Meetings/workshops gathered various stakeholders with the aim of improving MIL in Bosnia and Herzegovina. An Advisory Group for Promoting MIL was created, Declaration on the Importance of MIL in B&H adopted, and an initiative launched for the adoption of the strategic framework for MIL in B&H.
By Emir Vajzović, PhD
Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo hosted the first meeting/workshop which gathered representatives of governmental institutions, civil society organizations and individuals active in the field of development and promotion of media and information literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
An Advisory Group for Promoting Media and Information Literacy was established at this meeting (held in January 2019) consisting of experts from relevant fields for the development of media and information literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The core activity of the Advisory Group will be the development of strategic documents, policies and practices that can enhance media and information literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will include representatives of civil society, media, institutions responsible for education, culture, media and communication, representatives of IT sector, etc.
This informal group of experts aims to become the cornerstone for the future development of this important area in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Photo: Faculty of Political Sciences University of Sarajevo
Doc. dr. Emir Vajzović from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo, emphasized the interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to the formation of this body, and stressed that the Faculty of Political Sciences University of Sarajevo through the project "Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey" establishes a partnership among decision makers and academics, civil society, education sector experts, and promotes strengthening the role of the library in order to adopt quality strategic solutions in this area.
"The University of Sarajevo is continually working on a research and scientific response to social challenges through an interdisciplinary approach. Until now, this Project demonstrates the necessity and importance of the role of the academic community as the core from which changes can be made in this area.“
Mediacentar Executive Director Maida Muminović said that forming an Advisory Group is important to identify all the activities currently taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to develop a common communication platform.
"First of all, we will achieve better mutual information and ensure that all current programs rely on each other and are developing together. In addition, we want to ensure the existence of a common and efficient platform for contributing to the development of media and information literacy strategies in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
The Declaration on the Importance of the Media and Information Literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina was also adopted at this meeting. This document has a professional, scientific and moral significance for further advocacy in the field of media and information literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Second workshop "Media and Information Literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina" was held at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Banja Luka, in February 2019.
Photo: Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Banja Luka
Attendees agreed that MIL is almost not mentioned in B&H public policy documents. This, however, does not mean that various aspects of MIL are not covered by legal decisions. Hence, media legislative framework, in general, promotes freedom of expression, limits undue influence on the media, and establishes the professionalism of the media in terms of acceptable restrictions on freedom of expression. In certain educational strategies, the need for changing the classroom approach is emphasized, by shifting the focus from “teachers” to “learners” and implicitly refer to MIL competencies, such as searching and accessing information, assessing sources and critical thinking.
The academic community in B&H, non-governmental organizations, experts, activists and other citizens, signatories to the “Declaration on the importance of media and information literacy in B&H”, have launched an initiative for the adoption of the strategic framework for MIL in B&H. The expected outcomes of this initiative are the development of positive legal regulations, the adoption of strategies in accordance with the competencies of all levels of government, adequate allocation of public funds for the research and integration of media and information literacy in the educational system in an enforceable and sustainable manner, raising awareness of the importance of MIL, and the promotion of MIL in lifelong learning.
Third workshop "Media and Information Literacy in BiH" was held at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Mostar in March 2019. Attendees agreed that media and information literacy should be part of educational reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that cooperation is necessary so that media and information literacy become integrated into the formal and informal education system. The importance of promoting media literacy and information literacy in lifelong learning was highlighted too.
Photo: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Mostar
These workshops were organized under the project "Building trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey" (EU-UNESCO) and the "Media for Citizens – Citizens for the Media" (EU), with the aim of enabling inter-sector discussion on media and information literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as initiating the process of creating specific recommendations on the integration of media and information literacy into the system of formal and informal education.
The promotion of media literacy and information literacy as well as intercultural competencies among the citizens is a key activity of UNESCO's strategy of promoting the knowledge society and supporting the development of free and independent media and universal access to information and knowledge as prerequisites for achieving societal development.