Democrats seek to boost media literacy for students, veterans with two new bills

Tero Vesalainen/ iStock

A trio of Democrats introduced two bicameral bills aimed at boosting media literacy skills for students and veterans by providing funding for nationwide educational programs. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a lead sponsor of the bills in the Senate, said Thursday the effort will “help combat disinformation and misinformation campaigns that seek to manipulate perceptions and sow division.” 

“These bills will provide students and veterans with the skills they need to make informed decisions about online content and protect themselves from exploitation,” Klobuchar said in a statement. 

The bills, introduced with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) in the House, would together provide $40 million to federal agencies to fund education programs to improve media literacy for American students and veterans. 

The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would provide $20 million over the course of four years for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to create a grant program that supports digital citizenship and media literacy for students in grades K-12. 

The grants would be available to local and state educational agencies, nonprofit organizations and public libraries to develop programs aimed at improving media literacy skills for students. 

The proposal is co-sponsored by Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). 

The Veterans Online Information and Cybersecurity Empowerment Act would provide $20 million over three years for the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer a grant program to teach veterans media literacy skills. The program would also teach veterans cybersecurity best practices to identify disinformation and help them avoid online scams and hacking. 

Tags Amy Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar Dianne Feinstein Elissa Slotkin Elissa Slotkin Michael Bennet Michael Bennet National Telecommunications and Information Administration Sheldon Whitehouse Tina Smith Tina Smith

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