Young people in North Macedonia: low level of media and information literacy

Author: Meri Gjorgjijoska

Due to the low level of media and information literacy in Macedonia, young people are often exposed to situations in which they cannot distinguish truth and facts from misinformation in the media.

Young people are the ones who should promote media literacy and on the other hand they are the ones who are most often subject to manipulation by the media.

This group of people lives "chained" to the wall of a cave, facing a blank wall, without contemplating to set themselves free.

The Macedonian Media Institute says that media literacy is a "link" that is missing in a comprehensive system for media education of both professionals and citizens, including young people.

The same is confirmed by the daily conflicts of interest that occur on social networks, due to the lack of critical thinking skills among young people and due to the irrelevant and unreliable information shared by media outlets.

"The lack of critical thinking, the lack of tools to access it and the lack of arguments in everyday communication are the result of a series of unimplemented or wrongly taken measures and are really "frightening" when they come to the surface." says the President of the Youth Education Forum.

In the past, through a series of debates, it was detected that more than ever effective reforms in the education system are needed to strengthen young people's critical thinking skills and raise the level of media and information literacy. Today, the situation is not much different.

What is needed to be done is to develop new tools and solutions that promote access to quality information among young people. In the first place, what will raise the media literacy, are activities that will strengthen the capacities of young people to recognize negative arguments and fake news, and activities that will give them critical thinking skills to “get out of the cave” and see the light. 

Here, civil society organizations that work with youth, and structural dialogues with representatives of local self-governments play a key role, which should result in a handbook for proper handling of media-shared posts that would contribute to more open thinking among young people and prevent manipulation.

Changing media habits among young people and the ability to recognize fake information will lead them to “get out of the cave” and not be more trapped and manipulated by the media.