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Culture

Goodbye, Erasmus

erasmus phixrThe future of the Erasmus scholarships is an uncertain future. Even though, of course, this only depends on who are we asking to. As we all know, the Secretary of Education, José Ignacio Wert, announced only two weeks ago the withdraw without previous notice of the state assistance for this year to all the students who weren’t beneficiaries of a general scholarship, measure that had to be abandoned after the strong protests and the opposition on behalf of the educational sector, the Autonomous Communities and the European Committee.

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Community

UAB Delegation participates in the Euranet Debate in Brussels

Politicians and citizens from all over Europe met on June 19th in the European Parliament in Brussels for the official launch of Euranet Plus, the radio and Internet network for EU news. Among those present were the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, three Vice Presidents of the European Parliament, and Juana Lahousse-Juárez, the highest ranking Spanish civil servant in the EU.

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Sports

Feminine sport in the shadow of the mass media

patinatge vs futbol phixrThe feminine team of artistic skating Club Patí Olot celebrated in November their seventh gold medal in world championships that they succeeded in Chinese Taipei. The following day of the victory, 15th November, some Catalan media mentioned that new but it’s a well known fact that, compared with the male sportive events, women sports still being in second plane. Almost everybody knows the German club who won the football champions league last year, but only a few of them know that there is a Catalan skating team who wins world championships since 2006.

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Matteo Zacchetti: “Citizens need to be aware of how the media industry works”

 

Born in Italy in 1966, Matteo Zacchetti has been working in the European Commission since 1995, almost 20 years ago. He is the deputy head of the European Commission’s “Media Program and Media Literacy”. He spent almost all his professional life in the media, or dealing with media-related issues both in the private sector (Super Channel ltd.) and at the European Commission. The European Commission has started working on Media Literacy a few years ago, and according to Zacchetti, their efforts have made a change in the European education systems regarding audio-visual methods. The Filmoteca in Barcelona featured many important members of the UNESCO and the European Commission, all of which were concerned with the Media as an integral part of education. Follow Matteo Zacchetti ideas on this interview with Young Journalists.

 

YJ: How do you believe that Media Literacy can make Europe and even the world a better place?

MZ: I think all we know about the world today is through the media, but unfortunately the media is not an open window to the world, sometimes they have filters, so I think if citizens are aware of how the media industry works, they will be able to distinguish the stereotypes that are proposed by the media and will be able to have better knowledge and be open to other people; it will definitely be a better place, it will definitely be a good evolution. Although it is a long way to become a better place, it is still a positive evolution.

 

YJ: How could access to the media impact a country with an issue like poverty, for example?

MZ: I think that very often extreme poverty is linked with lack of citizenship, when you do not act like a citizen and do not have your full rights as a citizen; it creates a problem for society. I think that media literacy, being able to be critical about the content that is proposed by the media, is the first step for a full and complete citizenship. So, definitely, people that are in extreme poverty have other problems to solve, but I think an organization, state or government is obliged to teach everybody about media literacy because it can impact the wellbeing of the country.

 

YJ: You have been working in the European Commission for about 20 years, do you feel like your efforts have made a tangible change in the education system in Europe?

MZ: I think the educational systems in Europe have evolved ever since we started working on media literacy a few years ago. However, it is fair to say that the European commission does not have a direct competence on education; education is the competence of member states, and even within member states, it is a regional or local competence; so it’s always very difficult to advance altogether, but I think the evolution is definitely possible. 

 

YJ: To what extent is cinema used in European schools today, and what are its results?

MZ: I would say there are more and more projects, there are member states where cinema has a real place in the curriculum, there are also more and more projects in the informal education system that use media and films for educational purposes.

 

YJ: What types of films can be used to benefit education in a way that does not expose children to violence or negativity?

MZ: First of all, we have to distinguish between education to film and the educational use of films, I think education to film comes first: we have to teach students how to critically understand films and know the language of films, in that way they can defend themselves from unwanted content like violence and racism… Secondly, how to use films for educational purposes: there has to be the filter set by the teachers to the movies that they choose to expose children to, according to the subject.

