Category: Beirutna

Media Literacy 101

“Do you consider yourself media literate? Of course I am I read the news everyday!” A person who reads the news everyday doesn’t mean that he/she is media literate. In order to be considered a media literate citizen, one should be able to see through the prejudices and stereotypes and distinguish facts from opinions. Not only distinguishing, but also questioning the authenticity of the source of information being used. I believe that being media literate is having the power to deconstruct a media message; to be able to identify who created it, and what is the underlying hidden message beneath it. It is the power to decide what information to accept and what to reject. Furthermore, a media literate person should be immune to all sorts of biases.

We often tend to take the word bias for granted as if its only about political biases, where as this term describes a general tendency towards any specific ideology or perspective. Bias can be based on race, gender, age, religion, and physical appearances. Ever since I was young I have this preconception that good reporters are ‘beautiful’ and dress in a typical manner. The media created a virtual image in my mind of how a sound figure should look like. I think this is a very important challenge that media poses on its audience especially those who are young and haven’t developed ‘bias detectors’. We, as media consumers, tend to think of those who look ‘good’ or dress ‘nice’ as authentic and trustworthy. Mass media defines a set of physical characteristics that are considered ‘beautiful’ and desirable in our society. Those messages are skewed towards an ideal body image that promotes a certain type of people regardless of their authenticity.

There is no specific course that one can take to become media literate; rather it is a process that teaches us how to be skeptical as media consumers. Media literacy is not only the ability to reject certain messages but also the ability to correct them and relate them to our personal life. A possible solution to this challenge is informing young generations about physical biases and how ‘beautiful’ isn’t always right. It starts with a basic understanding of personal biases whereby they become aware of their individual discriminations. Then they pass on this knowledge to analyze media messages and detect the biases they pose on others around them. With media literacy being taught at an early age, we will develop a conscious nation that is critical and objective.


“The road safety situation in Lebanon is already a cause for great concern, with more than twice as many deaths per 100,000 vehicles and 100,000 populations than any Western European country, and the number of vehicles and the traffic is rapidly increasing.” (YASA)


If I stop at a red light in the middle of the night, when there is no other car on the street, then I would be considered a foolish driver in Lebanon! In what context is that acceptable? Is it normal to be considered ‘abnormal’ if I stop at red light?
Most of the Lebanese citizens do not respect regulations regarding road safety. People often argue that: “Its too late or impossible to change now”, or they claim that even if they did adhere to traffic lights, it won’t make a difference. We often consider the issue of road safety as low priority in Lebanon. However recently the amount of car accidents and deaths caused by irrational driver’s mistake has increased dramatically. In November 2010, the Lebanese government implemented strict regulations and laws regarding road safety: stop signs, traffic lights etc… Unfortunately we started following the rules for like a month or so but then everything went back to the way it was. This mentality is what I’m trying to highlight in this picture. I’m trying to tell people from all around the world that one CAN make a difference. We don’t have to lose one of our close friends or family in order to start the change. It can start with a personal initiative and the rest will follow. It is never too late to change!

This 1 minute recording gives a general view of how women percieve themselves in Lebanon. It also portrays how media negatively affects women and pushes them to resort to plastic surgeries to look like those digitally idealized icons presented on Television, magazines and billboards.

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