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Media Literacy and Its Significance in the Modern World: Critical Essay

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The term ‘literacy’ has been used over the years to refer to the ability to read and/or write text. However, the last century has given way to image-based discourse as an addition to text-based discourse. Most people across the globe can now access much information from television, the Internet, and other information and technology platforms. Textual literacy is no more a sufficient criterion for one’s ability to comprehend and utilize communications media. Consequently, ‘media literacy’ has become an indispensable skill in today’s world. It refers to the ability to critically consume and produce media. Some of the activities involved in media literacy include sifting through and examining the messages that inform, entertain, and broadcast to millions daily. A person is therefore considered to be media literate if they are in a better position to decode the sophisticated messages that come in their way from television, newspaper, magazines, billboards, video games, and the Internet. The primary objective of media literacy is to offer media consumers more freedom by educating them on how to examine, access, appraise, and generate media.

Media is undoubtedly exerting significant influence within societies and cultures. The general perception of reality is shaped by the nature of information and images accessed via the media. Before the era of media, virtually all cultures relied on storytellers derived from the communities. They included friends, family, or specific people in a community renowned for storytelling. However, this is no longer the situation in the contemporary world as the most established storytellers are television, video games, movies, music, and now, increasingly, the Internet. A comparison between narratives and the current media reveals some glaring differences in how information is conveyed. In typical narratives, for instance, the storyteller passes information to their audience as something that happened in the past. The communities receive the information as an event of the past and draw lessons from the narrative. On the other hand, media platforms have almost eliminated the element ‘past nature’ of most stories. Images and stories are presented as though they are taking place in the present.

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There is certainly a strong correlation between how media and culture influence each other. For media to influence a given culture, it has to serve as a mirror or rather a reflection of that culture. Those generating media must tailor them to appeal to the audience so that information therein may sink into their minds. The information and images formed then form the basis of the promotions. Music is one of the most popular ways to display media literacy in today’s world. By recording their music and distributing them through channels such as radio, the Internet, television, etc., artists have been able to shape the manner people behave and even their attitudes toward certain things. For example, pop music has altered American culture over the years. Similarly, the media has influenced society’s understanding and acceptance of cultural practices. In this era of information and technology, information travels very fast and different cultures exchange information. This results in some cultures being absorbed or rather modified by others.

In conclusion, media literacy has certainly found its way into the contemporary world and plays a significant role in the manner information is conveyed, analyzed, and understood.

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Media Literacy and Its Significance in the Modern World: Critical Essay. (2023, October 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Media Literacy and Its Significance in the Modern World: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 11 Oct. 2023,
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