Economy

Growth this year will be higher than initially forecast. The unemployment rate, whilst still much too high, has stopped increasing

Jose Manuel Barroso

Politics

Social Media: A “gamechanger” for young people

By Lucciana Rupp & Sandra Hernández, Dominican Republic

Mass Media and Social Communications students from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (Egypt) and from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (Dominican Republic) discussed the role of social media and young journalists in order to drive change in their communities. Follow their ideas in this article.
 

a man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying. Photo credits: Essam Sharaf

In our recent conversation with Mass Communication students from Egypt, we noticed that both countries have a few things in common in terms of journalism.

In the Dominican Republic and in Egypt journalists sometimes face conflicts of interest. Owners of media outlets and employees try to profit from a work that should be primarily social. That has been the common issue that stops achieving freedom of expression in both nations.

In Egypt, there are far more mechanisms of repression, but in the Dominican Republic there is no other than the censorship journalists impose on themselves (auto censorship) in order to “not bite the hand that feeds them".

Also, the economy affects the whole population. Mass Communication student Sohaila Hussein says that in Egypt the majority of people are just trying to survive. With such low wages Egyptians cannot think about freedom. “When people are hungry why would they want a change?” Sohaila adds.

 

Despite the general resignation, Egyptians won a massive victory after expressing their will through social networks. By 2011, President Hosni Mubarak had been ruling Egypt for almost 30 years. It seemed that his dictatorship would last longer because of the succession plans of his son Gamal Mubarak. Egyptians were fed up with their situation and started to summon their friends and family to take action.  Web messages, tweets, Facebook statuses, announced their disappointment on high unemployment rates, corruption, and lack of freedom, police brutality, and impunity.

When the government authorities tried to stop them by restricting the access to those platforms it was too late. People from around the world were following the strong protests and expressing their support.

Finally, Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11, 2011.

Dominican citizens wave their hands signaling a number four as they demanded during

However, according to students from Alexandria, the situation somehow remains the same. In spite of this, Mohamed Gharbia, a Mass Communication student from Alexandria, believes that he and his colleagues can help society through social media projects. “We as people that study the ways of broadcasting, the ways of giving people an information, should be agents of change”, Gharbia said.

During the conversation he referred to citizen journalism. But, as our teacher Merybell Reynoso said, that kind of journalism includes obstacles like unsustainability, and unverified information that could lead to confusion. Moreover, it could serve to vile government interests.

4 por ciento Jos Rodrguez

Mohamed Gharbia agreed on that, but emphasized that even though there is “powerful people” who try to crush that kind of projects, “we have to face them with our morals and beliefs”. It means that as journalists, we should generate our own information to confront and defeat corruption and other social issues.

Some may argue that social networks in themselves mean nothing, but people in Egypt and in the Dominican Republic know how powerful they are. Something similar to the Egyptian Spring happened in the Dominican Republic, not necessarily to overthrow the government but to hold it to account. Until 2013, the Dominican Republic had invested just 2 percent of the GDP in education - one of the lowest levels in Latin America.

Dominicans, especially young people, were aware of the educational system´s shortcomings, so they used social networks to demand their rights to a better education. With this, they demanded that the government invest 4% of its annual budget on improving primary and secondary school education.

Facebook and Twitter were the platforms through which people agreed and reminded each other to wear yellow every Monday and to gather in key places from Santo Domingo to protest. On December 2013, Dominicans succeeded; the 4 percent investment for education was approved.

 

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This is just an example of what countries (even if geographically distant) around the globe and the new generations are doing: digitally demanding their rights and influencing others to do so through social media.  

Gharbia, has faith in citizen journalism and dares to conclude with strong motivational words for aspiring journalists: The worst thing that can happen is that things stay the same. What do you have to lose? Your life? I think that, personally, my life is a small price if I'm going to do something that is going to change the world”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Special Thanks to:

Sohaila, Mohamed, and Alaa. 

Photo credits:

Photo 1: A man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying "Facebook, #jan25, The Egyptian Social Network" illustrating the vital role played by social networks in initiating the uprising. Photo credits: Essam Sharaf 

Photo 2: Dominican citizens wave their hands signaling a number four as they demanded during "Voces Unidas por la Educación (2011)"  that the government invest 4% of its annual budget on improving primary and secondary school education.  Photo credits: Merybell Reynoso

 Photo 3: Dominican man participates of "Voces Unidas por la Educación" a concert and popular manifestation that back in 2011 demanded thatthe government invest 4% of its annual budget on improving primary and secondary school education. Photo credits: José Rodríguez