Madam Minister, dear Najat,
Dear Jean-Marc Merriaux, Director General of the Canopé Network,
Director, dear Diane Dufour
Ladies and gentlemen,
Few high school students today live their lives without a smartphone. In many lives, the smart phone, as we say in Quebec, becomes the umbilical cord that connects us to the world.
It is through him that most young people access information and are now also actors in it. It is with him that they discover works, watch videos, share them, or recommend them to their peers. It is through him that they experience the complexity of the world.
Do they have the means to navigate in this space saturated with signs and meaning? Do they have the ability to sort between what is reliable and what is not, between what is futile and what is essential, between what is true and what is fantasized?
Everyone must be able to decipher this flow of information and emotions that too often overwhelms us; that far from enlightening us can blind us, obscure our judgment.
These questions are not secondary: the digital mutation carries with it a major anthropological mutation, as humanity has little known in the past.
These questions are not only philosophical; they are also profoundly political, because they change both our representation of the world, the way we understand it, the way we inhabit it and the way we transform it. This is about the future of our children and the citizens of tomorrow.
This is why media literacy is essential.
As we learn to have access to arts and culture, we must learn to have access to media and information.
That is why, with Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, we have made this an essential issue.
A fortiori in the period we are going through.
In a France that will forever be marked by this terrible year, where culture, freedom of expression and freedom of the press have been targeted, More than ever, it is our responsibility to share its democratic necessity with future generations.
In a France bruised in its flesh, where the image of the attacks spread so quickly, where the meaning of these acts was sometimes difficult to grasp for our children and sometimes difficult to sustain, it is our responsibility to give them the means to analyze and understand them. Especially when conspiracy theories or the most insidious and dangerous propaganda messages flourish.
To meet these challenges, we are fortunate to be able to count on media professionals, who share our concern to enlighten its meaning and functioning. I would like to pay tribute today to all those who are involved every day in this exciting fight, especially through the networks of associations.
We are fortunate to have teachers who are dedicated to the critical thinking of our children, and I want to thank them sincerely.
Finally, we are fortunate to be able to count on the professionals at CLEMI, whose primary mission it is. I salute the director, Franck Chaumont, who works alongside Jean-Marc Merriaux in the Canopé Network, whose quality of pedagogical work is well known here.
And since we have the pleasure of being welcomed to the Ball to sign this convention, I want to pay tribute in particular to the work done by Diane Dufour, its director, with all her teams for image education. Witness this beautiful exhibition on the different perspectives that can be brought to the notion of «dust» that we have just discovered. This is also reflected - and this is why we wanted to be here today - by your involvement in innovative image education practices - still image, moving image- which are at the heart of media education.
With the convention we are signing today, we are joining forces to go further in this goal that we have jointly set for ourselves.
I want to tell you how proud I am to see my Ministry come to support the Ministry of National Education and CLEMI to bring its strengths and expertise.
Our strength is our ability to bring together all media players, journalists, publishers, public or private media, the general public or community-based associative media that have always been mobilized to share their passion for information. This is evidenced by the ever-growing success of CLEMI’s “Press and Media Week in School” or “Live Day”.
Our strength is also that of our network. One of the strengths of our convention is our willingness to work together with our Rectors and Dracs to serve our territories. For all those who invest in the middle schools of France, in the primary schools too, it will be a great help to be able to rely on the cross-skills of our territorial administrations.
I also want to tell you that I want to support the actors on the ground, whether they are teachers, educators, journalists or publishers to help them invest more massively in the school, but also to accompany them to all audiences who are not at school and whose demand for understanding of the world is no less great!
In the MJC, in the homes of young workers, in libraries and mediatheques, in associations, I want education in information, image, freedom of expression to be accessible everywhere! As for the education of cultural practices, I want to mobilize around my ministry all those who can help us to reach ALL audiences. I am particularly counting on the major public education federations with whom I want to forge even more ambitious partnerships than in the past.
Let me give a few examples to support this desire: starting next month, I will be launching a “journalists in residence” program in working-class neighbourhoods. Based on the model that has been proven by artists in residence, this will allow volunteer journalists to immerse themselves in a neighbourhood over the long term to serve a media education program or the creation of a local media.
We have launched a first experiment with the DRAC Nord Pas de Calais. I very much believe in this idea
I also wanted us to support remarkable initiatives such as “Globe Reporters” that allow children to conduct an investigation in a foreign country through a journalist who asks their questions, does the reports they want, to share them better with their teachers.
Or even «Special Dismissal» these journalists in exile welcomed at the Maison des Journalistes who go in front of students to testify to the price of freedom of expression. This word of truth is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful antidotes to the conspiracy theory that wreaks so much havoc.
I would like to quote once again our strong support for the creation of a platform for exchange and sharing of experience among those involved in information education. I hope that Mediaeducation.fr, this beautiful project led by a collective of associations, will become next year this natural collaborative space that activists of media education have told us is missing.
Let me also mention the call for proposals we just concluded last night. The strategic fund for the development of the press has selected a beautiful project of digital briefcase, worn notably by Ouest France, La Voix du Nord, the Bayard group, and which is intended to be accompanied by many other titles. For example, AFP has indicated that it will contribute, it is well in its role of scout and excellence.
My wish is that this project can be deployed, from 2016, in 500 secondary schools and 500 outdoor places (youth houses, homes...); my ministry will work with all publishers.
Finally, I would like to mention the community radio stations and local media that we actively support. Many of them are involved in welcoming young people, setting up actions with schools or local associations. They often offer, via websites or associative newspapers, training and expression spaces for young people and the most isolated. I remember giving an interview, at the International Brive Book Fair, to two high school students of a young web TV in Corrèze, Coffee TV. I have no doubt that they are very familiar with the tool and that there is real potential there.
Finally, I believe that we will not be able to promote media literacy without first working with those who are the main actors.
I also want to talk about youth and parents.
Young people, because it is with them and according to their customs that we must define our actions, not by trying to make them fit into a mould that would not be theirs.
Parents next, because media literacy also offers a tremendous opportunity for intergenerational exchange and understanding of the world as it goes. We are so often helpless to try to explain to our children the violence of the world. We all experienced this in January and November. The ability to engage Parents/Children on these issues is paramount. My Ministry is at the disposal of parents' federations and family associations to work there.
That, my dear friends, is what I wanted to tell you today. Deciphering, hierarchizing, sorting out information is something we learn, as we learn to taste arts and culture, to nourish our curiosity, to enrich our wonder in front of works.
All this is essential to better understand, act better, and invent the world of tomorrow.