First Caribbean media literacy bootcamp kicks off

6th June 2024
The Public Media Alliance (PMA) will today begin the first of its online Media Literacy Bootcamps for Caribbean media professionals, hosted with the support of the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean and UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
2017: Attendees developing social media guidelines at PMA's previous workshop in the Caribbean. Image: Shobha Myers

Twenty-three participants will take part in today’s inaugural Media Literacy Bootcamp, designed to equip media professionals with essential skills and techniques to navigate today’s complex media landscape.

The participants represent the four target countries of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago, and showcase a diverse range of backgrounds, and include reporters, programming coordinators, media owners, and even a library services worker.

Over the course of two half-day virtual sessions, participants will learn to articulate key concepts associated with media and information literacy (MIL), demonstrate news and digital literacy skills, and develop practical strategies for incorporating MIL principles into their work.

The agenda includes several sessions, including an introduction to MIL, group discussions, hands-on exercises, and peer feedback, covering topics such as the role of AI in journalism, understanding digital platforms and algorithms, and identifying disinformation and online hoaxes.

Dr. Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean, emphasised the significance of this initiative.

“UNESCO is pleased to support the Media Literacy Bootcamps, a vital component of the project “Building the next generation of media literate Caribbean Citizens”. The quality of the information we have greatly influences the outcomes of the choices we make. Unfortunately, we see deep fakes, hate speech and conspiracy theories masquerading as fact. So the critical thinking and discernment that media and information literacy provide, has never been more important. As key actors, we must empower our media professionals to navigate and shape the complex media landscape of today to ensure that information serves as a public good. This is crucial for informed public discourse and participation which are at the core of sustainable development.” – Dr. Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean

Today’s bootcamp is the first in this round of training for media professionals, with the next half-day scheduled for 13 June. PMA and its partners – the Media Institute of the Caribbean and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers – will launch a second round of training later in 2024. Media professionals are encouraged to keep an eye out for relevant updates regarding future opportunities.

Meanwhile, a bootcamp for educators will be held later this month on 21 and 24 June, further expanding the reach and impact of media literacy education across the region.

The bootcamps are part of a wider project – the “Building the Next Generation of Media Literate Citizens” project. The year-long initiative aims to establish lasting media literacy in the Caribbean by nurturing critical skills among schoolchildren, educators, and journalists, fostering a culture of informed engagement and responsible news production and consumption. The project will include several activities, including a digital library of media literacy resources, the capacity-building bootcamps for journalists and educators, and in-country activities geared at schoolchildren ages 9-15.