17 Jan 2024

Awareness is smartness: Media Literacy Festival at IIJNM

Ideas about authenticity, reliability and veracity of information were exchanged at the media literacy festival organized by the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM).

Trainee journalists at IIJNM interchanged and spread the importance of quality journalism and unadulterated information circulation at the media literacy festival held on Jan. 17 at the IIJNM campus. The fest aimed at making people literate about the various facets of information consumption in recent times when most of us are bombarded with “facts” and figures- wanted or unwanted. 

The presentations by the students in charge of the four Information Booths were both enlightening and enriching. Ishita and Sumanta presented “How to verify news and their sources?” Some of the key takeaways from their presentation were: Not all information is accurate and reliable, hence one has to be responsible consumers of information. News is as important as its sources and, pause, check and think before forwarding information. An educative PPT added substance to their presentation.

Next up, Sunayana and Akshay spoke on “Echoes in the Bubble”. Their presentation focused on getting trapped within the walls of social media—a condition which only the very few of us would be unfamiliar with.  They talked about how algorithm in social media pages work to create a personalized and customized space for every user which leads to augmenting our confirmation biases and narrows down our thought processes. They warned us of the darker side of “our comfort spaces”—confinement and isolation.

Roopal and Steffy followed next, educating the audience on “How to stay safe online?” Using a secure internet connection and stronger passwords, visiting only reliable websites and avoiding suspicious links are some practices which will prevent you from being the next scam victim. They spoke of the importance of being fully aware of what you do or agree to on the internet in today’s time when fraudsters are becoming increasingly intelligent.

Lovely and Vandana, through the short presentation enlightened the audience on the ways and means by which one can check fake information and steer clear of them. They explained how to use ‘Embed’ and ‘Google Reverse Search’: two tools to cross-check and verify information.

Cultural performances by the students followed. Akankhya recited a powerful self-written poem on media literacy and the importance of staying vigilant and accountable while consuming and spreading news, or what poses as news. A group of students sung ‘Badal pe paaon hai’, a song about the spirit of unity and achieving success through true intentions and hardwork.

Rahul’s stand-up comedy was a witty piece; and ranged from his name to the Indian state of Rajasthan to death by camels to Lakshwadeep to journalism– his performance incited laughter through puns, jokes and politically-heavy lighthearted statements. It also had statistics and figures, intentionally fake ones, to spread across the message of “Do not believe everything you see.”

A day dedicated to disseminating awareness and insights on conscious consumption of information, the media literacy festival was an eye opener for many.

By Arunima Pal

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