From the first minute of your re-election on April 24, you chose to walk through the crowd surrounded by children, sending a strong message to all your fellow citizens: Your new five-year term will be youth. In an increasingly fragmented society you want these young people to have a “developed world” and “better protect it”.
But these young men and women, who must face the enormous climate challenge and breathe new life into our aging democracy, today find themselves unarmed in the face of a constant flow of information, posts and messages, the reliability of which they are struggling to assess. And relevance. Not all young French people have the tools to form a conscious and healthy opinion, they are attracted to the dangerous spiral, which can lead to isolation and fundamentalism.
This curse affects all societies: no social class, no age group is spared. Today, one in three French people subscribes to a conspiracy theory. Belief in rationalism prevails. Many of our fellow citizens are moving away from medicine and science. Confidence in the media and institutions is at an all-time low, which directly endangers our democracy.
We, journalists, educators, teachers, researchers, trainers, popularizers, work in the field, come in contact with the public every day in embarrassment. And we are extremely worried.
At school, millions of students leave their institutions without acquiring the skills necessary to practice their citizenship in the digital age. Teachers do not benefit from adequate training to arouse students’ critical thinking. Often, media and information literacy, included in the curriculum but without specific time, is the sole responsibility of the individual entrepreneur. The lack of resources and resources allocated for this is obvious.
Outside the school, despite the investment of certain ministries, the support of field actors remains erratic and incomplete. Dozens of associations, places of knowledge and culture, business and committed citizens are fighting to protect the quality of information and to sharpen the critical consciousness of the French people. But this promise has been unevenly distributed throughout the region, to the point that the division of information now exacerbates existing social and economic divisions.
Mr. President, there is a value to the state’s failure in this regard: the platforms, largely responsible for the problem, run into this niche, to the detriment of independence and media diversity, without any guaranteed quality other than their own standards.
We, the actors and artisans of media and information literacy on a daily basis, today form a rich, diverse and inclusive alliance. We want to build a concerted and truly effective initiative across the continent.
Mr. President called on the situation to raise media and information literacy to the level of a great national objective.
To do this, we ask you to create a “Media and Information Literacy Fund” without delay. This fund can be financed by a fraction of the state and digital business tax. This will make it possible to support actors in the field by liaising directly with government authorities and elected officials at the national and local levels.
Establishing a true media and information literacy policy can be achieved at this cost. This investment is a great opportunity for France. An endless hope for this young man so dear to our hearts. Together, we will put France at the forefront of the fight against online confusion and manipulation, and we will build true citizenship in the digital age, everywhere and for all.
Mr. President, France is fortunate to have brought together countless actors on the field to build our country into an enlightened and reunited nation. Must have political will. The challenge is endless.
Are you ready to take it? A
See the full list of signatories and support this call here