STAND. President, make media and information literacy a major national goal”

“Mr President,

On April 24, from the first minutes of your reelection, you chose to walk through the crowd, surrounded by children, and deliver a powerful message to all your fellow citizens: your new five-year term will be that of the youth . You want to offer these youth a “better world” and “better protect it”, in an increasingly fragmented society.

But these young people, who will have to face the immense climate challenge and breathe new life into our aging democracy, are today being disarmed in the face of a continuous stream of information, posts and messages, the reliability and relevance of which they have difficulty assessing. Not all young French have the tools to form an informed and healthy opinion, they are drawn into dangerous spirals, which can lead to isolation and radicalisation.

This plague affects all of society: no social class, no age group is spared. Today, one in three French people subscribes to a conspiracy theory. Beliefs take precedence over rationality. Many of our fellow citizens distance themselves from medicine and science. Trust in the media and institutions is at an all-time low, which directly threatens our democracy.

We journalists, educators, teachers, researchers, trainers, popularizers, working in the field, come into contact with the public every day in disarray. And we are very concerned.

In school, millions of students leave their establishments without acquiring the skills essential to exercising their citizenship in the digital age. Not all teachers benefit from adequate training to stimulate students’ critical thinking. Often media and information literacy, included in curricula but without fixed hours, is the exclusive responsibility of individual initiatives. The lack of resources and resources allocated to it is distressing.

Outside of school, despite the investments made by certain ministries, support for actors in the field remains irregular and incomplete. Dozens of associations, places of knowledge and culture, companies and committed citizens compete to defend the quality of information and to sharpen the critical mind of the French. But this commitment is unevenly distributed across the territory, to the point that the information gap is now exacerbating existing social and economic divides.

Mr. President, the state’s failure in this area comes with a price: the platforms, largely responsible for the problem, are storming into this niche, at the cost of independence and media pluralism, with no quality guarantee other than their own criteria.

We, actors and artisans of media and information literacy on a day-to-day basis, form a rich, diverse and inclusive coalition today. We want to build together a coordinated and really effective action across the territory.

Mr. President, the situation calls for raising media and information literacy to the level of a major national goal.

To make this possible, we ask that you establish a “media and information literacy fund” without delay. This fund could be funded by the state and by a fraction of the digital business tax. It would make it possible to support actors in the field, in direct contact with governments and elected officials, at national and local level.

Only at this price can a real media and information literacy policy be established. This investment is a great opportunity for France. An immense hope for this youth so dear to us. Together, we will put France at the forefront of the fight against online disinformation and manipulation and shape true citizenship in the digital age, everywhere and for everyone.

Mr President, France is fortunate to have mobilized countless actors on the ground to make our country an enlightened and reunited nation. The political will must be there. The challenge is immense.

Are you ready to record it? †

See the full list of signatories and support this call here

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