Memorandum submitted by the UK Film Council
The UK Film Council is the Government
backed lead agency for film.
The UK Film Council is a founder
member of the Media Literacy Task Force and supports the Task
Force submission to the Byron Review as relevant to this new Select
Committee Inquiry, emphasising as it does the central importance
of media literacy in giving all users their best protection from
harmful or unwanted content online.
In addition, the UK Film Council
wishes to emphasise the importance of the internet for the development
of creativity and talent in relation to the film and moving image
content industries and value chain in the digital age.
The UK Film Council would further
like to draw the attention of the Select Committee to the impressive
media literacy and film education work carried out in the Nations
and Regions of the UK.
The UK Film Council submits that,
whilst everyone and particularly young people must be safe and
appropriately safeguarded, all citizens should, as an entitlement,
also be educated, encouraged and positively supported in their
creative and critical use of the internet and video games.
The UK Film Council is the Government backed
lead agency for film in the UK ensuring that the economic, cultural
and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at
home and abroad. Our goal is to help make the UK a global hub
for film in the digital age, with the world's most imaginative,
diverse and vibrant film culture, underpinned by a flourishing,
competitive film industry.
The UK Film Council does not just work to ensure
British films get made and that British studios and skills stay
competitive. The cultural and educational aspects of film are
equally important drivers both of its policy and funding priorities.
The UK Film Council believes that having access to a diverse choice
of films and moving image, enjoying them, understanding them,
perhaps even making them should be open to everyone in the UK.
The UK Film Council is a founder member of the
Media Literacy Task Force and supports its submission to the Byron
Review as given in the Appendix attached.
In addition, however, it wishes to emphasise
the importance of the internet for the development of creativity
and expression in all citizens, and of talent in relation to the
film and moving image content industries and value chain.
The Charter for Media Literacy describes a media
literate person as someone who understands all "3 C s":
Being culturally aware.
This rich competence and confidence in using
the internet and new digital media is vital to the development
of new business models for the production, distribution and consumption
of film and moving image content. This confidence will increasingly
be in the future an essential pre-requisite for use of the internet
as a fertile training ground for talent. Learning to make choices
about content available online, and to understand the "message"
being communicatedis part of what being media literate
means. Being supported and resourced, either in a formal school
setting or informally through the help given by content providers
and manufacturers, by other agencies, or in the home, to become
media literate is therefore the responsibility of government,
the media industries, educators and parentsand citizens
This is an urgent need and most particularly
in the face of violent, pornographic or unwanted content which
will otherwise remain so until audiences, users and consumers
acting as responsible citizens are empowered to make informed
choices themselves. Regulation of still relatively uncharted online
territories is proving difficult, though the media industries'
self and co-regulation should definitely continue be encouraged.
Codes of Practice and other means of ensuring responsible content
and effective means of classification or warning are potentially
useful. Nonetheless developing media literacy skills from an early
age will, the UK Film Council maintains, provide a better long
term strategy for addressing these challenges.
Whilst the UK Film Council, therefore, accepts
the need for legal safeguards, self and co-regulation in the access
to contentand indeed the film industry has worked successfully
with such safeguards (in the UK principally through the work of
the British Board of Film Classification), it nonetheless also
maintains that encouraging responsible and creative use of media
through both formal and informal education, through wide access
to information about the nature of content, as well as by other
means that producers and distributors of creative content have
developed, is of paramount importance and of greater effectiveness.
The UK Film Council would like to draw the attention
of the Select Committee to the impressive media literacy and film
education work carried out in the Nations and Regions of the UK,
particularly by the British Film Institute and the film agencies
of the National and Regional Screen Agencies. For examples of
their work see: http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/information/aboutus/partnersandregions/
The work of First Light Movies is of particular
relevance since it engages young people in a critical understanding
of film through the practical process of making movies. Its innovative
website for younger audiences is especially of note: www.filmstreet.co.uk
This wealth of experience, expertise and best
practice might well provide models and insights in how to engage
people through creative activity and critical understanding that
can be of value to the Select Committee. Such educational work
fosters competencies in people which empower them to use the "language"
of media and thus to be more fully literate in today's world.
Increasingly film and video games are finding
synergies and connections which inspire and sustain each other
in the market place. These models are also being explored by the
National and Regional Screen Agencies to the benefit of both industries
and the mutual exploitation of talent.
It is, therefore, of vital importance for the
creative economy as well as for the cultural life of the UK in
the twenty-first century that everyone is encouraged to become
The UK Film Council submits in relation to any
Recommendations the Select Committee might make in concerning
people's use of the internet:
That everyone has a right to be safe
and appropriately safeguarded online.
