Since 2014, the IfPuK has been participating in the Media and Digital Literacy Academy in Beirut (MDLAB) as part of a DAAD project led by Prof. Carola Richter. “Media and digital literacy” describes the creation of awareness about media and is understood as a sustainable learning project. Citizens should develop an awareness that media content is constructed and that certain corporate or political interests can also stand behind it. This awareness should empower them to critically question media content and expose propaganda. At the same time, they should learn to use digital media as a tool for articulating their own convictions and opinions – but with ethical and professional approaches.
The two-week academy in August 2018 at Lebanese American University in Beirut was attended by scholars and students from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon in particular. Dr. Anna Antonakis from Freie Universität Berlin and five bachelor’s and master’s students from various faculties took part.
In the first week, the participants received input from international scientists such as Dr. Sohail Dahdal and Dr. Gretchen King. The lectures covered a broad spectrum of topics, including the political economy of news, data protection, and surveillance in social media, and women as war correspondents. Propaganda strategies of modern terrorist groups were also analysed by MDLAB founder and FU cooperation partner Prof. Jad Melki. The second week focused on the concrete implementation of media literacy in media production and teaching.
The students worked on their own projects and were introduced to programs and techniques of data visualization and video editing. At the same time, the scientists developed concrete “media literacy” curricula to be implemented in their home universities. The programme was completed by film screenings and panel discussions, which were also accessible to a wider public and in which Dr. Anna Antonakis participated with her lecture “From #taharrush to #me_too: Feminist Media Mobilization”.