Media Literacy as a Key Element in the Fight against Disinformation
In the European Union, according to the poll by the European Commission more than a third of the population claims to be confronted by disinformation on a daily basis. 83% of respondents responded that fake news represents a danger to democracy. Another survey by the Center of Digital Media Literacy shows that 60% of the people in Switzerland, Austria and Germany (DACH Region) admitted that they shared „Fake news“ in the past via Social Media. 97% agree, that „Social Media Competence“ is important (28%) or crucially important (69%).
Digital Media Literacy is the competence, not only to use media in a proper way as a consumer but also as a responsible producer of the information. Nowadays users are „Gatekeepers“ and have a responsibility of not just producing the information but also spreading the information.
No matter if we call it „sharing“, „retweeting“, „reposting”, it is always crucial to re-check the information and consult different sources before we spread it. Digital media competence belongs to the key competences in today’s society. It’s not only marketing departments and celebrities that have to deal with social media and modern publishing technology these days.
Moreover, Digital Media Competence allows users not only to consume but also to produce and spread content in a proper way, which adds even more value in today’s society.
“Media Literacy is a „vaccine against disinformation” and a lot of other obstacles, which can appear especially online. Like a real vaccine, Media Literacy does not protect users 100% against disinformation but makes it much less likely to be „infected“ and reduces the harmful effect of the disinformation, when people are exposed to it.” Dietmar Pichler, Programmatic Director of the Vienna Center for Digital Media Literacy
Vision of the Center for Digital Media Literacy: the Digital Citizen
Being able to differentiate between true information, fake news and disinformation campaigns, users can use the information safely. With this competence, neither users reputation nor their employers are at risk. Digital media competence significantly contributes to the development of both open and evidence-based information society. We want to develop a society in which every user is aware of how to avoid risks and take advantage of the opportunities in the digital world.
The Center for Digital Media Literacy
The „Vienna Center for Digital Media Literacy“ was founded by Tobias Mayer and Dietmar Pichler in 2020. Its general mission is to help individuals, employees from various departments as well as large organizations develop Digital Media Literacy and raise awareness on the dangers of Disinformation. Today, every social media user has a responsibility towards their community, their employer, and their own reputation. We provide guidance on managing obstacles – not only to avoid mistakes but also to seize opportunities.
Vienna Center for Digital Media Literacy is a partner of the NGO “Unlimited Democracy”, led by Anna Pattermann:
“Unlimited Democracy supports the fight against disinformation because every democratic society is based on the opportunity for every citizen to get informed not only by various but also reliable sources. Disinformation, these days, is a weapon used by autocratic leaders.”
VCDM and UD started their cooperation in early 2021, they organize panel discussions and other awareness activities about Disinformation and Media Literacy.
Dietmar Pichler – BIO
Dietmar Pichler is an Austrian Media Literacy trainer, policy advisor and communication strategist.
The Vienna native has been active in Public Communication and Information in various functions for 15 years. Having obtained his Master’s degree in Communication Management, Dietmar Pichler took various university courses in Economy, International Relations, European Studies and Social Media. The early adopter has been focusing on social media since the early 2000’s, a time when those were known as Web 2.0 tools. „Today, social media presence and exchange are important not only in the field of Marketing but also to the society as a whole. That’s why Media Literacy is an asset both on private and professional levels!“ He believes that disinformation campaigns pose a challenge for every developed democracy; on the other hand, social media users also have to deal with this issue: „Not only do today’s users consume information- they also produce and spread it.“ Apart from his commitment to promoting digital media awareness, he is Co-founder of Vienna goes Europe (a non-partisan association and cooperation-partner of the European Parliament and Commission).
Since 2021 he is an active member and strategist at the Vienna based NGO “Unlimited Democracy”, founded by Anna Pattermann. “Unlimited Democracy” promotes democratic values in Austria on international topics, focused on Eastern Europe, especially the situation in Ukraine.