THE ROLE OF YOUTH IN RE-IMAGINING INTEGRATION IN EUROPE; CHANNELS TO SOCIAL INCLUSION AND EQUALITY FOR ALL
The media plays a crucial role in modern society. In its various forms it relays information to the public, and helps communities keep up to date with current events from around the world. Additionally, the media serves as a link between the world’s governments and its citizens, by informing the latter of the policies and practices of the former. This information helps the public to participate in civil society and in the political processes. Consequently, the media not only has enormous potential to influence perceptions and to sway opinions, but arguably also to shape events.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the freedom to hold opinions, and the right to express them. Although mainstream media outlets may each have their own rules and ethical standards, it is possible today for almost anyone to become a media producer using the internet. Meanwhile, as technology advances progressively, it facilitates the transmission of ever greater amounts of information, and to increasingly larger numbers of people, the flow, nature or
quality of information cannot be controlled. Consequently, it becomes every citizen’s responsibility to analyze whatever information that she or he receives before acting upon it.
The training course brought together participants from different countries and cultural backgrounds to study the news media, and to contrast different outlets’ portrayal of the same issues and events. The project encouraged all participants to exercise some caution towards the information they receive, while at the same time providing them with the tools necessary to assess it impartially, thoroughly, and above all rationally.
Aim – The training course supported civil society in participants’ countries by developing the competences of youth leaders from civil society organizations active in the field of non-formal learning.
Methodological approach provided the tools for participants to make their own analyses, and to reach their own conclusions. The project strived to present diverse (and often opposing) viewpoints on specific issues taken from the international media; participants are asked to assess each in turn, and then to contrast their conclusions with the others’. All analyses were supported by arguments and evidence.
The project’s training courses were led by small teams of facilitators whose only role is to moderate discussions. The analyses themselves were always done by participants themselves, working individually or in small groups. The emphasis was on peer education, and on interaction between and among all participants.
The project was neither for nor against any media or journalist. The methodology merely analyzed the information as it appeared to the public and identified whatever biases it may contain.