Report on best media literacy practices

IRIS 2019-3:1/2

Elena Sotirova

European Platform of Regulatory Authorities

On 20 December 2018, within the context of an event held in Belgrade, Serbia, the Media and Internet Governance Division of the Council of Europe presented a study on European practices of the regulatory authorities of electronic media regarding media literacy. The publication was authored by Robert Tomljenović, Vice-Chairperson of the Croatian Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) and was prepared thanks to the support of the joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe on "Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe” (JUFREX), at the request of the Serbian Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM). The study aimed to provide an analysis of the best examples of European practices for promoting media literacy, putting special focus on the role of regulatory authorities in order to inspire and encourage the Serbian Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media.

The publication showcases some examples of the best European practices and the respective regulatory bodies’ commitment to strengthening media literacy, alongside a special review and case study featuring Finland, the most successful European country in this field. It also provides examples of the broadcasting media regulators’ work in Ireland and Croatia.

The study puts forward some recommendations for the REM: in order to improve its engagement in the field, the Serbian regulator should set up an interdepartmental institutional body that will implement media literacy projects and a social discourse on the needs and goals of media literacy education, and develop a national media literacy policy or strategy. The REM should take a more active role in working on media literacy given its important social role and complementarity with certain aspects of media content regulation and the protection of minors and consumers, as well as its preventive approach. The REM should set its internal goals and adopt an understanding of the media literacy project, as well as find funds for regular research on its citizens’ media habits and literacy, particularly when it comes to youth and children. Identifying, encouraging and involving various stakeholders from educational institutions, academia, media and libraries to state institutions and civil society is one of the main roles that REM could play when working on the media literacy project.

According to the study, good results and self-sustainable projects can only be produced by including more partners, by acquiring a common understanding of issues and goals and by sharing and exchanging knowledge and resources. The REM should create a platform for gathering a wide variety of social stakeholders and encourage the establishment of diverse partnerships, as well as coming up with and supporting various projects, such as launching a web portal, publishing brochures, conducting research, and organising workshops and lectures. Finally, the study underlines the fact that it is essential to include the media in these projects, and especially public service broadcasters such as Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), who should be actively working on improving the citizens’ media literacy skills.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.