‘Facts matter’ – CARICOM Secretary General emphasizes media and information literacy

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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Dr. Carla Barnett stressed that facts matter and underscored the importance of Media and Information Literacy in a virtual address Tuesday at the 53rd Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU).

Barnett noted that a lot of posts, airtime and social media chatter have been devoted to the role of the media.

“Its ability to educate, inform and spread opinion has a major effect on any society,” she observed.

“The growth of non-traditional media has been at the heart of global social and political change over the past two decades: news is delivered directly to our televisions, computers and phones,” noted the CARICOM Secretary General.

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But said that, unfortunately, misinformation and disinformation move as fast as factual information, with serious and sometimes deadly consequences.

“This was blatantly and sadly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the campaign to vaccinate the population,” she recalled.

“The need for reliable, accurate and timely information is always great. Clearly, facts matter,” Barnett said.

“We are inundated on social media platforms with the wide range of opinions, the spread of alternate realities by the proponents of disparate truths of all persuasions who have little regard for truth, accuracy or reality, but who have a significant audience in society,” CARICOM said. official said.

Barnett said this highlights the importance of media and information literacy.

“Given the pervasive nature and influence of social media, in particular, there is a need to strengthen the delivery of these two subjects – logic and critical thinking in our school system to develop an informed and critical approach to evaluating information,” she observed.

According to Barnett, this would have the added benefit of strengthening democracy by helping citizens make informed judgments and not become echo chambers for misinformation.

She said it could also help raise the level of media debate, as more reliable information begins to seep into discussion channels.

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