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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Media and socio-cultural communication

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International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, Vol. 6 (2)


In August of 2009, the European Commission issued a formal recommendation on media literacy adding to a series of initiatives underway since 2006 to build a comprehensive European media literacy policy (Commission of the European Communities 2009). Media literacy is now a well-established concept referring to the ability to critically understand and use media in a variety of contexts (see Aufderheide 1997). Recognising that the way people use media is changing and that the volume of information received is enormous, the Commission notes that all citizens need to have the ability to access, analyse and evaluate images, sounds and texts on a daily basis especially if they are to use traditional and new media to communicate and create media content. As such, the recommendation urges the media industry and member states to do more to increase people's awareness of the need for media literacy across all media forms including advertising, cinema and online, and to ensure that citizens do not get left behind in the fast moving media landscape. The level of interest shown by the European Commission in media literacy might seem surprising given that more often than not it is seen as interested in only supporting market dimensions of media. This papers therefore asks what has prompted this interest and identifies possible benefits to researchers and educators.



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