Media Literacy Week  – November 6-10, 2017


The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) announced U.S. Media Literacy Week (#MediaLitWk) will be held November 6 –10, 2017. The mission of Media Literacy Week is to raise awareness about the need for media literacy education and its essential role in education today.

Organizations, schools, educators and Media Literacy Week partners from all over the country will work with NAMLE to participate in events including #MediaLitWk classroom lessons, virtual events, online chats, screenings, PSA’s, panel discussions and more.

Sponsors includeTrend Micro, Nickelodeon, Twitter, and Facebook.

The third annual U.S. Media Literacy Week will kick off with a launch event hosted by Reuters in NYC on November 6. The event will bring together journalists, pre-K to grade 12 educators, higher education professors and researchers to create dialogue around teaching media literacy and providing the tools students need to develop critical thinking skills around news and the media. A wrap up event will be held at Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco on November 10.

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, analyze, act, communicate and create using all forms of media.

Media Literacy is a crucial life skill in the 21st century. Virtually all careers today require some level of critical thinking about media and media messages, as well as the ability to produce and work with a variety of media and information.

Media Literacy should be an essential part of education today. Low-income schools and communities in particular often lack the resources needed to adequately prepare them to create and criticize media and technology.

Media Literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers.

Media Literacy Week USA is a celebration of the efforts by educators and organizers nationwide to prepare youth to live, learn and thrive with media.


Media Literacy Week Emoji on Twitter–

Just use #medialitwk and/or #mlw17 and/or #getsmartonline and it will pop up.


Teacher’s Resources and a toolkit for educators are available free online at

Controversial Speakers & Protesters on Campus

Photo Credit: Chris Meiamed

“Protesters should not be permitted to shut down or shout down the speech, preventing others from hearing the speaker.”



  • Once a body has decided to extend an invitation to a campus speaker, the choice to withdraw it must meet far more stringent criteria.
  • Except in the most extreme cases, concerns over threats of violence or the potential outbreak of violence should not be grounds for canceling a controversial speech or event.
  • That a campus event may be colored by protests should also not be a factor in a decision to withdraw an invitation.
  • When a speaking invitation sparks protests, those who object and wish to protest should have an opportunity to make themselves heard.
  • Protesters should not be permitted to shut down or shout down the speech, preventing others from hearing the speaker.

Addressing concerns that recent campus controversies may lead a rising generation to grow alienated from core American values of free speech, PEN America released the “PEN America Principles on Campus Speech” to help guide university students, faculty, and administrators to advance inclusion and equality while safeguarding intellectual and academic freedom.

The Principles were released as part of the groundbreaking investigative report titled And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities, which examines the future of free speech in American higher education. While declaring that there is no current crisis for free speech on campus, the report notes, “Free speech advocates face an urgent task to articulate how unfettered expression can be reconciled with acute demands for greater equality and inclusion, and, indeed, how such freedoms are essential to the realization of these goals.”

The full report is available here:

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of more than 100 centers of PEN International. Our strength is in our membership—a nationwide community of more than 4,000 novelists, journalists, poets, essayists, playwrights, editors, publishers, translators, agents, and other writing professionals. For more information, visit


Speech Code: What does it mean and is it legal at American Universities?

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) defines a “speech code” as any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large. Any policy—such as a harassment policy, a protest and demonstration policy, or an IT acceptable use policy—can be a speech code if it prohibits protected speech or expression.

Many speech codes impermissibly prohibit speech on the basis of content and/or viewpoint. An example of this type of policy would be a ban on “offensive language” or “disparaging remarks.” Other speech codes are content-neutral but excessively regulate the time, place, and manner of speech. A policy of this type might limit protests and demonstrations to one or two “free speech zones” on campus and/or require students to obtain permission in advance in order to demonstrate on campus.

If universities applied these rules to the letter, major voices of public criticism, satire, and commentary would be silenced on American campuses, and some of our greatest authors, artists, and filmmakers would be banned. These codes also lead students to believe they have an absolute right to be free from offense, embarrassment, or discomfort. As a result, other students begin the compromise of self-censorship.

These attitudes stay with students long after graduation. If students on our nation’s campuses learn that jokes, remarks, and visual displays that “offend” someone may rightly be banned, they will not find it odd or dangerous when the government itself seeks to censor and to demand moral conformity in the expression of its citizens. A nation that does not educate in freedom will not survive in freedom, and will not even know when it has lost it. It is to prevent this unspeakable loss of freedom that FIRE has created FIRE’s Spotlight Database.

The Spotlight Speech Codes Database is searchable by school name or state. Every year, FIRE reads through the rules governing student speech at more than 400 of our nation’s biggest and most prestigious universities to document the institutions that ignore students’ rights—or don’t tell the truth about how they’ve taken them away. FIRE’s Spotlight database will tell you if your school is one of them.


To read the most recent published report on Speech Codes:

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2017: Full Report