RIGA - Latvia needs good quality journalism, strong and versatile local media, said Latvian President Egils Levits at high-level international conference, "Media Literacy. Roadmaps" today.
The president said that modern technologies ensure that almost 60 percent of the world population to 4.66 billion people have access to the internet and almost the same number of 4.5 billion people use social media. The virtual world and our everyday life intertwine in one, and the Covid-19 pandemic casts light on the lack of reality in the 21st century.
Levits believes that Covid-19 is the litmus test of the society's critical thinking and information space. "A vaccine has been created, reducing the severity of the virus and its spread. The World Health Organization in its database has published 6,666 studies about it," he said.
The world is not starving for information, on the contrary - there is oversaturation. Meanwhile, many people are not able to sort out this information pool, are not able to distinguish between facts and opinions, false information from scientific studies, and today it may cost life and death.
In order to achieve a result, three directions are important - information and media literacy, duties and responsibility of social media platforms, and good quality journalism, said the president.
A survey conduction by the Culture Ministry show that more than half or 58 percent of Latvian residents have voiced interest in learning more about critical thinking. There is a demand, and a supply should be created - the public and NGO sector should find resources, ideas and channels to reach different audiences.
Levits said that a global challenge should be solved - regulations and responsibility of media platforms. At the same time, the freedom of speech should be protected and censorship is not acceptable.
The president also said that Latvia has introduced important reforms in the public media sector, and now state support to good-quality commercial media should be developed.