Media and information literacy (MIL): “big national cause”? – Nasuko

Media literacy, which remains something invented to translate it into public policy terms, is now producing major publicity effects. Many people want to make media and information literacy (MIL) a priority project, or even a “big national cause”. Commendable intention … to have every chance to remain a wishful thinking if, in the context of consistently low investment in the education sector (especially!), Real means are not devoted to its implementation. In addition, the MIL is now an area of ​​struggle, where tensions may arise between librarian teachers -pioneers of information -documentary learning in school -, their supervisory ministry (National Education) and other organization, where journalists ’associations seem to expect this. The same field will continue to grow with a broad market to invest in …


Let us recall that media education, or rather the transformation of the questions associated with it, was implicated in France in the 2015 attacks, particularly those made against the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdoprior to the launch of various political initiatives and declarations in 2016. Since then, it has continued to be put forward as a priority goal of education, under the dominant name of media and information literacy, and as a response to the crisis of poverty. reliance on the media, where the Yellow Vest movement, the Covid crisis, or the war in Ukraine have exacerbated.

However, and as the collective “La Friche” and EDUMedias rightly know, EMI is now a market [1]full of restrictions, difficulties and conflicting orders: defense of “freedom of expression”, promotion of “Republican values”, development of critical thinking and … “restoration of trust” in the media [2] “.

In addition to announcing the abolition of the audiovisual license fee – which would weaken public broadcasting – Emmanuel Macron’s first term [3] ended with the publication in January 2022 of a report, “Enlightenment in the digital age”, written by the commission headed by Gérald Bronner.

In his mission letter sent in September 2021, the Head of State, marked a “surprise in the destruction of the information landscape, with access to social networks and video sharing platforms from the most early young age continues to grow, [et pouvant] take away our most precious: our national unity, our democratic system inherited from the Enlightenment ”, stated that he wanted to start“ a broad debate. […] likely to provoke a collective commotion ”.

So invited to ” make suggestions in the field of education “, the Bronner commission did not recommend anything less than making the development of critical spirit and the MIL, a” great national cause [4]a priority goal of democracies “.

Ministerial unrest and media tribune

Following this binding recommendation, the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports announced on January 24, 2022 that it wanted to promote “ a new dynamic for media and information literacy » [5].

On the same day was also published the “Vademecum for media and information education”, designed by the ministry, in collaboration with CLEMI and the Ministry of Culture. [6].

Apparently unconvinced of this institutional turmoil, other organizations, “field actors” and various personalities (full list here), likely after the International Journalism Conference [7] published a column titled “Media education actors challenge Emmanuel Macron”, on the Mediaeducation platform (May 31). This platform, where many signatories were in Assises, was then taken over by many press titles, such as The voice of the North [8], Western France, growth, Provence, The Dispatchthe DNA, The Mountaine, France Info or even 20 minutesThe

The forum’s authors, according to Bronner’s report, declared themselves “ extreme anxiety “for young people” now finds itself helpless in the face of the constant flow of information, posts and messages, the reliability and importance with which it struggles to evaluate. “. They came to the conclusion that” in school, millions of students have left their school without acquiring the skills necessary to apply their citizenship to the digital age “, and claim before it,” to create without delay a “media and information literacy fund” [qui] can be funded by the state and a fraction of the digital business tax [et] support actors in the field, in direct contact with public authorities and elected officials, at the national and local levels “.

The list of signatories indicates that this forum was written by ” a coalition of ground actors “and he” received the support of 50 associations, companies, education and popular educational structures and 100 personalities involved in the field of media education “.” Media education actors “, no doubt, but not all actors. Because there are a few missing, and not the least: the librarian teachers.

Marginalization of librarian teachers

Whether they come from the Ministry of National Education or from this “coalition”, the initiatives mentioned above are coldly welcomed by the Association of National Education Documentalist Teachers (APDEN), announcing it in an open letter to the Minister in Education. , Jean-Michel Blanquer (February 2, 2022) and in a press release titled “Let’s ask for teaching resources for EMI!” (Posted June 1, 2022) .What are their reviews?

First of all, APDEN regrets, despite its efforts within the working group led by CLEMI, for failing to convince the Minister. the need to provide media and information literacy with a clear and accurate framework for implementation, in which all basic teachings can benefit » [9]. The association thus raises as from the manifestation of ministerial will ” to establish “a progressive and structured education”, written “at the heart of the education project and lessons” without getting to provisions that will allow this ambitious and less important project to take shape » : in a word, specifically financial, human and pedagogical.

As for the platform, APDEN is definitely involved ” the concern of these media professionals and these intervention structures in the school context “, but he can’t get his account” neither their diagnosis nor their suggestions “. Regarding the diagnosis, the association rejects the easy contradiction between” digital platforms [accusées] to relieve a bad situation [et] media in which one must have complete confidence »And on the other hand promotes the acquisition of students in« diverse, solid knowledge, through civic and political education, which is now reduced to a minimum in programs, but also through inadequate philosophical, sociological and economic school methods “. For this, APDEN calls for the necessary” pedagogical approach […] where the Association of Documentalist Teachers of National Education has been fighting for decades, with remarkable resonances “. It might be, for example, in -depth work on the skills and knowledge to be taught as well as designated time for Information Culture and media in middle school and high school “but also” sufficient number of these teachers in the establishments, up to one certified librarian teacher per establishment and one additional post for every 400 students “.

These reactions from APDEN are part of a general context marked by the lack of recognition in which librarian teachers have suffered over the years. [10]. And thus APDEN raises, in its open letter to the Minister, the following paradox:

Keeping in mind, as the vademecum did, that librarian teachers have a central role in implementing EMI, does not fit with severe cuts in the number of competitive examination positions. as well as, to date, the complete absence of progress in reducing the unequal treatment imposed on us. [11].


These different EMI actors agreed on the desire to improve EMI and to acquire ways at stake length. However, two concepts of a public media literacy policy have emerged. On the one hand, librarian teachers, like other teachers [12]has always criticized the consistently low investment that feeds school dysfunctions, fails to provide a real media education, that is consistent in its content and its purposes, as long as this broad field does not benefit from the dedicated time and teachers are trained and available to ensure this [13].

On the other hand, the authors of the rostrum, by calling for the creation of a ” media and information literacy fund state -funded, seems content to see EMI become a broad market, even if it is public. The Head of State, in his mission letter addressed to the Bronner commission, did not himself recognize that ” revolution […] Virtual has real effects: positive, if they allow communities of enthusiasts to meet to discuss topics without investing in the market. »? Like media criticism?

Acrimed can only share – in part – the demands of each other that one day the trends around media literacy will be transformed into real public policy. But will it be included in the “School of the future” agenda that Emmanuel Macron wants? Hard to judge. For our part, we want this “media education” to be done with a truly critical purpose. A completely different debate on its content, beyond the diagnosis and the resources allocated, where we are sure we will have a chance to get back …

Nils Solari

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