Media Literacy Training Can Truly Empower Youth

November 21, 2018

Country: Jordan

MIL_Amman_CartoonOver the weekend, Media Diversity Institute (MDI) participated in a seminar titled, “Support to Media in Jordan” in Amman, Jordan.

The event focused on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and is part of a larger project funded by the European Union and the Canadian Embassy in Amman. It is organized by MDI in collaboration with UNESCO Jordan and Journalists for Human Rights.

“The Internet has been a huge chance for everyone ignored by the mainstream legacy media,” MDI Executive Director Milica Pesic said, speaking about MDI’s work on MIL around the world.

“Our experience from the European Union, Brazil, Macedonia and China shows that the Interent allows them to create their own narratives in the media, advocate for policies, and even impact elections,” she continues.

In September, MDI ran a separate workshop in Amman, training civil society activists to lead their own MIL workshops. One of the participants, Rawan Staitateh, Director of the Amman-based Drabzeen Human Rights Foundation spoke at this past weekend’s workshop.

“Getting MIL tools right is like getting the most powerful weapon, but knowing how to use it ethically,” she said at a seminar titled, “Media, Journalism and Culture for Human Rights: Sharing of Experiences.” After her initial training, Rawan went on to lead an MIL workshop in October that she live streamed to more than 25000 viewers, with over 700 comments.

For MDI, Rawan’s story is one of many that prove that Jordan’s civil society sector has been playing important roles in the public sphere, particularly when it comes to working with young people. UNESCO Project Officer Hanadi Gharaibeh echoed these sentiments.

“The civil society sector has an instrumental role in promoting both economic and human development, advocating for positive change and contributing to active citizenship,” she said while introducing MDI’s work in Jordan.

One of the most interesting parts of the seminar was an exhibition of cartoons produced by young Jordanians. The young artists were trained by Jordanian journalist and cartoonist Omar Al-Abdallat, who taught them how to express their views on human rights and tolerance through cartoons.

“Cartoons, like other artists, have the rights to express themselves, including holding authorities accountable,” Al-Abdallat said at the workshop.

For Pesic, the cartoons spoke to the breadth of possibilities within MIL projects.

“As someone said, satire is very difficult when the opposition does not accept Enlightenment values,” she said, responding to the cartoons, while speaking about the larger context of MDI’s work in Jordan.

“I am convinced that’s not the case of Jordan,” she continued. “More important- using cartoons as medium to express oneself shows how unlimited the MIL tools are. This is an experience MDI will bring to other countries in the future.”