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Comunicar Journal 36: Television and its New Expressions (Vol. 18 - 2011)

Education for democratic citizenship in a digital culture


Vicent Gozálvez-Pérez


Given the importance of new technologies in the classroom, especially in today’s information and communication societies, and following European Union recommendations to promote media literacy, this article reflects the need to educate not only in technical and efficient applications of communication technologies but also in their civic and responsible use, thus promoting participatory and deliberative processes which are the lifeline of a functioning democracy. The Greek dream of «isegoria», everyone’s right to speak, can become a reality in a digital culture, yet the highly selective use of communication technology can have the opposite effect: new forms of socialization can contribute to the expansion of «echo chambers» or «digital niches», shrinking communication spaces in which the right to speak dissociates itself from the responsibility to listen critically to what arises from a more open, plural and public sphere. One of the goals of education in a digital culture is precisely to diminish this trend that authors such as Sunstein, Wolton and Cortina have detected in recent years. This article proposes educational guidelines to avoid this bias by using communication technology to promote digital citizenship and the ethical values sustained by democratic societies.


Media literacy, citizenship, digital culture, audiovisual education, democracy, values, public sphere, social networks