ARTICLE 19 underlines that digital, media, and information literacy is intrinsically linked to the right to freedom of expression. Where people are equipped with these skills, they can critically assess news, information, and all forms of media content, enabling them to participate in the public exchange of news and ideas.
We believe these skills act as a remedy for disinformation, hate speech, unfair content moderation, and poor transparency. In times of crisis – such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – is it even more essential for people to be able to evaluate the type of information they receive, and how this impacts their lives and their physical safety.
It is crucial that an understanding of the key principles and international standards related to the right to freedom of expression and media freedom is part of digital, media, and information literacy. This enables people to be better equipped to demand their media is protected, remains independent, and ultimately reflects diverse voices. This must go hand-in-hand with the creation, by States, of an enabling environment for the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.
At the same time, digital, media, and information literacy should highlight the role of journalists and media workers as watchdogs of public interest information. Worldwide, journalists and media workers play a critical role in facilitating the free flow of information and bringing human rights violations and corruption to light. However, there is a trend of low trust in the media, coupled with growing attacks against and harassment of journalists, which can be reconnected with low levels of digital, media, and information literacy, among other factors.
We call on all States to include digital, media, and information literacy in educational programmes and in life-long learning initiatives, including knowledge on the key principles and international standards related to the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.
We welcome the resolution on freedom of opinion and expression that mandated this discussion today, and encourage the Human Rights Council to continue to focus more on the issue of digital, media, and information literacy.