That everyone should also have an
entitlement to be educated and informed to make the most of their
use of the internet and online content.
That formal education should address
this entitlement through the support of adequately trained teachers.
That informal opportunities for learning
in a media rich society should be encouraged by government so
that everyone can access and enjoy creative and potentially economically
productive experiences online.
THE BYRON REVIEW OF THE INTERNET AND VIDEO
Submission from The Media Literacy Task
It is important to recognise that
the concept of "media literacy" is about having a confident
and critical understanding of media and an ability to use it creatively,
which includes but goes well beyond technical proficiency.
Being media literate means parents
and children are informed and empowered in relation to media in
the contemporary world which is the right of every citizen.
This empowerment fosters a use of
media which develops the capability to protect oneself and others
from harmas well as to enjoy new technologies and benefit
from them for learning, personal development and entrepreneurial
Advancing media literacy is thus
a collaborative responsibility of government, the media industries,
educators and cultural agencies, as well as of parents and children
2. ABOUT THE
The Media Literacy Task Force was set up in
2004 with the support of the then Secretary of State for Culture,
Media and Sport in 2004. It has been chaired until December 2007
by Heather Rabbatts, CBE. It comprises senior representatives
of the BBC, the British Board of Film Classification, the British
Film Institute, Channel Four, ITV, the Media Education Association,
Skillset and the UK Film Council. DCMS, Ofcom, the Broadband Stakeholder
Group and Andrea Millwood-Hargrave sit as observers.
In November 2005, James Purnell MP (then Minister
for Creative Industries and Tourism) together with a number of
leading figures from the Nations and Regions in education, the
film, television and media industries, launched a Charter for
Media Literacy. The Charter explains what being media literate
today means as well as priorities for developing this, particularly
in relation to moving image media and content. The text of the
Charter was widely consulted upon, both within the UK and Europe,
and many individuals and agencies in education, cultural organisations,
the media and communications industries have since pledged their
support (for the full text of the Charter, its context, and a
list of current signatories see www.medialiteracy.org.uk). The
Charter is also championed across Europe by a further group and
has signatories from at least 19 other countries (see www.euromedialiteracy.eu
Details of the launch event, and other related
documents, are available to download at: http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/information/downloads/?subject=20
The Task Force:
Sees "media literacy" as
part of a wider definition of "literacy" in the C21st
and not as a separate set of skills or competencies.
Is committed to ensuring a combination
of creative, cultural and critical competencies (the Charter's
3 C's) for all users in relation to their full and productive
use of media.
Believes these competencies and skills
should be an entitlement, not a privilege, and available to all
throughout their lives.
Aims to encourage full, purposeful
and creative use of the internet and media, including the confidence
and competence to respond or question, complain about or object,
to content or services on behalf of themselves, their families
or communitieswhether geographic, cultural or related to
disability, age, gender or sexuality.
Thinks that collaboration between
government, educators, the media and communication industries
and cultural agencies is the best route to developing media literacy
effectively with parents, children and others.
3. KEY ISSUES
The Media Literacy Task Force recognises the
complexity of the issues involved and the problems in striking
the appropriate balance between the rights and responsibilities
of individuals. It also recognises that Government and regulators
have a role to play, not just through legislation or direct regulation,
but by encouraging enlightened and responsible behaviour by stakeholders.
The Task Force also believes that there are some basic key issues
that the Review needs to consider.
These issues, in the view of the Task Force,
underpin approaches to answering the specific questions asked
by the Review:
To what extent do children, young people and parents
understand and manage those risks and how can they be supported
to do so?
What, if anything, could be changed in order to
help children, young people and parents manage the potential or
It is important to recognise that
"media literacy" is about the confident, critical understanding
of media, its cultural context, and the creative use of it as
well as technical proficiency.
Developing this critical confidence
and understanding is one of the best ways of ensuring protection
Media literacy is also concerned
with ensuring equality of access and advancing diversity.
Media literacy should be seen as
an entitlement that is relevant right across the curriculum in
schoolsnot just as a separate subject or activity. Media
literacy, therefore, needs to be an integral part of all teachers'
training and continuing professional development.
Key media sectors should be encouraged
to collaborate via their trade and professional bodies, or in
other ways, in order to deliver media literacy outcomes.
Annual reporting on progress, and
possibly Action Plans, should be encouraged within each media
industry and cultural sector groupings to strengthen commitment
to media literacy work. This model has worked well, for example,
in the Employers' Forum on Disability.