Misinformation and Media Literacy

Addressing Misinformation with Media Literacy through Cultural Institutions (2023-2026)

This project partners with public cultural institutions to increase adult media literacy to reduce the impact of misinformation on Australian society, particularly among groups identified as being vulnerable.

Background and significance

Misinformation can harm democratic processes, social cohesion and public health outcomes. While a range of approaches are needed to address misinformation, media literacy has been recognised as one critical approach that is essential to any comprehensive national strategy.Media literacy prepares citizens for misinformation by developing critical analysis abilities. This project partners with four Australian public cultural institutions to increase adult media literacy: ABC Education, The Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and the Australian Library and Information Association. Through an action-based, mixed methods approach, the project investigates adults’ experiences with online misinformation and assesses their ability to identify and challenge it. Research findings will inform the design and evaluation of targeted evidence-based media literacy training and resources that will be shared across broadcast media, physical spaces and online. Through these initiatives Australians will be better equipped to combat misinformation. Funding has been provided by the Australian Research Council Linkage Program.

National Benefit

Misinformation is a global problem with far reaching consequences for societies. This Project contributes to international efforts to address this challenge by creating new knowledge about the role media literacy can play. By providing adults with access to high-quality and diverse opportunities to improve their media literacy, through an evidence-based and nationally coordinated approach, this Project benefits the partner organisations, citizens, civil society organisations, educators and Australian governments by:

  1. developing educational initiatives that help prepare citizens for misinformation so they can be part of efforts to combat it,
  2. producing a strong evidence base to inform the design of effective media literacy initiatives, and
  3. developing an inter-organisational collaborative toolkit that enables public cultural institutions to collaborate to address misinformation and other issues of national significance.

Research Team

  • Associate Professor Tanya Notley, Western Sydney University
  • Professor Michael Dezuanni, Queensland University of Technology
  • Professor Sora Park, University of Canberra
  • Dr T.J. Thomson, RMIT University
  • Associate Professor Heather Ford, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Simon Chambers, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Flora Hua Zhong, Western Sydney University

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