It is often assumed that media literacy serves to protect and uphold democratic practice and that media literate citizens are the best safeguards for democracy. However, little attention is paid to defining this practice and its relationship to ongoing inequities within democratic societies. In this essay, we argue media literacy operates from three core assumptions; media literacy creates knowledgeable individuals, empowers communities, and encourages democratic participation. The first assumption draws out an individual’s skills and critical thinking in media literacy practices. The second assumption focuses on the community aspect of media literacy, specifically which communities are best served by media literacy and why. Finally, the connection between media literacy and democratic practices is evaluated to understand how the democratic ideals of equity and justice are situated within the existing literature. Through an exploration of these assumptions, this essay provokes a discussion into the assumptions that media literacy scholarship and practice addresses to highlight some of the gaps in constructing impactful practice that centers on equity and social justice.
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Mihailidis, P., Ramasubramanian, S., Tully, M., Foster, B., Riewestahl, E., Johnson, P., & Angove, S. (2021). Do media literacies approach equity and justice?. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 13(2), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.23860/JMLE-2021-13-2-1