ASSOCIATION MEDIA LITERACY COALITION
The current project proposal aims to give foundational media literacy skills to elderly people, so they will be able to enjoy their online communications safely, distinguish fake news and take an informed part in civic discussions. The main strategy of the project involves media literacy education of elederly people in different Bulgarian communities through the partnership with Community centres network and libraries and training for their staff for trainers and mentors.
Small communities and towns in the poverty-struck regions in Bulgaria
The aging population in the EU is a phenomenon acknowledged by all the member-states. But very little is done to inform and engage the ageing population so they can take an active part in the discussion on the most important EU topics. Elderly people who go online to increase their social connectivity are easily targeted by fake information and very often fall victim of abuses related to personal data and online frauds. In some remote villages the community centres and the libraries are the only places with computers and internet where seniors citizens have the possibility to communicate with their loved ones and emigrant children.
The media literacy education will give the possibility to the senior citizens to become an informed and active part in the social media discussions on current issues, to have critical views on the media news and to make informed decisions for their communities. In the remote villages and small towns in Bulgaria the senior citizens are the main inhabitants and their decisions are critical for the local reforms and administration
The main beneficiary group are the senior citizens from small regional towns and villages. This group is excluded from the informed debate and is the main target group of manipulations and abuses from political parties and groups of interest. Besides being a constant target of the anti EU propaganda, Bulgaria’s population is in last place in the EU when it comes to media literacy skills (according to the Media literacy index 2019, Institute “Open society-Sofia”). Needless to say that the elederly population is the most vulnerable to propaganda and anti EU sentiment. The Eurostat data show that between 2014 and 2018 the internet users in the rural area increased from 44% to 61%.
The main strategy of the project involves media literacy education of elederly people in different Bulgarian communities through the partnership with the Community centres network and libraries. The first stage of the project will prepare the staff of the libraries and community centres so they will be able to give themselves training.
The second part will envisage several training in small communities, organised in the local libraries with the support and mentorship of the MLC. The training for the senior citizens will teach them how to distinguish fake information and profiles on social media, fraudulent emails, how to protect their personal data and at the same time being able to communicate, create content and share information.
The project will have two expected results:
Trained trainers and mentors in media literacy in the small communities and libraries. This target group is very important as it has influence on its local community. Their critical perspective on the news information will be useful for more informed debate on local level.
Senior citizens in small town and rural areas are empowered with media literacy skills, able to distinguish fake or manipulated information and to make more informed decisions.
The anti democratic propaganda (in the online and traditional media) is a phenomenon that affects the whole EU and its main target is the European democratic system. In Bulgaria, the group that is most affected by the propaganda are the senior citizens nostalgique to their youth during the age of communism. They are an easy target for populists, external and internal manipulation against democracy. The project will provide this target group with the ability to have critical views on the information on the social media and traditional media.
The exclusion of the senior citizens from the active civic life has real negative consequences for them and for the entire society. Their willingness to be a an active part of the society is ignored, which gravely affects the quality of their life. The group is the most inclined to vote for antidemocratic parties. This negative trend hinders the efforts for liberal reforms and progressive approach in several areas. The mission of the MLC is the media literacy development in the whole society and this specific group is the most in need. That is why MLC elaborated educational program adapted to the needs of the senior citizens. My personal story is related to the North region in Bulgaria, where the ageing population is abandoned by the state and that is why I plan the first training there.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Adaptation for online training: 1000
Train the trainers academy for MLC members: 2000
Train the trainers and mentors academy in the country: 9 000
Training for elderly people provided by the local trainers: 9 000
Personal costs: 18 000
Public relation: 1000
Office expenses: 3000
All kind of feedback will be useful! If the other participants have some information of other initiatives dealing with senior citizens with media literacy, I would be grateful to have contacts for sharing experience.