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Mari Carmen Caldeiro Pedreira1

Doctora en Comunicación y Educación por la Universidad de Huelva (España). Máster en Formación del Profesorado por la Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (España). Profesora de Pedagogía y Didáctica de la Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (España).

Ángel Torres-Toukoumidis2

Luis M. Romero-Rodríguez3

Ignacio Aguaded4

1University Santiago de Compostela. Spain

2Salesian Polytechnic University. Ecuador

3Rey Juan Carlos University. Spain

4University of Huelva. Spain

This research analyzes the notion that the main international organizations of multilateral character have on the concept of educommunication (media literacy), by means of the correlational extract and analysis of content of interpretative base of 2.648 information units from 12 organizations, both regional and transcontinental, including the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Arab League, the International Organization of la Francophonie, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries and the Organization of Ibero-American States, African Union, European Union, League of Arab States, Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization of American States, Commonwealth of Latin American and Caribbean States, Union of South American Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and Pacific Islands Forum. Regarding the main results, it is evident that 83% of the organizations analyzed, except in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and in the African Union, the convergence of the educational and communicative context, is specifically presented under the terminology “media education”, which influences the formulation of domestic policies through the proposal of incentives and restrictions that affect decision making at the governmental level, alluding to the continuous change and the dynamic construction of identity.

KEY WORDS: media literacy, intergovernmental organizations, content analysis, digital media, ICT, educommunication, government

La presente investigación analiza la noción que tienen las principales organizaciones internacionales de carácter multilateral sobre el concepto de educomunicación (media literacy), mediante el extracto correlacional y análisis de contenido de base interpretativa de 2.648 unidades informativas de 12 organismos, tanto de carácter regional como transcontinental, entre los que se encuentran la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico, Liga Árabe, Organización Internacional de la Francofonía, Comunidad de Países de Lengua Portuguesa y Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos, Unión Africana, Unión Europea, Liga de los Estados Árabes, Comunidad de Estados Independientes, Organización de Estados Americanos, Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, Unión de Naciones Sudamericanas, Asociación de Naciones del Sureste Asiático, Consejo de Cooperación para los Estados Árabes del Golfo y Foro de las Islas del Pacífico. En cuanto a los principales resultados se evidencia que 83% organizaciones analizadas, salvo en la Comunidad de Países de Lengua Portuguesa y en la Unión Africana la convergencia del contexto educativo y comunicativo, específicamente se presenta bajo la terminología “educación mediática”, lo que influye en la formulación de políticas domésticas mediante el planteamiento de incentivos y restricciones que afectan la toma de decisiones a nivel gubernamental aludiendo al continuo cambio y la dinámica construcción de la identidad.

PALABRAS CLAVE: alfabetización mediática, organizaciones intergubernamentales, análisis de contenido, medios digitales, TIC, educomunicación, gobierno

A presente investigação analisa a noção que tem as principais organizações internacionais de caráter multilateral sobre o conceito de educomunicação (media literacy), mediante o estrato de correlação e analise de conteúdo de base interpretativa de 2648 unidades informativas de doze organismos, tanto de caráter regional como transcontinental, entre os que se encontram a O.N.U., Organização para a Cooperação e o Desenvolvimento Econômico, Liga Árabe, Organização Internacional da Francófona, Comunidade de países de língua portuguesa e Organização de estados ibero-americanos, Union Africana, Union Europeia, Liga dos Estados Árabes, Comunidade de Estados Independentes, Organização de Estados Americanos, Comunidade de Estados Latino-americanos e Caribenhos, União de Nações Sul-americanas, Associação de Nações do Sudeste Asiático, Conselho de Cooperação dos Estados Árabes do Golfo e Fórum das Ilhas do Pacifico. Enquanto aos principais resultados evidencia-se que 83 por cento das organizações analisadas salvo na Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa e na União Africana a convergência do contexto educativo e comunicativo, especificamente se apresenta sobe a terminologia ¨Educação mediática¨, o que influi na formulação de políticas domésticas mediante a proposta de incentivos e restrições que afetam a toma de decisões a nível governamental aludindo à continua mudança e a dinâmica construção da identidade.

PALAVRAS CHAVE: alfabetização mediática, organizações intergovernamentais, analises de conteúdo, meios digitais, TIC, educomunicação, governo

Correspondence: Mari Carmen Caldeiro Pedreira: University Santiago de Compostela. Spain.
Ángel Torres-Toukoumidis: Salesian Polytechnic University. Ecuador.
Luis M. Romero-Rodríguez: Rey Juan Carlos University. Spain.
Ignacio Aguaded:. University of Huelva. Spain.

