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About Half of Latvians are Unable to Recognise Misinformation

In Latvia, as part of the 10th Global Media and Information Literacy Week, a study by Riga Stradins University (RSU) was published. According to the study, about half of Latvians do not consider media literacy an important skill and cannot distinguish between ordinary news and deliberate misinformation.

RSU professor Anda Rožukalne, in a comment to the Latvian Radio, described this result as an ‘information epidemic’ caused by the lack of critical thinking among part of society. Earlier, in a media literacy study carried out by the Ministry of Culture in 2018, respondents acknowledged that media literacy skills are directly related to the work of educational institutions.

Methodologist of Latvian Centre for Safe Internet (drossinternets.lv) Lienė Valdmane explains such figures by the fact that before the introduction of new content during the recent reform of school education media literacy was not taught at all.

According to the annual inspections carried out by Drossinternets.lv students’ media literacy knowledge is improving, although some teenagers have difficulties distinguishing between news information and paid advertisements of information, even for example recognizing paid advertisements of flu remedy, not to mention political propaganda.

Experts pointed out that in order to improve media literacy rates, systematic work is needed not only with schoolchildren and students, but also with the adult population. The only thing that has to be figured out is how to reach out to everyone who does not trust Covid 19 vaccination or who listen to the Russian propaganda.

Global Media and Information Literacy Week (WMIL) has been held annually by UNESCO and its partners since 2012. The main events of the 10th WNMIH take place from 24 to 31 October in Morocco, where an international conference on related issues and intercultural dialogue will take place, as well as a sixth Youth Forum.

Igor Vatolin

 

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