South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has called for “urgent” international cooperation on new media and information literacy to combat the new threat of global misinformation via social networking platforms.
The South African leader made the call in his remarks at the high-level opening session of the Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2021 monitored virtually from Lagos on Monday.
The week, themed, “Media and Information Literacy for the Public Good”, was jointly organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and European Commission, and hosted by South Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the MIL Week seeks to empower people to develop themselves and their societies through enhanced capacities in communication and information.
Ramaphosa, represented by Angie Motshekga, South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education, said that the global threat of misinformation became more pronounced as the world battled the anti-vax lobby in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are now confronted by a new threat of global misinformation via social networking platforms.
“We must consider new media and information literacy programmes to help people understand the consequences of creating and sharing false and misleading content,” Ramaphosa said.
According to him, the competencies of Africans as agents of change must be built by strengthening media and information literacy in lifelong learning, online and offline spaces at all levels.
He added that to achieve and sustain the goal of media and information literacy for all, international cooperation was “most urgent”.
He said that media and information literacy, and digital skills should be incorporated in actions connected to the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030).
Adding that together, the world must respond to the call of the United Nations (UN) Resolution A/RES/75/267 for media and information literacy to be an urgent and imperative public matter.
Ramaphosa stressed that media and information literacy could support the strategic approach of building an inclusive and resilient African society and connecting the African continent with the rest of the world.
“South Africa is proud to celebrate this historic moment as the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to host the Global Media and Information Literacy Week.
“We must change the trend of low take-up of media and information literacy in education in African countries.
“In this regard, South Africa stands alongside the global community not only to strengthen the foundations of media and information literacy but also to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals beyond the global 2030 agenda.” (NAN)