Received: 11/07/2018
Accepted: 29/04/2019
Published: 15/09/2019

How to cite the article: Caldeiro Pedreira, M.; Torres-Toukoumidis, A., Romero-Rodríguez, L. M. and Aguaded, I. (2019). The notion of the educommunication in intergovernmental organizations. [Noción de la educomunicación en las organizaciones intergubernamentales]. Vivat Academia. Revista de Comunicación, 148, 23-40.
Recovered from


The hypermedia context in which we live conditions not only human relationships but also the education and training of the subjects. Formal, non-formal and informal education, the latter being free of an organized, systematic activity that takes place outside the educational system, contribute to the development of the identity of citizens.
The fact that the use of new technological devices is institutionalized as a means of communication or that Internet connections are made in an unstoppable way on a global scale determines the conformation of the identity of the population using these media.
To a certain extent, we are witnessing a moment in which “infoxication” and “infopollution” become bulwarks of an increasingly digitalized society (Aguaded and Romero-Rodríguez, 2015). The digital identity, the use and consumption of mobile tools and devices or the almost total convergence of the audiovisual and the digital contents justify the analysis of the current educommunicative reality and its relation to the conformation of the identity of the subject (Romero-Rodríguez, De-Casas-Moreno and Torres-Toukoumidis, 2016). Currently, it is not enough to consume audiovisual media and content, but it is essential to develop media competence that favors the reach of the prosumer (Sánchez and Sandoval-Romero, 2012) or, as indicated by Hernández, Renés and Greenhill (2017, p. 77), produser, that is, new audiences that make up the current media ecosystem and that are capable of not only receiving but also producing content in a minimally critical and responsible manner. A production that takes place in an environment in which permanent connectivity prevails and which necessarily requires the critical training of the recipient, whatever their age (Caldeiro and Aguaded, 2015, p. 39). An enterprise that is attributed in a random and sometimes unsound way to the educational environment although it is part of the work of different social agents such as, among others, the media themselves or families. According to Bauman (2000) the men and women of modernity are the result of digital innovations and the understanding of audiovisual content. This understanding can be understood as the fruit of a process of maturation in which pedagogy plays a determining role. Ultimately and in a general way, the empowerment and development of the critical perspective that allows the decoding of the multiple existing languages is sought.
On the one hand, and in order to contribute to this, the education of autonomous and critical subjects is proposed, which centers the interest of the research arising around the attainment of people who cultivate critical capacity. This skill must be forged in society and must be implemented from the educational institution, in such a way that it transcends the mere academic spaces in which, some time ago, only content related to the different disciplines was learned.
In the academic context where there have been educational reforms, especially in the last 20 years, the inclusion in the curriculum of transversal contents that constitute a vertical and global axis in the training of citizenship has been demanded. These contents require the curricular integration of interactive technologies (Gutiérrez-Martín, 2007). A demand that is accentuated especially when technological development and the current media context demand the incorporation, in the classroom, of the sources of information with which adolescents live in their day to day. In this sense, and in order to achieve the indicated objectives, literacy that pursues the collaborative elaboration of the critical gaze is suggested (Uribe, 2010). A production that corresponds to the educommunicative task, which focuses on the learning produced in a media environment where communication predominates, involving not only the broadcasters but also actively the receivers.
To the effort of the different educational institutions, the task of the social agents that make up the receiver’s gaze is added. In this framework, and for its reach, the empowerment favoring the decoding of the multiple existing languages plays a decisive role. For this reason, the communication-education binomial that becomes fundamental nuclei of the ICT culture, immersed in the new generations, is fundamental.


