This year's Fulbright Programs Seminar on Media Literacy in Berlin takes up a central issue for democratic societies around the world, and an issue which our attendees — US English Teaching Assistants in Germany, and the German grantees intended for the United States -- are or will be confronted with: the complexity of the fast-changing media landscape and the increasing incidence of false news, fake news, and mis- and disinformation. The Seminar on Media Literacy will take a closer look at the challenges and explain what you can do to counter them.
Why does media literacy matter so much? Because the future of democracy depends on the health of our media landscape and our responsible practices as consumers of information. Fake and false news, and misinformation can cause hatred and prejudice, feed confusion and doubt, and undermine mutual respect, compromise and democratic decision-making. As Fulbrighters, as informed citizens, we each have a role to play in strengthening the underpinnings of democratic discourse and governance. If each of us embrace and apply tools of media literacy in all our activities and with those we encounter, we will move closer to the positive and well-informed civic engagement needed to preserve democratic governance. The Seminar´s introductory sessions and hands-on activities with LEAD and LieDetectors will teach the Fulbright grantees how to recognize and handle fake news and online disinformation; and it will also offer examples of how news literacy can be integrated into the curriculum of the classroom. Especially in polarized communities it is crucial to provide schools and students access to the training of media literacy.
Last but not least, this weekend is about coming together, getting to know each other, and about sharing experiences. It will equip our Fulbrighters to-be with important know-how and practical tips to prepare them for their stay abroad. Networking sessions and alumni events will introduce the Fulbrighters to the exciting opportunities which Fulbright Germany and its binational network of more than 40.000 alumnae:i provides.