Workshop 2: Digital information literacy as a modern civic skill – a Finnish perspective

Rapporteur: Francesco Vecchi

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 1 Digital Information Literacy is “the ability to access, to manage, to understand, to integrate, communicate, evaluate, create, and disseminate information safely and appropriately through digital technologies”. This concept includes a dimension of active and civic engagement with the digital world and promotes active citizenship. Indeed, Finland’s recent reaction to Russian misinformation and trolling activities shows the degree to which digital information literacy is connected to democracy. Especially, organisations dealing with fact-checking, promoting digital information literacy, and networking (such as Faktabari) are playing a crucial role in fighting back these threats.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Finnish CRITICAL project supports children’s and adolescent critical reading skills. In fact, in Finland media literacy (digital literacy in education) for students and teachers is included in curricula from early childhood education and care under the concept of multiliteracy. According to the 2013-2016 Finnish Media Literacy National Policy Guidelines, media education must be high-quality, as well as child- and adolescent-centered. Besides, sustainable structures promoting media literacy are achieved through resources and national and local level theory, including various stakeholders. On the whole, digital information literacy is essential to promote equal opportunities and, in that sense, the lack of critical literacy skills is still to be tackled.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 1 Technological development has provoked rapid changes in the democratic power relations, especially when it comes to the mediatic impact of digital platforms and the concentration of digital power in the hands of a few Big Tech companies. At the same time, democracy is in decline: though technological development is not the only driver, social media’s disinformation and polarisation pose serious threats. On the other hand, the massive collection of digital data for economic purposes leads to the need of transparency, accountability, and investments in this field. Individuals must be empowered by improving their right to self-determination regarding their personal data. Individual autonomy is the foundation of democracy and it must be safeguarded in the digital age. Thus, one of the key priorities is to enhance citizens digital literacy and education going beyond only digital competencies and including cultural aspects.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 1 Indeed, literacy is profoundly linked to culture. First, a comprehensive idea of Digital Information Literacy should be based on resilience and trust. Everyone’s epistemic rights are essential for resilient democratic societies. Furthermore, digital literacy is not only related to understanding data economy and what kind of policies are performed by governs. Actually, ours is a multi-crisis world where individuals are safe if and only if we understand and trust each other. Therefore, the contemporary political landscape requires three-level trust: political power; knowledge organisations; and individual. To achieve this purpose, we need to develop (critical) dialogue by also improving empathy and tolerance.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 1 Finally, a balance between innovation and regulation still need to be found, as witnessed by current reactions to AI and rules to prevent child and sexual abuse. On the one hand, when it comes to protection the individual, social, and political levels must be all taken into account to shape policies. On the other, these regulations should carefully consider our pluralistic society: even though facts exist beside opinions (thereby the relevance of fact-checking), political decisions must avoid performing epistemic violence

Source: https://comment.eurodig.org/eurodig-2023-messages/workshops/workshop-2-digital-information-literacy-as-a-modern-civic-skill-a-finnish-perspective/