The identity of the prosumer is built in the hypermedia society by different agents that share a common goal: the reach of subjects that are not only critical and autonomous but also develop the ability to analyze and produce contents responsibly.
A task that pertains, among others and as already indicated, to school and family environments. Throughout the decade of the seventies, different supra-state institutions such as UNESCO itself have demanded transversal training in educommunicative matters and their inclusion in the academic curriculum. In the same way, the European Parliament, through its media literacy program “UNAOC”, sought the production of audiovisual products by young people from all over the world (Aguaded, 2011). In this sense, different experiences have been developed, especially in Europe; practices such as the Media Literacy forum that was developed in 2010 in the United Kingdom or the national congress of Literacia, Media e Cidadania held in Portugal in 2011.
In Spain, despite the fact that different congresses, symposiums and forums have been held on this subject, it continues to be a pending task that the Comunicar de Huelva Group or the Communication Cabinet led by José Manuel Pérez -Tornero at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, among others, have joined forces to attain it. Both work in favor of educommunication, a term that has been explained from different sides by multiple experts and associations sensitized to training for the development of “media citizenship” (Gozálvez, 2013). In order to explain the term, different approaches have arisen, such as those that can be observed in the following Table 1:

Table 1. Main theoretical approaches to the concept of educommunication.

Source: Self made.

Educommunication pursues the integration of media and technologies as part of the whole life of the subject, both of minors and adults. It is usually identified with media education that favors the reach and implementation of citizenship literacy based on the development of critical skills that involves bridging the gap between oral expression, print, image, moving image and digital media literacy (Tyner, 2008).
In the forging of this concept, lifelong learning or management of multiple technological devices and the comprehension of audiovisual content transcend the divergence of those who label the media as disagreeing with those who consider them union links that foster intercultural and social contact.
During the first decade of the current century and the last years of the past, works have emerged that, although forming a commendable theoretical framework, lack strategies that impel the reader to at least worry about the need to carry out practical analyzes. The theoretical corpus is based on reports about the situation and analysis that, beyond an apology of reality, places among its main claims the realization of transversal activities that can materialize in almost all subjects that make up the curriculum.
All this entails the need to “think about continuous learning models” (Cobo and Movarec 2011, p. 19) that form the basis of the design of proposals for the formation of identity. These formative matrices transcend the curricular contents and even conform the hidden curriculum of the classroom and, at the same time, demand the inclusion of new strategies, certifying the need to rethink education and including non-regulated learning, which various authors call “invisible learning”; learning that not only integrates different ideas and perspectives but also pursues the development of human capital and can also take place anywhere and at any time, almost omnipresently. Likewise, it transcends mere formality to refer to non-formal learning, in order to build connections that allow for a closer relationship between concepts (Cobo and Movarec, 2011, p. 25).
In a generic way, the forging of knowledge in the technological society that requires digital literacy and the development of skills favorable to the resolution of problems originated in contexts where technologies predominate is justified. These are contexts in which interpretation and understanding of information is necessary (Ralón, Vieta and Vásquez, 2004).
In this context, the promotion of self-learning and the development of strategies that allow not only management but also understanding and meaning of the media and the information they transmit are justified. For this, we must have a different system to the one proposed by the “banking education” that appealed to the memorization and archive of contents and that generate uncritical subjects (Freire, 1984). To alleviate this lack, it proposes, among other forms, project-based learning that includes the integration of technology and is committed to design and creativity as basic pillars and main competencies in the 21st century. The latter is a form of work that justifies the collaborative work based on dialogue, understanding and the development of materials and ideas adapted to the situation for which they were created. It is about developing proposals aimed at linking multiple spaces where you can promote learning through the different sources of transmission of ideology, customs and values.


This piece of research focuses on analyzing the different theoretical approaches and trends to the concept given by international organizations of a multilateral nature (regional and transcontinental) on educommunication (media literacy) within a global context. To achieve the aforementioned goal, it is proposed to systematically review the approach to the term “educommunication” on the official websites of the following transcontinental organizations: United Nations Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Arab League, International Organization of La Francophonie, Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and Organization of Iberian-American States. Likewise, international organizations of a regional nature are included in the analysis sample: African Union, European Union, League of Arab States, Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization of American States, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Union of South American Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and Forum of the Pacific Islands.
The search strategy is mainly directed to the combination of English words in general search engines under exclusive semantic limitation (algorithm ”…”), this way, the information of the results is concentrated on the phrases that maintain the same word order and exclude those results that have no exact link to the terms. Likewise, the three key words “media education”, “media literacy” and “media competitions” of the search were translated into the official or main language of each organization, as shown in the following Table 2:

Table 2. Characteristics of the search strategy.

Source: Self made.

For its part, the second specific objective is aimed at synthesizing the official information extracted from 12 intergovernmental organizations related to educommunication. This section explains the reference position in each of the organizations we consulted, assuming the multiple purposes of its implementation through the criteria set out in the theoretical framework:

  • Convergence of the educational and communicative context: Support the convergence between education and communication by developing specific competences that enhance critical thinking.
  • Configuration within the educational context: Give predominance to the aspects related to education and learning.
  • Configuration within a communicative context: Give predominance to aspects of communication and information transmission.

