New research findings
 
 Australian Communications and Media Authority

Research Findings: 14 May 2008

<http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_311154>

'Effective use of digital communications and media are increasingly
important for participation in Australian society, research finds.'

Appropriate skills and confidence in using new communications and media
services are increasingly important for participation in all aspects of
Australian society according to research released today by the Australian
Communications and Media Authority ..

Broadly defined, media literacy means the ability to access, understand
and create communications in a variety of contexts.

‘Promoting media literacy is a really important key to ensuring that
Australians are equipped with tools to make informed choices about media
and communications services and to enable people to participate
effectively in the digital economy,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman..

The review provides an impressive historical overview of the academic
literature surrounding media literacy in both traditional broadcast and
digital media environments and identifies educational and other
organisations involved in promoting media literacy in Australia and
overseas.

Key findings from the research are that:

Media literacy, whether in traditional or convergent media contexts, is
important for being engaged in society. Effective use of media and
communications services is increasingly a prerequisite to broader citizen
engagement including access to essential services.

While the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is narrowing in terms of
access to information and communications technologies, there is evidence
of a digital ‘use/literacy’ divide associated with socio-economic status,
age, workforce participation and household type.

The promotion of media literacy is an important prerequisite to effective
regulatory intervention designed to protect consumers, particularly for
online and mobile services.

An important conclusion of the research is that preparing young people to
deal confidently with a range of media in their education, social life or
in the workforce should be an increasing focus of media literacy
initiatives.

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