Published: 2020-01-14 14:43
Last Updated: 2020-01-14 14:43
IREX, an international development and education organization, has piloted new programs for media and information literacy across Jordan, it announced at an event in Amman on Tuesday. The programs, which promote healthier information habits and more responsible online behavior, have shown promising initial results. Participants in these “Learn to Discern” offerings were significantly better than a control group at detecting disinformation, analyzing news media articles critically and cross-checking sources.
At the event, Katya Vogt, IREX’s Global Lead for Media and Information Literacy, presented these results to a group of Jordanian academics, media professionals and representatives of international development agencies. The initiatives in Jordan are part of a broader effort by IREX to combat disinformation around the world. Learn to Discern has expanded to 11 countries, including the U.S.
“We live in the age of information abundance,” said Vogt. “It is a polluted environment with disinformation and manipulative content created and shared with a click of a button. Access is easy and intuitive as opposed to the skills required to navigate it. We need to recognize this and work on equipping citizens with media literacy to identify and reject disinformation and manipulation.”
Learn to Discern initiatives have been rolled out in governates across Jordan in the past two years. Over 2,000 Jordanians, including young people, university students, and adults, have learned new skills to process information more critically, cross-check information, and control their emotional reactions to manipulative stories.
In a study of one of the initiatives, called Families in the Digital Age, compared to a control group participants were: 78% more knowledgeable about the news media industry, 44% better at analyzing a misleading news article and 14% more likely to feel a sense of control over how they respond to the information that they consume.
“Through this work, we strive to change behavior,” Vogt said. “When you recognize your emotional reaction to information, you can pause and re-take control of your mind and make your own decisions – not what the manipulator wants you to do.”
A global development and education organization, IREX works with partners in more than 100 countries in four areas essential to progress: cultivating leaders, empowering youth, strengthening institutions, and increasing access to quality education and information. IREX has worked in Jordan since 2005, implementing development programs on gender equity and women’s empowerment, media and information, youth and education.