes examining patterns of media representation and detecting propaganda, censorship, and bias in news publications, etc
Death of Watchdog Journalism
Increasing chaos gives us the implication that the role of watchdog journalists is getting deprecatory day by day. Watchdog journalist plays the role of a guardian to equip the citizens with the information they must have. In short, they should prevent the abuse of power and warn citizens about those that are doing them harm. In order to conduct their role as a watchdog, journalists need to have a certain distance from the powers. Alongside they should challenge the powers when they notice anything apprehensive. Despite that, the increase in sensationalism, scandal-mongering, and yellow journalism, gives us a clear-cut inference about the credibility of the watchdog role of the fourth estate.
Wheels have started rolling for Media literacy, As Watchdog journalism is being replaced with propaganda journalism. Hence, it has become a need for the hour.