Friday, June 11, 2010

Necessity for Media Literacy

Media Literacy is the subject of an article in the recent issue of the Kyeong-Hyang Magazine. The writer, a priest, wants us to be more critical of what we allow into our homes. The media gives us much that is good but also, especially when depicting violence and sex, much that does not help us to grow in a healthy and mature way.

Dramas tend to make more money, producers know, when plenty of violence and sex are depicted. A popular Korean movie "Friend," a drama about gangsters, loyalty and betrayal, with a great deal of violence and sex, was, at the time it came out, the biggest money maker of all time. The characters became idols to many of the young and there were those who copied some of the violence. The movie was skillfully done, well acted and directed, so that viewers could easily sympathize with the characters--making it all the more dangerous to youngsters who are often looking for role models to imitate. .

The writer also feels this is true with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,"the American TV drama series that is now showing on Korean TV. Filled with violence and sex, the series has been used as a textbook for crime by at least one serial killer in Korea, who confessed that he learned how to get rid of the evidence from watching CSI.

Stories in the press have also been used by youngsters in a copy cat way. Middle school children making porno films with their classmates, indulging in acts of violence, even murders--all have been traced back to some media coverage.

The writer, in addition to asking for more vigilance concerning what is watched and read, suggests that TV stations be notified when programing is not proper.

He concludes the article with a quote from the Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, The Rapid Development, section 13.

"The great challenge of our time for believers and for all people of good will is that of maintaining truthful and free communication which will help consolidate integral progress in the world. Everyone should know how to foster an attentive discernment and constant vigilance, developing a healthy critical capacity regarding the persuasive force of the communications media.

"Also in this field, believers in Christ know that they can count upon the help of the Holy Spirit. Such help is all the more necessary when one considers how greatly the obstacles intrinsic to communication can be increased by ideologies, by the desire for profit or for power, and by rivalries and conflicts between individuals and groups, and also because of human weakness and social troubles. The modern technologies increase to a remarkable extent the speed, quantity and accessibility of communication, but they above all do not favor that delicate exchange which takes place between mind and mind, between heart and heart, and which should characterize any communication at the service of solidarity and love."

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