quinta-feira, janeiro 22, 2004

Jowell: TV as Important as Maths

By Sherna Noah, Arts Correspondent, PA News

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has sparked controversy by saying that learning to watch television should be as important as maths or science.

Ms Jowell said she believed that ?decoding? the media will become as important in life as understanding great literature.

The Culture Secretary was speaking last night in advance of a conference on media literacy organised by the UK Film Council, Channel 4, the British Film Institute and the BBC, which she will address next week.

She said: ?I believe that in the modern world, media literacy will become as important a skill as maths or science.

?Decoding our media will be as important to our lives as citizens as understanding great literature is to our cultural lives.?

She added: ?As the electronic media environment grows and diversifies, we need to ensure that we give the public the tools they need to make their way through the electronic world.

?Everyone needs to be able to decode the way the media works, questioning everything in order to understand everything.?

Ms Jowell has given Ofcom, the new communications watchdog, a specific duty to promote media literacy, but she has also appealed to the communication industries to play their part.

She believes that if consumers take more personal responsibility for what they watch it would ?lessen the need for regulatory intervention?.

Ms Jowell said: ?We need to make sure that people are equipped to understand and interpret this mass of communication: to differentiate between opinion and fact; to make sense of what they see and hear; and to challenge and question it.

?And it is important that we know when we are watching ?accurate and impartial? news coverage and when we are not.?

People should be equipped to protect themselves and their families from material they might find harmful or distasteful, she said.

The comments were criticised by the Campaign for Real Education for encouraging students to turn their backs on ?hard subjects? such as maths and science for ?soft? subjects like media studies.

Chairman Nick Seaton said: ?Studying literature helps to understand exactly what something is about, and this skill can then be applied to other forums.

?There is a serious deficit of young people carrying on with individual sciences, maths and foreign languages.

?Remarks like this encourage youngsters to study the sort of subjects like media studies when they would be better spending their time studying ?hard? subjects.?

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