The Importance of Media Literacy

What is Media Literacy and why is it so important?

Media Literacy is the ability or skills to critically analyse for accuracy, credibility, or evidence of bias the content created and consumed in various media, including radio and television, the internet, and social media. (Source:

Digital Literacy is a part of Media Literacy and specifically applies to media from the internet, smartphones, video games and other non-traditional sources.   

These days anyone can publish information on the internet.  How we interpret information can affect how we think, how we vote and how we view others.  There has been lots of misleading (and dangerous) information circulating around the Pandemic.  Media literacy will help us learn how to avoid inaccurate news and remain properly educated about current events.

To critically read information and stop the spread of false information we need to:

Be aware of the different types of websites

There are millions of websites out there, understanding the types of websites available and their purpose is important.  Here are some examples.

Information sites provides facts on current affairs and special interests.  These can include newspaper sites such as The Irish Times, online dictionaries, and encyclopaedias. 

Opinion sites such personal blogs and YouTube gives the authors view on particular

Sales websites such as amazon and eBay provide an outlet for online shopping.

Entertainment sites are there to entertain the reader and can include humorous and engaging content as well as satirical content.  Unfortunately, sometimes people believe satirical content.  Most satire websites will describe themselves as being Satire. 

Understand the difference between bias, fact and opinion

Bias: the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way

Confirmation Bias: is the tendency to research for, interpret, and recall information in a way that support what we already believe 

(American View: Trust, Media, Democracy: Gallup/Knights Foundation 2018) 

Fact: something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information

Opinion: a thought or belief about something or someone:

Consider what tone and language does the author use, is it emotive, angry, persuasive? Is the purpose of the information to educate you or coax you into believing something.

Be able to identify false information.  

Here’s a couple of videos that will help guide you on how to identify false information

Some points to remember:

Images are very easy to manipulate.  Right click on the image and click search google for image

Be aware of fake social media accounts

Be aware of anonymous sources

Is it peer reviewed? I.e. has it been reviewed by other experts in the field.

Look at the URL, is it usually associated with the organisation?

Check the social media bio

Find more examples of Fake News here.

This guide was created by Andrea Dillon, Librarian/ Manager of Creative Arts and Digital Learning Centre, Blackrock College.

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