Speakers stressed the need to equip Pakistani citizens with media and information literacy skills in order to eliminate violent extremism and hate speech from society
Islamabad (Pakistan Point News / Online - 18th September, 2019) : Speakers stressed the need to equip Pakistani citizens with media and information literacy skills in order to eliminate violent extremism and hate speech from society.They were speaking at a national conference , with the title "Ba-shaoor Shehri, Pur Amn Pakistan", which was organised by the UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP) in collaboration with the UNESCO IFAP National Committee and civil society partner Media Matters for Democracy here on Wednesday.
Chief guest Shafqat Mahmood, Minister for Federal Education, Professional Training and Heritage, delivered the keynote address at the conference.The minister said the public education system must prepare Pakistani youth and children for effective and ethical engagement with digital media and new information technologies.He mentioned media and information literacy can develop critical thinking skills and respect for cultural diversity among young Pakistanis.
The minister also said the federal government was working on education reforms and a unified curriculum for the country that would meet international standards.Earlier, UNESCO Representative for Pakistan, Vibeke Jensen welcomed the guests at the event. She informed the participants about UNESCO's vision for using media and information literacy as a tool to promote peace building and counter online disinformation. She stressed the need for developing media and information literacy competencies especially to equip young people with the skills to critically analyze the information disseminated by all types of media.
Professor Dr. Akram Sheikh, the Chair of the UNESCO IFAP National Committee, said the conference intends to be a stepping stone for developing policies and launching initiatives related to media and information literacy in Pakistan.During the opening plenary, speakers suggested that development approaches to counter extremism are necessary alongside security-based interventions. The speakers suggested the effective use of mainstream and digital media to spread a counter-narrative of peace and tolerance.
In another session, experts discussed issues related to youth radicalization in the country and recommended that youth empowerment programmes focusing on global citizenship and critical thinking are necessary to reduce vulnerability to online radicalization.Anne Marchal, the Deputy Head of Mission for the European Delegation to Pakistan, delivered the concluding remarks and shared information about EU initiatives on media and information literacy and prevention of violent extremism.