In modern day society, it is impossible to avoid the constant exposure to types of media. Media literacy is a skill that can help audiences not fall victim to persuasive traps from producers of the media.


Media literacy is defined as “The ability to critically analyse stories presented in the mass media and to determine their accuracy or credibility.” This ability is what helps you sort fake news from real news and find the values and ideas promoted in a show or movie. All media is constructed in some way meaning that there are intentional messages and meanings in all forms of media that can create influence on audiences. While there may be a certain message coded into the media, audiences are more likely to interpret the meaning in a way that confirms their own previous beliefs and conceptions which can lead to harmful information being further spread to other people.


Another way that messages in media can spread is through a consensus. Audiences are more likely to believe the opinions of the masses rather than a solitary opinion. This is how trends are created and the reason people feel the need to fit into a group. This type of way of spreading messages is often through advertisements which make audiences feel like the odd one out by not owning a product or paying for a service. 


Media literacy can also prevent audiences from falling for disinformation. Disinformation can be used to distract audiences using misleading information and statistics. Disinformation is often used to cover up malicious acts by using misdirectional information that can distract from those malicious acts. Propaganda is an extreme form of disinformation that is typically used by governments to promote patriotic ideals. This type of propaganda were used in the two World Wars to persuade more people to join the war effort or create negative depictions of the opposition.   


How to become more media literate 

  • Find for more facts and information about the subject
  • Asking who made the media and what purpose does it has
  • Look for bias 
  • Find different perspectives on the subject 
  • Check reliable sources 


Media literacy is necessary to get the best out of media and avoiding harmful misinformation.