6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media
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Croatia currently does not have a strategy solely devoted to media literacy and safe use of new media.
In the Strategy of Education, Science and Technology, the section dealing with primary and secondary education mentions the plans for implementing materials dealing with media literacy.
The Electronic Media Act (Zakon o elektroničkim medijima NN 111/21) dedicates some measures to the protection of young people from offensive and harmful content. The Act was adopted in 2009, while the last version of Act is from 2021. The Act specifies that it is not allowed to encourage, promote or extol violence and crime in audio-visual and radio programmes. Also, it is not allowed to encourage children and youth to consume tobacco products, alcohol, and drugs. Also forbidden are programmes which could impair their physical, mental or moral development, especially those presenting pornography or senseless violence. In the case of such programmes being aired, special measures are prescribed. The Act also envisions the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity in Electronic Media, from which content connected to media literacy is funded. The authority responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring is the Ministry of Culture and Media.
The Act also envisions the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity in Electronic Media, from which content connected to media literacy is funded.
The Agency for Electronic Media deals with issues of media literacy and the safe use of new media. The Director of the Agency is appointed by the Croatian Parliament. One of the internal units of the Agency is the Department for media analysis and monitoring. In 2015, the Agency for Electronic Media adopted the Ordinance on the Protection of Minors in Electronic Media (Pravilnik o zaštiti maloljetnika u elektroničkim medijima NN 28/2015). The Ordinance defines materials which could impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, the method of portraying and protecting minors in the media, and what warning measures must be used for programmes containing such material.
The Agency for Electronic Media also adopted the Recommendations for the Protection of Children and the safe use of Electronic Media (Preporuke za zaštitu djece i sigurno korištenje elektroničkih medija) addressed at youth groups. The recommendations include guidelines for classifying audio-visual content potentially harmful to children and youth, recommendations for editors and media employees, recommendations for parents, and recommendations for educators.
The Office of the Ombudsman for Children contributes to the protection of children’s rights in the media by monitoring the protection of privacy and protection from harmful content, the realisation of the right of access to information, the provision of high-quality content for children and the participation of children in the creation of media content. As stated in the yearly report, “the Act on Electronic Media offers a solid framework for the protection of children’s privacy. However, the violations of this right are rarely recognised in practice and are rarely and very mildly sanctioned” (Report on the Work of the Ombudsman for Children for 2019).
Both the primary school curriculum and the secondary schools curricula (Nastavni planovi i programi za gimnazije i strukovne škole) have topics dealing with media literacy included in the Croatian language classes. The field of media culture encompasses themes of media communication training and radio, television and movie programme evaluation training. In secondary schools (generalist programs and 4-5 year vocational programs), as part of the Politics and economy class (Nastavni planovi i programi za gimnazije i strukovne škole), students are presented with the unit Politics and the public, which includes the themes of the public opinion, censorship, print, radio, and television.
The civic education (kurikulum nastavnog predmeta Građanski odgoj i obrazovanje) is an inter-subject module in both primary and secondary schools. It includes topics connected with media literacy in other subjects. The themes being covered are the media and critical understanding of media content, the positive and negative influence of the media, the advantages and dangers of the Internet, Internet safety, resilience and critical understanding of media content.
Pedagogical tools and support are available on web platform Media Literacy in a separate section for teachers (Medijska pismenost - učitelji). The founders of the Media Literacy platform are the Agency for Electronic Media (Agencija za elektroničke medije) and UNICEF Croatia.
The report of the European Audio-visual Observatory titled Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU-28 states that there are no media literacy networks facilitating cooperation across a large number of partners.
There are two initiatives aiming at enhancing young people's media literacy and awareness about online safety issues in the context of non-formal and informal learning. The Centre for Safer Internet (Centar za sigurniji internet) conducts training, workshops, and debates for students, youth, parents and teachers. The Centre developed three apps and published an educational manual on the safer use of the Internet and starting a specialist study programme Digital safety and privacy.
The Centre for Safer Internet launched a phone line to report harmful Internet content as well as offering professional assistance to children and parents.
The Ministry of Science and Education grants non-refundable funds to associations for projects in the field of extra-institutional education of children and youth, inter alia for the education in financial, digital, and media literacy. According to the ministerial decision (Odluka) for the school year 2019/2020 3 projects were awarded a total of 307.849,00 HRK in that field.
The Centre for Safer Internet (Centar za sigurniji internet) launched a phone Helpline to report harmful Internet content as well as offering professional assistance to children and parents.
Choose what you are watching (Birajmo što gledamo) was a joint campaign of UNICEF and the Agency for Electronic Media with the purpose of raising awareness on the importance of increasing media literacy among parents, caretakers, children, and youth. It points out the importance of choosing media content, paying attention to content rating notifications, and encourages the critical evaluation of media content. Following the Choose what you are watching project, the Agency for Electronic Media in cooperation with UNESCO, launched the Internet portal Media Literacy (Medijska pismenost) aimed at increasing media literacy, as well as media skills and knowledge of children, youth, parents, caretakers, and teachers.