Monday, April 21, 2008

BPN 1075 Dutch government invests in media literacy

The Dutch government want to equip parents and children better in their use of television, internet and other media. It has decided to found an expertise centre which will help schools and families in their use of media; the centre will get 500.000 euro to start with and for 2009 and 2010 at least 1 million euro a year. The centre will be based at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the broadcast archive and it will have counters in public libraries. The government has sent a 35 page report to the parliament (sorry, it is in Dutch).

The new expertise centre has been indicated so far as the Expertise centre on media wisdom. This term has been in use for the last two years in The Netherlands and sounds rather paternalistic and elitist. Before the term of media literacy was in use. As I have argued before I would rather see the term media versatility in use as it says something about the needed knowledge about media and the skills.

The new expertise centre will bundle knowledge and activities and aims at children, Young people, their parents and their teachers. A number of organisations, among which KnowledgeNet and the Institute of Image and Sound will be responsible for the running of the new centre: Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, KnowledgeNet, and the public broadcast companies. Also parental organisations will be involved. The centre will also have an extensive online service.

This map indicates the parties involved with media literacy. It has been developed by Kennisland for the study on media wisdom.

Besides in an expertise centre, the government also invests in better information about audio-visual products. The Dutch Institute for Classification of Audiovisual Media (MICAM) will set up a special site, where parents can check whether a program is fit for their child. Parents and educators will be more involved in developing the criteria for the index of television programs and games (Kijkwijzer) and the handling of complaints about harmful programs. The age categories will be adapted for the index Kijkwijzer; a category for 6 to 12 years olds will be instituted. The Commission for the Media will regularly check whether the broadcast companies stick to the age category indication and the broadcast times. Also the theaters, video shops and shops will be regularly checked. In the vision of the government, the media should bear responsibility for the effects on their offer for the youth. The media should set the limits and not politicians.

There have been set a number of priorities for 2008:
- implementing a working structure and organisation;
- re-enforcing the network of partner organisations;
- survey among the citizens;
- on the basis of the results a re-positioning of the expertise centre;
- remodelling of the site on the basis of the results of the survey;
- in the autumn a media market where network partners can present their activities.

Blog Posting Number 1075


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