On Friday 27th November 2020 an online conference on teaching our children how to recognise if a particular news item is real or false was organised by Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School, Paola and Finnish NGO Faktabaari. Over 150 participants, including educators, University and MCAST lecturers, journalists and student journalists, attended the conference.
In his introductory message to the online conference Dr Kenneth Vella, Ambassador Designate for Finland and Estonia and Head of School at Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School, Paola thanked all participants for their interest, as well as welcomed and thanked the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs the Hon. Evarist Bartolo for his support, for attending the conference and for sharing his thoughts about the topic during the first part of the event. He also thanked the Ambassador of Finland to Malta H.E. Pia Rentala Engberg and welcomed the Faktabaari representatives Messrs Mikko Salo and Kari Kivinen, who led the sessions.
In his message the Hon. Minister Evarist Bartolo underlined the importance of educating our students to take a critical approach to what is presented to them, to reflect and then take positive actions He also emphasised the importance of finding ways to live together harmoniously with all the diversities of cultures and religions.
In her message H.E. the Ambassador of Finland to Malta Pia Rantala Engberg underlined the importance of taking the whole society approach in dealing with misinformation and teaching young and old alike to be critical. She also discussed the importance of hybrid.
During their presentation Mikko Salo and Kari Kivinen discussed with the participants practical ways and exercises which can be used with children and adults alike on how to analyse whether a news report is real or fake. They also spoke about measures that are being taken at European level and how media literacy is being implemented in all the Finnish schools through the new national minimum curriculum. Salo and Kivinen also discussed the work of the NGO Faktabaari. In his closing speech the Hon. Carmelo Abela, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, also emphasised the importance of checking the sources of the information we receive. He also mentioned that currently the country is working on policies with regards to media literacy.