Promoting Media Literacy in Bangladesh

Target group

Secondary school students in Bangladesh

Country Partners Budget Duration
Bangladesh South Asia Center for Media in Development (SACMID) 44,077 EUR January 2018 - December 2018
Theory of Change Themes Donor
Intermediate Outcome 1, Intermediate Outcome 2, Intermediate Outcome 3 Audience engagement and research, Gender equality in media content, Media literacy

Context

The Bangladeshi government’s main agenda in 2018 was to digitalize the nation, but ‘Media Literacy’ was not part of the national discussion. Social media in particular has become a weapon for propaganda by abusing traditional beliefs and cultural emotions, thereby harming communities. It’s difficult for both teenagers and adults to differentiate between truthful and fake news without an education in media literacy.

 

 

Overall objective

Free Press Unlimited and SACMID wanted to bridge the gap between the Government, Media and Civil Society by initiating interventions in the field of effective media literacy and gender literacy. SACMID committed to research, lobbying, advocacy and dialogue in and around Dhaka City to bring Media Literacy to the national agenda in Bangladesh.

Intended outcomes

To make young people resilient to misinformation so that they can enjoy responsible and well-informed citizenship and therefore make a contribution to their society’s and the world around them.

Activities

  • The first initiative of the Media Literacy program was to conduct survey for high school students (aged 14-16 years) on their media habits, such as their media use frequency, satisfaction with, and acceptance of both internal or external services, print media, electronic text, social media, information technology, communication media, e-learning services, and IT hardware.
  • Round table discussion and presentation of the survey results 16th July 2018.
  • In August 2018 Media Literacy groups were formed in 10 schools with 247 students participating in total (50/50 gender balance)
  • Trialling the Media Literacy Content in schools in October 2018
  • A consultation meeting ‘Meet the Stakeholders’ in November 2018 to discuss the future plan for promoting media literacy in Bangladesh
  • SACMID conducted surveys in 16 schools with 500 participants (50/50 gender balance)
  • A Teachers’ Workshop for 20 secondary school teachers (mainly female)

Achieved outputs

  • Orientation workshop for SACMID staff, academics and school teachers (15th-18th April 2018)
  • Supporting SACMID’s workshop on Safety and Security (13th May 2018)
  • Development of media literacy content (Analyzing Media Message, Finding Reliable Information, Finding Sources, Do’s and Don’ts before sharing information on social media)
  • In September 2018 SACMID presented their experimental concepts to the National Curriculum and Text Book Board (NCTB)
  • Educational content also produced in Bangla language

Achieved outcomes

  • The discussants at the panel discussion for the survey results recognized and called for an urgent need to introduce media literacy to secondary school students. They emphasized the need for a safe, positive and rational use of media and information.
  • The program received enormous media coverage from all the largest print media house of Bangladesh and became widely known and discussed as a result.
  • SACMID¬† succeeded in drawing attention from academics and decision-makers to the emerging issue of the changing media landscape and media literacy

Achieved impact

SACMID and Free Press Unlimited were in contact with the National Curriculum & Textbook Board (NCTB) of Bangladesh about including media literacy as a subject in high schools in the next 10-year curriculum. NCTB cooperated with SACMID in all phases of this media literacy programme. The next change to content in national textbooks will take place in 2020 and will include Media Literacy.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Access to Information Program (A2I), the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Secondary (Ministry of Education of Bangladesh) and the Media Studies and Journalism Department, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, are joining as expert partners to realise this goal.

Role of FPU

Free Press Unlimited supported and trained the SACMID team throughout their project, from pilot and trial to presentation. Free Press Unlimited further provided experts who worked together with SACMID to set up the framework for the pilot.

Lessons learned / Challenges

At the beginning, SACMID struggled to get school authorities to cooperate with their student surveys, so they reached out to Bisshow Sahitto Kendra (BSK) for assistance, who have a country-wide network in schools.

As a small organisation, SACMID learned a lot about quick strategy changes in approaching big stakeholders.

 

More information

Media coverage of the SACMID program