Media literacy connects two islands

It’s both geographically and culturally a fair distance from the Meath coast to the northern coast of Sicily, but a new connection now forms that unlikely link.

EurAV is now partnering with similar organisations in Slovakia, North Macedonia and Italy to support elderly people in navigating the often-bewildering world of ‘fake news’ and disinformation. Founder and Irish film maker, Declan Cassidy, along with two other members of the EurAV team, travelled to Sicily where the project’s coordinating partner is located in the ancient town of Tusa, once an important trading point between the island and Rome.

“After the meeting to launch the project we were invited to the Civic Offices to meet the Vice Mayor,” explained Declan. “Tusa is a coastal community of less than 3,000 people so we it’s a small, close-knit community like the Meath coast. Another similarity was the friendliness. We were made to feel very welcome everywhere we went. Then, of course, there were major differences. The January temperature was 18 degrees and, instead of a cement factory in the background coughing smoke into the air, Tusa has Mount Etna, which was erupting as we were driving from the airport at night, so we could see the red lava pouring from the crater.”

Declan was one of the team who established EurAV, just before the pandemic, to use their media skills for social ends.

The Sicilian-led project is funded by the EU under its Erasmus + programme. DiSeRA – or Disinformation of Seniors in Rural Areas, to give it its full title – will be carried out over the next two years and will provide training for seniors here, as well as an opportunity for five local people to travel for training in North Macedonia.

“Anyone interested in the project can keep in touch with it here on the website or on Facebook,” said Declan.

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