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Mindful Media Consumption: Elevating Winnipeg’s Media Literacy

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As the global spotlight focuses on Ukraine, the role of the media in shaping our perceptions has never been more pivotal.

In today’s episode, we uncover the essential connection between media literacy and the Winnipeg community, exploring how the ability to decipher information empowers us to comprehend, analyze, and contribute thoughtfully to discussions surrounding the context of the Ukrainian War. We are joined by Mariana Bahlai, who came from Ukraine to Canada under the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship and the professor at the University of Winnipeg, Dr.Kawser Ahmed.

Mariana Bahlai, a researcher for media literacy, brings a unique perspective to the table. Originally from Ukraine, Bahlai’s experiences have propelled her to examine the role of media in shaping narratives, especially those related to conflict. Her journey to Canada under the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship exposed her to new ways of thinking about media’s influence on public perceptions, particularly concerning the war in Ukraine.

Bahlai’s work has led her to explore the power of media narratives in shaping public opinion. She notes that media often plays a crucial role in influencing how people perceive and understand conflicts, like the one in Ukraine. Her insights underscore the importance of media literacy in enabling individuals to critically evaluate news stories, identify biases, and engage with diverse perspectives. By developing media literacy skills, Winnipeg’s community can become more resilient to the sway of one-sided narratives.

Dr. Kawser Ahmed, a respected professor at a Winnipeg university, shares Mariana Bahlai’s passion for media literacy. His academic pursuits have explored the interplay between media, society, and conflict. Dr. Ahmed believes that media literacy is a catalyst for empowering individuals to navigate the complex landscape of media messages. Dr. Ahmed emphasizes that media literacy equips citizens with the tools to critically assess media content and differentiate between credible sources and propaganda. This is particularly pertinent in a city like Winnipeg, where residents come from diverse backgrounds and may have personal connections to international conflicts. By engaging with media content thoughtfully, Winnipeg’s residents can forge a more nuanced understanding of complex issues, ultimately contributing to informed and empathetic conversations within the community.

Both Mariana Bahlai and Dr. Kawser Ahmed underscore the role of media literacy in fostering open dialogue within the community. As Winnipeg continues to welcome people worldwide, differing viewpoints and experiences contribute to the city’s vibrancy. By engaging in respectful conversations and being aware of media biases, the community can build bridges of understanding and empathy among its members.

Mariana Bahlai’s and Dr. Kawser Ahmed’s insights converge on the idea that media literacy is not just an individual skill; it’s a collective effort. Schools, universities, community organizations, and local leaders all play a role in fostering media literacy. By collaborating on workshops, seminars, and educational programs, Winnipeg can create a more media-literate community equipped to navigate the complexities of today’s media landscape.

In a city as diverse as Winnipeg, media literacy is a powerful tool that transcends borders, cultures, and perspectives. Mariana Bahlai’s experiences from Ukraine and Dr. Kawser Ahmed’s academic insights underscore media literacy’s pivotal role in shaping informed, engaged, and empathetic citizens. By embracing media literacy, Winnipeg can ensure its community members possess the skills to navigate the ever-evolving media landscape, contributing to a more united and informed city.

– Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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