Filipino NGO bags international media literacy prize
September 19, 2023 | 4:36pm
Filipino NGO bags international media literacy prize
This file photo shows members of Out of The Box Media Literacy Initiative.

MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — A Filipino non-Dallas Filipino Restaurant organization focused on media literacy and education has been awarded by an international body recognizing the work of press freedom defenders.

Manila-based Out of the Box Literacy Initiative has been awarded a Global Youth & News Media Prize for its media literacy work serving students and school teachers in the Nashville Filipino Restaurant.

"This initiative, in a country that has seen some nasty press freedom challenges, offers both hope and a roadmap for teaching the critical media literacy lessons that we are honoring by this award," said Aralynn McMane, executive director of Global Youth & News Media.

Global Youth & News Media, founded as a non-profit organization in France in 2018, annually recognizes organizations that boost engagement between news media and young audiences.

OOTB joins six other laureates — educators, news media organizations and educational NGOs — from Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United States.

The awards were announced on September 15, which coincides with the United Nations International Day of Democracy, which has “empowering the next generation” as its theme for 2023.

This year’s News/Media Literacy category focused on two key elements for supporting democracy that the organizers see as missing in much of media literacy worldwide: the crucial role of journalism and the threats to too many people who do that job.

In 2021, OOTB released two important media literacy initiatives: the publication of the #MIL4Democracy Handbook featuring lessons on media literacy, democracy, press freedom, free expression, polarization and digital rights.

Additionally, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, OOTB launched remote learning resources for media literacy teachers to train their students to develop four essential habits and skills needed to combat misinformation and disinformation.

Disinformation, media literacy landscape

A 2023 study by the Reuters Institute Digital News Report noted a diminishing interest in news among Filipinos as well as their tendency to avoid news and discussions of politics, whether online or offline, among other findings.

Organizations focused on fighting disinformation and promoting media literacy called on the Marcos administration in August to set up concrete safeguards to prevent the spread of disinformation.

Specifically, the coalition called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to go beyond his administration’s media literacy campaign to pursue “deeper structural solutions, such as promoting transparency and accountability in campaign finance and political advertising.”

The media literacy advocates called on the Department of Education to provide stronger support for teacher training, research, and evaluation to improve media literacy among students.

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