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Open letter to transformation

“Media literacy is not just important, it’s absolutely necessary critical. It’s going to make the difference between wether kids are a tool of the mass media or wether the mass media is a tool for kids to use.” - Linda Ellerbee

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 46 seconds

© Rui Lima

Rui Lima participated in the 2nd phase of the “Transformation” Training Course, which took place in Statek Habří (Czech Republic) between June 26 and July 1. He shared with us his testimony of this experience:

After an emotional week of intense and good human connection between young individuals from Czechia, Poland, Portugal, Latvia, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Spain and Turkey, it was possible to find a series of toxic narratives promoted by the media in each of these countries, and create campaigns of counter-narrative to these messages.

In continuation of the first part of the program, the second part of this project, Transformation A2 - Trans-nation (June 26 - July 1, in Statek Habří, Czechia) brought the possibility to go beyond being able to distinguish the narratives that infiltrate in the means of dispersion and dissemination, and what they are, and actively give participants tools in creating counter-narratives. In the first part, the Portuguese participants, volunteers in our association, carried out a research activity with the other participants. This investigation took a look at current news in Portugal, - it allowed the identification of various ideas and perceptions of discrimination in the country against other ethnicities and nationalities; an exaggeration of coverage of some news topics, especially through “agenda setting”, which leads to the degradation and forgetfulness of others of great importance; and a widespread idea that politicians are not condemned or held accountable for their political actions, being untouchable when represented by the media.

These results served as the basis for the second part of the project.

A toxic narrative was found, and a counter-action campaign was created. 

To counteract this narrative, it was proposed to create a series of short videos of a comical nature, created by our association, and distributed, published on the online platform YouTube, on its own channel, functioning similarly to short episodes. The objective is to satirize the apparently peaceful character of the Portuguese, focusing on small details of the characteristics of the people in each different episode, promoting a change in behavior.

One culmination of the work carried out during the Transformation project is also the publication of the book “Transformation - stories of toxicity and redemption on media literacy and how media can impact our lives”, edited by Vojtěch Žák, from the Czech youth organization INspire, to be released in December 2023. The book is a collection of short texts and exercises that help the reader understand how the media influences the everyday reality: What is the environment and situations of the media in your country? What is bothering youth in Macedonia, Czechia, Poland, and other countries? This and more you will find out inside this work.

Thank you note:

A general “Thank you” to all participants, all the people I met. A “thank you” note to the trainers Vojtech and Gabriel, to Kateřina, also to all partners, and also to my missing partners Liliana and Bruno. All of them, including the ones not mentioned by name, made me feel at home, more than being at home.

The Training Course “Transformation” was held under the Erasmus+ Program and Agency for International Programs for Youth. If you want to know more about this and other programs, visit our Erasmus+ page and contact us. Don’t miss these opportunities!

Agora Aveiro