12 May 2024, William Bird and Nomshado Nkosinkulu, Daily Maverick

Media and information literacy has been a staple programme of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) for 26 years, but it has tended to focus on children being equipped with critical media and digital literacy skills (read more about it here and here).

In recent years, the significance of upskilling South Africans and integrating them into digital literacy initiatives has become increasingly vital. Rather than employing conventional methods, we’ve focused on fostering a movement that empowers every citizen to champion combating mis- and disinformation. Understanding the dynamics of disinformation dissemination and its amplification through engagements has been pivotal in shaping our approach.

American journalist Linda Ellerbee said: “Media literacy is not just important, it’s absolutely critical. It’s going to make the difference between whether kids are a tool of the mass media or whether the mass media is a tool for kids to use.”

Switching out the words “kids” for “adults” in the quote shows how media and information literacy can and should be seen as increasingly important to adults, not just to ensure they can operate as effective digital citizens but also as a core means of combating mis- and disinformation.

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