Youth Media Education, Seville Conference, 15-16 February 2002


addressed to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO

The seminar, hosted by the Andalusia Television and the International Association of Educational Televisions (AITED) was chaired by Professor José Manuel Perez Tornero, assisted by Professor Divina Frau-Meigs and the Rapporteur Professor Valentí Gomez í Oliver. UNESCO was represented by the Deputy Assistant Director General for Communication and Information Mr. Claude Ondobo.

General framework and organization

The Twenty-ninth General Conference of UNESCO in adopting Draft Resolution 61, approved that, for its programme in 1998-1999, support for media education and the creation of media space for young people should be ensured through different modalities and actions. These actions are based on a number of different events and documents of UNESCO and its Member States, notably the “Grünwald Declaration on Media Education” (1982), the Toulouse Colloquy “New Directions in Media Education” (1990), the Vienna conference    “Educating for the Media and the Digital Age”  (1999).

Twenty-three invited representatives form 14 countries attended the seminar.  On the basis of the Seminar recommendations, it is planned to prepare for renewed action in UNESCO’s Member States through a specialized programme in media education and the creation of media space for young people.

Reference was made to the 25th session of the UNESCO General Conference (Paris, November 1989) which included “the development of critical media education, by emphasizing the development of critical awareness, the ability to react to any kind of information received and the education of users to defend their rights”.

The general objectives of the Seminar were to:

–  Promote media education through regional approaches and to facilitate exchanges

–  Propose innovative legislation about media education and media curricula

–  Improve cooperation between government officials, researchers

General definition and principles (as adopted at the Vienna Conference)

Media Education

–         Deals with all communication media and includes the word and graphics, the sound, the still as well as the moving image, delivered on any kind of technology;

–         Enables people to gain understanding of the communication media used in their society and the way they operate and to acquire skills in using these media to communicate with others;

–         Ensures that people

  • Gain, or demand access to media for both reception and production
  • Analyse, critically reflect upon and create media;
  • Identify the sources of media texts, their political, social, commercial and/or cultural interests, and their contexts;
  • Interpret the messages and values offered by the media;
  • Select appropriate media for communicating their own messages or stories and for    reaching their intended audience;

Media Education is part of the basic entitlement of every citizen, in every country in the world, to freedom of expression and the right to information and is instrumental in building and sustaining democracy. While recognizing the disparities in the nature and development of Media Education in different countries, the participants of the Seville Seminar, following closely the prior definitions developed by the Vienna Conference in 1999, recommend that Media Education should be introduced wherever possible within national curricula as well as in tertiary, non-formal and lifelong education.

Operational definition:

Beyond this general definition and statement of principles, aligned on the Vienna Conference, it was generally felt by members of the Seville Seminar that to make media education operational, to ensure its visibility and its legitimacy it was necessary to narrow down its focus to two major areas:

–   Media education is about teaching and learning with and about media (rather than through media)

–   Media education can take place in formal and non-formal settings, and should promote the sense of community, of social responsibilities as well as individual self-fulfilment

–  Media education should use this operational definition to evaluate and assess content of courses on media as well as student’s acquisition and teacher/trainer performance in ways that are appropriate to their cultural setting and the media produced.

–  Media education should in priority address itself to young people, ages 12-18, as recognized by UNESCO Communication and Information programmes, but should take into account children, ages 5-12, and developmental evolution and needs of the young person should be taken into account (acquisition of knowledge, reality/fiction construction, identity-building, citizen-consciousness development)

In the lights of these definitions, the participants of the Seville Seminar recommend that five areas of policy should be developed:

1) Research platforms for policy-makers, agenda-setters, other researchers and the larger public

–  Mapping of existing methodologies for media education

–  Compilation and diffusion of existing research

– Development of evaluation procedures taking into account the specificity of media education in formal and non-formal contexts

–  Promote research with special focus on media education with parents

2) Training for teachers and other practitioners, NGO trainers, students training as teachers

–  Development of appropriate certification whenever feasible

–  Development of curricula in media education formal and non formal

– Creation of manuals for teachers and parents, with a variety of supports and materials (a collection of publications called ‘Pilot’ and tool kits, adjustable with regional modules)

– Summer courses in media education for teachers

–  Drafting of a short publication, with guidelines aimed at students

–  Creation of a long-distance education courses.

3) Media  partnership for schools, NGOs, other private or public institutions or actors

–  Development of relationships with the media sector and industry

–  Development of relationships with foundations (in the industry and outside)

–  Drafting guidelines for media education and ethics

-Creation of a platform of relations with industry: lobbying with media companies; development of industry standards on media education, which ensure independence of researchers and users.

4) Networking for all practitioners and the general public

– Creation of Web-sites for practitioners, trainers and teachers

– Creation of a portal for media education resources

– Invitation  to the UNESCO Clearinghouse on Violence on the Screen to reorient its activities

towards Media Literacy  programmes for young people, animating a worldwide network of correspondents

– Organization of local, national and international forums with an established periodicity and connections  with schools and delivery of labels of excellence with an UNESCO ‘stamp’.

– Network of specialized film and TV festivals

– Provision of access to data resources and translation facilities

– Consolidation of existing federations or professional associations and documentation centres

5) Consolidating the public sector for all actors of civil society: parents, teachers, NGOs, youth groups, consumer, viewers and listeners associations

–  Publication of guidelines for public broadcasting policies

– Publication of recommendations in support of public media, non-profit, commercial-free, specially when addressed to youth

–  Creation of public awareness four youth programming

–  Sensitise the public of the need for media education in formal and non-formal settings

– Support for the creation of federal, national and/or local communications commissions to warrant quality and access to media for young people

– Support to the application of the Florence Agreement (and the Nairobi Protocol) on copyright exceptions for non-profit educational uses of  media

– Production of an international television documentary or package format to promote media understanding

The participants represented by the Chairman Professor José-Manuel Perez Tornero, assisted by Professor Divina Frau-Meigs and the Raporteur Professor Valentí Gomez í Oliver urgently recommend that UNESCO define its programme for Media Education following the proposed lines and allocate the resources required to implement these Recommendations.

UNESCO and all the participants of the Seville Seminar should endeavour to transmit and disseminate these recommendations to the Executive Board and the General Conference, the National Commissions of UNESCO and other interested institutions and bodies of actors (national regulatory authorities, NGOs, consumer groups, viewers and listeners associations)

Approved unanimously by the participants of the Seville Seminar in their Plenary Session.

Seville, February 16th 2002

During the seminar it was made known that Dr Andrew Hart from the University of Southampton, who created the first International Journal of Media Education died suddenly some days before. He supported vividly the idea of the seminar and professionally advised the organizers.

His colleagues would like to dedicate the Seville meeting to his memory.

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