Α report on Greek media literacy public policy by Irene Andriopoulou, Secretariat General for Media & Communication. Reproduced from «Media & Learning News», January 2017
Media literacy policy from a public perspective is a long overdue and complicated issue in Greece. For years until the beginning of the 21st Century, it remained mostly under the academic umbrella as a theoretical school of thought about media. However, gradually it became clear that it is a public engagement responsibility that (should) involve actors from both the public and private fields, focusing on the emerging behaviorial patterns of users-consumers-producers that are multiplexed with the media industry.
Nowadays, with media convergence and especially with social media being in the spotlight, media literacy is spread over various thematic areas: from critical thinking against a consumerist, popular culture to news literacy, and from content creation and digital media to new platforms of expression and aesthetic norms (film literacy, digital storytelling, active citizenship), thus acquiring a strong civic identity through offering an “open voice” to all citizens.
At the moment the media literacy policy agenda is mainly pursued by two public policy entities: the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecoms and Media mainly through the Secretariat General for Media & Communication, and the Ministry of Education, mainly through the Educational Radiotelevision Dept. The Secretariat General for Media & Communication has as a main duty the promotion of audiovisual and media policies in Greece and the EU and therefore approaches media literacy as a lifelong learning skill within digital inclusion for all citizens. It monitors the regulatory framework, such as the recent revision of the AVMSD Directive, as well as advocating for coand self-regulatory actions, making it a public necessity for broadcasters and media service providers. In this context, the Secretariat acts as national “intermediary” to the EU community (EC, CoE) through various working groups on media (EU Presidencies, EC Media Literacy Expert Group, CDMSI) as well as interacting with key media stakeholders, such as UNESCO, OECD and regulatory bodies, contributing to the formation of a sustainable EU policy and legislature agenda.
Additionally, it is also member of media and information literacy networks, such as UNESCO GAPMIL (Global Alliance of Partnerships on Media & Information Literacy) and GAMAG (Global Alliance on Media & Gender), as well as the NORDICOM Clearinghouse, trying to gain a global overview on media and information literacy.
The Ministry of Education approaches media literacy within the context of typical education and school skills. Media literacy is not identified as an autonomous object of study but mainly as a cross-curricular, interdisciplinary subject and within ad hoc school projects. In 2016 there has been an invigorated public discourse for integrating media literacy into the curriculum, within the public consultation that was launched on the total school reform.
Among other cognitive fields, media and digital literacy was put forward for inclusion into the new curriculum, recognising the powerful, shaping note that media plays in student’s lives today. However, no further plans have been unveiled thus far for an autonomous integration into Greek schools. In parallel, the Educational Radiotelevision – Edu.TV, the official department of MinEdu, is quite active in practicing media literacy for both educators and students.
Through a multitude of projects and synergies, such as MEDEANET, the European School Radio, student’s film competitions, prizes and awards, training workshops on new media and online material, Edu.TV has elaborated a dynamic presence encompassing media with digital literacy and ICT.
In addition in 2016, Edu.TV launched an agreement with the public service broadcaster, ERT SA, on the production of joint educational broadcasting programs for children, a project that falls under the 3rd parameter of the EU definition of media literacy, that of content production and media use for communicative and social competencies.
By and large, there is an increasing emphasis on media literacy in Greece from a pluralistic point of view highlighting the social notion of critical media literacy, linked with active citizenship and strong democratic societies. Having said that, media literacy has improved significantly in recent years with an active presence on the national and international scene (many awarded projects from public and private entities) from a multilateral perspective. This means that we can be optimistic for a “media conscious” future with multiplying effects for all citizens.