(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — The Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership Rights Activation (PYALARA) on Monday launched a study titled 'Media and Information Literacy in the Middle East; Situation analysis, Challenges and Future Prospects'.
The study and its results were launched in cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Family and Childhood-Irbid, with the support of the Deutsche Welle Akademie. The research was also funded by the German government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
During a press conference, Kathim Al Kfeiri, chairman of the family and Childhood Protection Society-Irbid, said that Jordan is one of the first Arab countries to promptly respond to media needs through creating programmes aimed at different audiences, especially schoolchildren.
Kfeiri highlighted His Majesty King Abdullah's support to the media sector in Jordan, noting that it is important to support the new generation of media and mitigate its negative aspects, especially protecting people from the spread of fake news.
For his part, Markus Haake, country coordinator at the Deutsche Welle Akademie, said that according to an Arab youth survey conducted in 2015, 25 per cent of the youth had access to social media while today that number has increased to 35 per cent.
However, with the increase in opportunities comes an increase in risks, as 60 per cent of youth are using social media as a trustworthy source of information, he said.
Haake also discussed the risks facing the new generation like cyberbullying, hate speech, fake news and extortion, highlighting the efforts of the DW in working with children and young people to be able to analyse and deal with information.
PYALARA Director General Hania Bitar pointed out the risks that come along with young peoples' overdependence on social media for their news, highlighting that the dissemination of news should be based on professional and ethical principles.
Bitar said that all sides agreed at the end on the importance of raising awareness, which is the key approach to be implemented, teaching people to analyse information diligently and deal with it responsibly.
She added that this was the inspiration to conduct the study in the Arab world.
The research was conducted in seven Arab countries — Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine — with the aim to find out how much young people are involved in media and information literacy (MIL), in addition to highlighting the role the civil society and media play in educating and raising awareness in the region.
It also analyses the position of ministries of education in the mentioned countries when it comes to MIL.
At the conference, researcher Salmane El Allami presented the part of the study conducted in Morocco; researcher Heike Thee, the project manager of the Deutsche Welle Akademie, discussed the study in Algeria; researcher Ghada Zeidan highlighted the MIL's focus in Tunisia and Lebanon; and researchers Dia Eddin Shreteh and Alaa Rimawi highlighted the part of the study conducted in Palestine.
The attendees discussed the challenges and recommendations of the study that included ensuring the validity of news, increasing media education and increasing the awareness of individuals on media affairs among many others.