Digital and media literacy skills in Croatia could be improved, given the high proportion of people who access news online – 87%, according to the Reuters Institute 2022 Digital News Report – and via social media (60%). The country lacks an official media literacy policy and a dedicated institution, but the Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) spearheads various valuable activities, in cooperation with partners such as UNICEF.
The European Audiovisual Observatory’s 2016 Media Literacy Mapping in EU-28 report found that although civil society organisations were embracing media literacy and launching new projects, without greater support from public authorities these efforts were unlikely to provide a long-term solution to the media literacy challenges in Croatia. The 2021 Media Pluralism Monitor found that Croatia’s lack of a comprehensive national media literacy agenda constituted a high risk to media pluralism.
A survey carried out for the AEM and UNICEF in March 2019 found that only 8% of respondents had had the opportunity to learn how to critically think about media content (and the majority of these were younger and with a higher education level.) AEM’s research showed that social media are the main information platform for people under the age of 35, and that only 23.1% of citizens always check information before sharing it.
Through the AEM, Croatia is participating in EduMediaTest along with six other countries. This is an interactive tool to evaluate and improve media education for European pupils aged 14 to 18. Tests done so far showed that teenagers in Croatia, as in the other countries surveyed, lacked critical skills and an understanding of how media and digital platforms work.
For more on media literacy in Croatia, please see Media and Learning’s dedicated webinar.
EDMO hub membership
None as yet.
Who is responsible for media literacy at a national level?
There is no legal framework or dedicated body for media literacy in the country, but the Agency for Electronic Media has the responsibility for promoting media literacy, according to the 2009 Electronic Media Act (amended in October 2021).
The Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) “is an independent regulatory body that promotes public interest and media pluralism, justifies public trust through professional and transparent activities, encourages media literacy, creates conditions for the production of quality Croatian audiovisual content and ensures equal conditions for media development and media freedom.” The Director of the Agency is also the President of the Electronic Media Council, and is appointed by the Croatian Parliament.
In 2018, the AEM established Media Literacy Days to create a platform to promote and organize media literacy projects, now one of the most important ML events in Croatia. In 2021, this saw more than 266 events (lectures, workshops, debates and other activities) in 115 cities across Croatia, with more than 16,000 participants.
The AEM also runs a national portal of ML projects (www.medijskapismenost.hr), which aims to raise public awareness and to empower parents and teachers to help children to use media and technology more safely. The website contains research findings on the impact of media on children, young people and adults, recommendations for parents, examples of good practice from schools and others, examples from other countries and educational materials for use by teachers. It is a national reference point for media literacy in Croatia and allows everyone involved in the education of children and youth to find an overview of reliable and useful information about the media and their influence, and about media literacy, all in one place.
The AEM has an annual fund to co-finance media literacy initiatives.
Key contact: Robert Tomljenovic, Electronic Media Council/Agency for Electronic Media ([email protected])
The status of media literacy in the national curriculum
Some media literacy education takes place in schools, with elements of media literacy to be found in certain courses at a primary or secondary. However, it isn’t systematically included, and media literacy has not been defined or set as a target, and therefore it is difficult for teachers to implement. Consequently, media education largely depends on individual teachers’ willingness and enthusiasm, and there is a lack of emphasis on the overall strengthening of critical thinking and understanding of the media.
There is a need to ensure broader implementation of media literacy in elementary and high school education through adequate education and training for teachers, according to the Media Pluralism Monitor.
The position of initiatives targeted at those not in formal education
The AEM develops resources that can be used by all, but most media literacy initiatives in the country are targeted at children and young people rather than adults. Given that disinformation is widely spread, the Media Pluralism Monitor 2022 report recommends that as well as amending the law to tackle false information more effectively, the Ministry of Culture and Media should create and implement strategies with measurable outcomes to improve media literacy in the country.
Other media literacy stakeholders
Djeca Medija is the biggest media education project in the country, run by the non-profit Association for Communication and Media Culture and professors and students at the University of Zagreb. It aims to increase awareness and to educate children and young people to think more critically about the media content that they consume. It works directly with children, as well as with parents and teachers, and has recently started working with older adults also.
The Center for a Safer Internet aims to help children and young people, their parents and teachers, and state institutions, to navigate the online world more safely. It runs Safer Internet Day in Croatia.
Telecentar, a non-profit NGO that aims to promote lifelong learning and digital inclusion, coordinates the work of the Croatian Digital Literacy Network, which has 25 members including civil society organizations, academic institutions, and regional/local governments.
Association Alternator – the Association for the Promotion of Creativity and Equal Opportunities – is a non-profit NGO that runs a Children’s Rights Festival which promotes media literacy through film.