Youth Media Literacy for Civic Intentionality: A Case Study in Tunisia




Media Literacy, Civic Engagement, Theory of Change, Youth, Tunisia.


Work that generates new knowledge about the potential connections between media literacy, communities and civic engagement and thus to understand better the possibilities for addressing media literacy's “civic problem” (Mihailidis, 2018) is that which is operationalized in creative intersections – third spaces (Bhaba, 1994) – between these domains and practices. However, the social inequalities that impede equal access to mediated civics are often more deep-rooted and structural than discourses of centres and margins can account for. For this reason, ‘neutral’ frameworks for media literacy as sets of skills and competences fail to address both the desired ‘uses’ of media literacy (Bennett, McDougall and Potter, 2020) but also the way that such competences are related to traditional hierarchies of social capital and intersect with other forms of stratification (see Helsper, 2021). This article applies a theory of change for the role of dynamic and ‘unsettling’ media literacies (Potter and McDougall, 2017; Lee et al, 2022) with civic intentionality (Sayah, 2022) in improving the health of media ecosystems to a culturally situated case study, the work of Boubli, a youth led alternative media platform in Tunisia. Our analysis of Boubli’s model for developing media literacy into capability with positive civic consequences investigates how this change is generated through third space combinations of education and training, subcultural and community activity, art and activism (Medrado and Rega, 2022). Our mixed methods research combines content analysis, audience data, community survey, interviews and focus groups. Our approach views civically oriented media literacy as deeply situated in cultural and geo-political contexts and, as such, it attempts to avoid more universal and potentially colonial assumptions endemic to media literacy ‘solutionism’. In this article, we explore the ways in which Boubli’s outputs, non-formal education and social practices are consonant with civic media literacy and hold the promise of deep, distinct but partly transferable, impacts on media ecosystems, polarisation and homophily.




How to Cite

McDougall, J., Sayah, H., & Rega, I. (2022). Youth Media Literacy for Civic Intentionality: A Case Study in Tunisia. Observatorio (OBS*), 16(Special Issue). Issue20222182