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Aug 2, 2022

Peacework and the U.S. Embassy Launch a Media Literacy Program

Today at the Holy Redeemer Credit Union Conference Room, the U.S. Embassy and Peacework Belize launched MediaSmart, a three-month training program that will be piloted in four high schools in Belize City and Independence. The program, with the support of colleagues from across various media houses, including News Five’s very own C.E.O. Marleni Cuellar, will see teachers and students learn the importance of research and fact-checking as a part of their literacy course. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Like financial literacy, Peacework Belize is partnering with the U.S. Embassy to pilot a three-month program named MediaSmart. It will see teachers from Anglican Cathedral College, E.P. Yorke, Wesley, and Independence High Schools learn more about the media and in turn incorporate this into their English classes at the first form level.


Dr. Carol Babb, Director, Peacework Belize

Dr. Carol Babb

“The training will begin with an estimated fifty teachers including school administrators, counsellors and teachers who teach English at the first form level. The teachers will then be expected to integrate media literacy skills within their lessons.”


Adam Benz

Adam Benz, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy

“Whether we work in the field of education, media or public policy, we often find ourselves with the same basic question from others – why should we care about media literacy? Whether we live in the United States or here in Belize, or nearly anywhere else, in the increasing to connect the world, we all sense an idea that we are living in a world that grows ever more media saturated.”


From citizen journalists to misinformation and disinformation, the goal is for young people who readily have access to various sources of news, to be able to discern what’s factual from what isn’t.   The objective of the training is to empower students to become media literate and provide them with essential tools to consume media messages.


Marleni Cuellar, C.E.O., Great Belize Productions Ltd.

Marleni Cuellar

“How do we teach educators and students to build what I consider to be a survival skill for today’s generation? How do we decipher what is true, what is partially true and what is intentionally meant to mislead in all the information that we come in contact with over the nine hours in a day? It’s not an effort that all are willing, are capable or have time or energy to be able to do. So equipping our young people within classrooms is the way for them to start to think more critically as they come in contact with information.”


Janelle Chanona, Senator for N.G.O.s

“When we got out of the truck – whether it was a positive or not so positive event – people used to cut out. Run inside or run away and not wanting to be on TV and had this thing about yo can’t show mi face and can’t identify me. And look how quickly we have evolved where now we are seeing all sort of interesting dance move on tiktok; all sort of body parts we didn’t want to see on social media. We have become very forthcoming with our media personas.”


Adam Benz, the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Belize, says that it will help the students with critical thinking and analytic skills.


Adam Benz

“Media literacy can equip students with essential tools for success in other areas of their lives as well such as excelling in school or in the workplace through conducting solidly designed research that incorporate critical thinking and analysis or even just by building a more logical convincing argument – whether it is for a school debate or assignment or for a business negotiation. Developing these critical thinking skills will benefit the students through the media program throughout the rest of their lives.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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