Public broadcaster can play a very important role in the media literacy efforts in the country. This was the main conclusion of a roundtable discussion among experts of media, representatives of public broadcaster, journalists, academics, and civil society representatives. During the roundtable a policy paper and respective recommendations were presented by Valbona Sulce Kolgeci, media literacy trainer and former member of Steering Council of Albanian Radio and Television (RTSH.) The policy paper focused on describing the current situation with the PBS, its role on media literacy, the experience of other countries in this respect, as well as concrete recommendations, as derived from previous discussion panel with experts on this topic. In general the participants agreed that the public media can have a very important role in educating the audience on media literacy, both thanks to the broad territory it covers with signal, and also thanks to the numerous channels it has available as a result of completion of digital switchover, including thematic channels directed at youth, children, and education.
During the presentation many examples from other countries were discussed on the way how public media have become initiators of media literacy for the public in their countries, as well as the different tactics and methods used. The participants in the discussion identified benefits of these practices both in terms of improving the level of critical judgment of the population on information and news value on one hand, while also increasing the trust of audiences on public media. More specifically, the recommendations provided involved the potential work that thematic channels, such as the education channel and the channel for children and youth can do in this respect, in addition to specific educative and informative programs that other more general channels might create. Another highlighted recommendation was the much needed training for the creative staff and newsrooms at RTSH through their own Academy on how to start doing media literacy content for different target audiences. Specific attention was paid to RTSH Tani, the application that the public broadcaster has already built and has been rather successful, especially as a way of connecting with age groups, by employing interactivity features, online games, and other means to attract the population and educate them on news literacy. Of particular importance were also the engagement of children and youth in creating and broadcasting their own content on media literacy as a way to communicate to their age group, as well as short videos and tutorials for news and information for the whole population.
The representatives of public broadcaster present in the roundtable agreed on the importance of pursuing media literacy initiatives for the whole population as an emergent need, targeting various age groups. They also expressed the willingness to become involved in a more concrete manner for the public broadcaster in educating the public, and especially relying on exchange of experience from other EBU members. At the same time, they indicated this would not be an easy road ahead, in view of the constraints on newsrooms and staff for the new thematic channels, the lack of training for this staff, as well as the scarcity of funding for content production, since the technical part of the digital switchover has the priority for the moment. However, they reiterated that this is a need for the current time, and it would be natural part of the RTSH work to be involved with this in future programming efforts, as soon as possible.
This roundtable was held within the regional project “Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media”, implemented by several media organizations from the Western Balkans, including AMI, with financial support from the European Union.