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Video-sharing platforms and promotion of Media Literacy: EPRA MIL taskforce shares its reflections

By Emmanuelle Machet, Head of EPRA Secretariat

In line with EPRA’s commitment to reflect and promote the growing importance of Media Literacy in Europe, the EPRA Media and Information Literacy Taskforce, set up in 2018, has recently released a report entitled “Reflections on Video Sharing Platforms’ promotion of Media Literacy under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive”.

The report is based on existing information about online platforms’ activities, national approaches to transposition of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and regulators’ developing practices and expertise in coordination and oversight of media literacy activity. It presents some reflections on how the obligations of the video-sharing platforms with regard to media literacy could best be understood and applied.

Some key takeaways of the report:

1. The benefits of a systematic and transparent approach to MIL for VSPs:

  • VSPs’ approach to MIL could be more consistent in terms of targeted demographic and geographic reach
  • A structured and transparent basis to reporting as well as more clarity about the intended outcomes would be helpful to better understand and assess VSPs’ initiatives
  • These principles could form the basis of a more coordinated policy approach by VSPs.

2. The need for multi-stakeholders networks:

  • VSPs’ “measures and tools” should be understood broadly and not be limited to service-level tools. In this regard, partnerships with on-the-ground bodies or organisations could help complement and reinforce the educational measures in place – both off-line and online – in a relevant way
  • Networks and alliances are key to promote best practices, foster strong working relationships and develop common approaches.

3. The role of the regulatory authorities:

Under a European media literacy strategy framework, regulatory authorities could encourage the cooperation between stakeholders. This could be achieved through, for instance, an “agreement on core competencies and skills indicators” list, a “shared repository of tools and resources” or common principles to assess VSPs’ media literacy activities.

EPRA and Media and Information Literacy: a timeline

  • Since 2008, media literacy features regularly on the agenda of the meetings of the European Platform of audiovisual regulatory authorities (EPRA). Several comparative papers have revealed a growing interest of broadcasting regulators to promote media literacy.
  • For the last two years, EPRA has been the home of a developing taskforce of media literacy regulators. From a small group who first met in Luxembourg in 2018, to a permanent working group in 2019, the network has helped to develop strong links between regulators who are active in this field – to share experience, learn from each other, support new initiatives and foster long-lasting links.
  • In 2019, EPRA launched an online discussion forum on Media Literacy for NRAs and have, to date, published several pieces of guidance on topics such as launching networksevaluationresearch and campaigns.
  • In 2020, a series of roundtables on MIL networks took place, alongside discussions in working group format around media literacy and VSPs, leading to this new “Reflections” document.