Learn to Decode the Media, Warns Jowell

Article excerpt

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 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'. …