As the supply of smartphones has increased and wireless Internet environments have been established, the existing TV-oriented media environments have changed rapidly. At the center of it is YouTube, another platform in smartphones used by people all over the world, regardless of gender or age. Just over 20 years ago, it was hard to find a job called a ‘YouTuber.’ However, since some time, YouTubers have topped the list of students’ future dreams. This shows how much influence the media has on our society. In the past, information-generating groups and people who used the produced information were thoroughly distinguished Information flowed in only one direction through TV, radio, and newspapers. However, as digital technology develops, many people can now produce information themselves and share information directly through individual platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The era of ‘one-man media’ was established. In a world where everyone has his or her own media, countless information is produced every day.
Nowadays, anyone can take pictures or write information and post them on the Internet. The boundaries between the media and similar media have long been broken down. Necertheless, at least in order to becalled the 'media,' the principle of fact-checking and vertification reporting must be followed. If there was a legitimate reason to believe that it was true and there was an attempt to confirm whether or not it was true, the media's responsibility will be exempted even if it is found not to be true later. It is the application of the reasonable law for defamation immunity. On the contrary, if you spread information without believing it to be true, you must take responsibility for it. The 'non-real' news written by the media without vertification and conviction can spread quickly.
Unverified information is overflowing in the flood of information. Such information is shared through individual social networks, causing confusion in society and physical and mental damage to someone as well. Media containing false and manipulated information, or the so-called ‘fake news,’ are prevalent. Fake news is a common phenomenon that occurs all over the world. Especially at a time when anxiety is spreading due to COVID-19, fake news is even more dangerous because it can cause confusion in our society.
Of course, there may be more people who don’t believe in fake news. However, fake news is often a mix of facts and lies to the extent that it is said to be made up of 90% facts and 10% lies. That’s why so many people believe in wrong information. We should focus on this, and deal with it effectively rather than reassuringly.
There is a concept that is suggested as an alternative to solving false and manipulated information problems. It is ‘media literacy.’ Media literacy is the ability to analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages expressed in various forms, such as writings, pictures, and images, to understand the media correctly. While this may be a somewhat unfamiliar concept, many countries are paying early attention to media education centered on media literacy. Recently, there have beenvoices in Korea that say media literacy education is needed mainly in academia, media circles, and educational institutions. Furthermore, as fake news related to COVID-19 has raised confusion, we have another reason to be alert to fake news and pay attention to media literacy.
The core of media literacy is critical thinking. Rather than taking for granted what we see and hear every day, we should not stop asking ourselves questions to accept information sensibly. Rather than just looking at the sensational headlines in numerous, deceptive articles, it is necessary to read between the lines of the news, and try to read the source of the phenomenon from various perspectives. Never take stereotypes and prejudices that we encounter on TV or in movies lightly.
Smartphones have become inseparable from us. It is no exaggeration to say that I spend 24 hours with my smartphone from the time I open my eyes till I go to sleep. Many people are active as the main consumers of online platforms across the media and the real world. Much attention must be paid to media literacy in order to survive in a digital technology society in the future.
Oh Joo-eun (News Editor)