“Fake news” has become the “Word of the Year” following the phrase’s being frequently featured in US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Advances in information and communications technologies over the past two decades have shaken up our media environment. We are bombarded daily with information of varying, and often poor quality — fake news that flooded social media platforms, content farm articles without actual content and so on. We do need keen eyes to evaluate and analyse these messages — an ability we call media and information literacy (MIL).
More than a pun to “mass media”, Mars Media Academy is established with the aim of promoting MIL. Collaborating with media and education professionals, the company encourages the public to take a step back from our highly mediated lives through creative educational programmes, activities and resources.
In the age of social media, Mars Media advocates creative, ethical and responsible media production and consumption. Going beyond workshops and student camps, the team produces documentaries on social issues, such as Face Matters which explores the community’s perception of “beauty”, as well as provides branding design services for social enterprises and SMEs.
Mars Media is the first ever social enterprise to promote media literacy in Hong Kong. Since 2011, the team has been holding summer camps for 70 secondary school students each year. Many found the content very useful in raising their MIL. Their Digital Detox Camps and “Mars Content Farm” calls for reflection on the influence and restrictions of the media. In the age of social media and digital communication, Mars Media is establishing a new way of engaging audience and raising awareness regarding to social values and topics that are often neglected by the mainstream media industry.
“Mars Elder” Donna has worked as producer and director for RTHK documentaries and programmes. Her work A TV’s Televised Confession won Gold Hugo at the 2001 Chicago International TV Festival. Based on her years of research on new media and civic society, youth media production and literacy, she is taking a step forward in promoting media education with a social enterprise. Donna received her PhD from HKU. Her motto is “Choose what you love; love what you choose”.