Media literacy is generally defined as the ability to access the media, to understand and to critically evaluate different aspects of the media and media contents and to create communications in a variety of contexts.
Whereas the media remain key enablers for European citizens to better understand the world and participate in democratic and cultural life, media consumption is changing. Mobility, user generated communication, Internet and booming availability of digital products are radically transforming the media economy. As a consequence, it is crucial to build up better knowledge and understanding of how the media work in the digital world, who the new players in the media economy are and which new possibilities, and challenges, digital media consumption may present.
A higher degree of media literacy can significantly contribute towards achieving the objectives set for the European Union at the Lisbon European Council in 2000. It is particularly important for the establishment of a more competitive and inclusive knowledge economy through boosting competitiveness in the ICT and media sectors, for the completion of a Single European Information Space and for the fostering of inclusion, better public services and quality of life.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A European approach to media literacy in the digital environment, Brussels, 20.12.2007 COM(2007) 833 final