Research: Assessing the capacity of NGOs in the field of media literacy

Sarajevo, September 29, 2020 – There are several reasons why Bosnia and Herzegovina need media literacy policies. They are necessary not only for citizens but also for the authorities to be able to fulfill their functions in the digital age. The civil sector is fertile ground for the promotion of media literacy, but the number of organizations dealing with these issues is very small. Also, civil society organizations are in direct contact with citizens in the field, so it is unquestionable that they can contribute to the development of media literacy among their target groups.

However, civil society organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have sufficient knowledge and capacity to advocate and promote media literacy, as well as to educate citizens on how to recognize information manipulation, political censorship, and fake news.

Precisely because of all the above, the BH Journalists Association conducts research with the aim of determining the level of media literacy in civil society organizations, and whether they have appropriate knowledge and mechanisms for educating the local population about the media. Also, research should determine whether organizations have mechanisms to bring media literacy closer to citizens and the ability of citizens to access, analyze, and produce information with concrete effects.

The main researcher is MA Borislav Vukojević, and the research will cover a total of 15 organizations (seven from the Federation of BiH, six from Republika Srpska, two from Brčko District) that primarily deal with civic activism, democracy and human rights, and social issues.

Some of the research questions that will be used during the research are whether NGOs have sufficient knowledge and resources in terms of media and information literacy and whether they have had training in this area so far, whether employees in organizations have developed critical thinking skills that they enable them to choose adequate media, whether organizations work with the local population and their target groups in media literacy training, and whether they hold workshops on the topic, etc.

In a period of one year, two surveys will be conducted, as well as interviews with presidents of civil society organizations, in order to determine whether it is possible, with quality training on media literacy, a set of recommendations, and education for organizations, to raise the level of media and information literacy, and citizens and thus improve and strengthen freedom of expression and freedom of information in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The research will be conducted in the second half of October, and a report with research findings and recommendations will be presented at the end of October 2020. This activity is part of the project “Free Media, Free Society”, implemented by the BH Journalists Association in cooperation with the Association of Electronic Media in BiH (AEM BiH), with the financial support of the European Union.

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