‘Facts Matter’ – CARICOM Secretary-General Stresses Media, Information Literacy – St. Lucia Times News

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Dr. Carla Barnett has stressed that facts matter and emphasised the importance of media and information literacy in a virtual address Tuesday to the 53rd Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU).

Barnett noted that much print, air-time, and social media chatter have been devoted to the role of the media.

” Its capacity to educate, inform, and to disseminate opinion has a major effect on any society,” she observed.

“The growth of non-traditional media has been at the heart of social and political change globally for the last two decades: news fed directly into our TVs our computers and our phones,” the CARICOM Secretary-General noted.

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But said that, unfortunately, misinformation and disinformation move as fast as factual information, resulting in serious and at times, fatal consequences.

” This was evidenced starkly and sadly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the drive to vaccinate the population,” she recalled.

“The need for reliable, accurate, and timely information is always great. Plainly put, facts matter,” Barnett said.

“We are inundated on social media platforms with the wide swathe of opinions, the spread of alternative realities by proponents of disparate truths of all stripes who have little regard for truth, accuracy, or reality, but have significant following across society,” the CARICOM official asserted.

Barnett said this underscores the importance of media and information literacy.

“Given the all-pervasive nature and influence of social media, in particular, there is the case for strengthening the delivery of these two subject areas – logic and critical thinking in our school system to develop a discerning and critical approach to assessing information,” she observed.

According to Barnett, this would have the added benefit of bolstering democracy by helping citizens to make informed judgments and not become echo chambers for disinformation.

She said it could also help to lift the level of media debate, as more reliable information begins to permeate through the channels of discussion.

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