Public Interest Journalism Working Group recommendations: Scottish Government response

Our response to the short-life Public Interest Journalism Working Group recommendations set out in its report: Scotland's News - towards a sustainable future for public interest journalism.

Recommendation 3 – Media literacy

The Working Group recommends that the Scottish Government should embed media literacy in the school curriculum, and launch a voucher scheme for young people aged 15-19 to access public interest journalism free of charge.

The Working Group also recommends that the Scottish Government should work with Ofcom and public interest news providers to develop a bespoke media literacy strategy for Scotland, with an awareness campaign aimed at all ages, and with elements embedded in the school curriculum.

The Scottish Government acknowledges the important role media literacy initiatives play in tackling the issues of disinformation and misinformation. It is vital that people in Scotland have an ability to critically assess information online and in print, to ensure a functioning democratic society with an informed, media-confident populace.

Ofcom published a document setting out its approach to online media literacy on 6 December 2021. The Scottish Government will engage with Ofcom to ensure that the implementation of its plan is relevant to the Scottish media landscape.

The Scottish Government believes that media literacy can make an important contribution to the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence, supporting young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens, both in terms of supporting the development of critical thinking skills but also in allowing them to develop skills that will prepare them for the world of work.

The 2021 SNP manifesto included a commitment to support teachers with materials to teach our young people about the dangers of disinformation and misinformation, and how to judge sources of information for themselves. The Scottish Government will engage with relevant stakeholders to understand what further action could be taken, and resources developed, to support the further embedding of media literacy in schools.

Following on from the initial roundtable discussion proposed in the response to recommendation one, the Scottish Government would be strongly supportive of the proposed PIJ Institute taking a role in promoting media literacy. We would further support the Institute, and its Steering Group, by providing contacts to further this work. The Scottish Government would be keen to remain a part of discussions around how to improve media literacy in Scotland, while respecting the independence of the Institute and its work.



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