In order to achieve the objectives mentioned above, a qualitative research design is proposed under a correlational extract, using an interpretive-based content analysis methodology, understood as the one that “involves interpretation of findings across studies to generate new inductive understandings of the phenomena, events or experiences” (Saini & Shlonsky, 2012, p. 31). The use of this method is justified because the sample is made up merely of documentary sources from which, through inductive processes, semantic correlations and theoretical concepts will be extracted, omitting the researcher’s interaction in the data collection process (Sampieri, Collado and Lucio, 2014), taking as a basis the understanding of the central phenomenon of the study, knowing the background, situations that have occurred and functioning (Lecompte and Schensul, 2012).


From the search procedure cited in reference, a total of 2,648 informative units emerged, which make up the effective sample (Me), among which documents such as news, official communications, reports, conferences, projects, activities, etc are included. It is also worth noting that, out of the 12 intergovernmental organizations submitted to the exhaustive review of their official website with respect to the three key words in their main languages, only two of them (Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, African Union) do not have educommunication -linked information, despite having a department, commission or committee related to education in their organization chart.

Table 3. Keyword emerging results by organization.

Source: Self made.

4.1. United Nations Organization (UN)

The United Nations considers media literacy to be one of the transversal priorities in current education, since it fosters the promotion of equitable access to information and enables the critical evaluation of the quality of the transmitted content. From this vision, the strategy is to associate it with information literacy, the correlation of both disciplines complements the training experience by equipping the citizen with the basic skills necessary to act in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.
Although UNESCO - an entity attached to the UN - demonstrates the incorporation of other disciplines in the development of educommunication, it is carried out from a multidisciplinary perspective, that is, the fields of study are kept separate, omitting the interweaving of variables among the disciplines that make it up. On the other hand, the criterion aimed at the convergence between education and communication is clearly evidenced, continuously reiterating the empowerment of people through the formation of a critical thinking and apprehension of competences that allow citizens to socialize and become active.

4.2. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The information we extracted tends to an empirical approach where there are multiple case studies on the application of educommunication. The line of analysis covers mainly the configuration within the educational context, deepening in terms of implementation, infrastructure, interaction, educational training and creation of strategic programs of Communication and Information Technologies (ICT). In addition, this organization has a Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) where two of the six current projects are closely linked to educommunication, namely: i) Education and Social Progress, ii) Open Higher Education and Innovative Learning Environments. After all, the influence of new technologies, digital training and computerized interconnection in education can be elucidated as the conceptual foundation that this international organization has for educommunication.

4.3. Arab league

Through a cooperation agreement with the documentation and information department, the institution responsible for leading the educational projects of the Arab League is called Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) focusing specifically on adult education and the development of culture. Educommunication is conceived with the purpose of safeguarding the identity and symbolism of the Arabic language and the unity of its geographical area of competence. In effect, maintaining the same line of the United Nations Organization, it is inclined to develop educational and communicative activities that strengthen the capabilities of critical analysis of the messages transmitted by the media.

4.4. International Organization of La Francophonie

The general idea shows the predisposition for the creation of projects aimed at responsible use, development of good practices and encouragement of participation through the media. This means that, in this organization, the driving axis of educommunication is the configuration within a communicative context, the main role being played by the supports, media, channels and content broadcast.

4.5. Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries

While it is reflected above that this organization lacks emerging information units related to educommunication, the same way it was found that, in the constitutive act of Lisbon 1996, the theoretical criterion of configuration within the educational context is pursued, seeking optimization of educational systems through resources coming from the new information and communication technologies, development of distance education and professionalization of the middle cycle.

4.6. Organization of Iberian-American States (OEI)

This organization has two strategies related to the dissemination of educommunication. The first one is to select manuscripts from scientific journals and conference proceedings with free access oriented to the theme (Sánchez and Sandoval-Romero, 2012) and, secondly, to produce a newsletter and news about technology and educational communication, showing a propensity for awareness and critical attitude towards the media. Hence, the convergence between the educational and communicative context is prioritized as a theoretical criterion.

4.7. African Union (AU)

In the notion of a prosperous, peaceful and integrated content does not surround in the explicit incorporation of educommunication. Despite this, commissions are observed such as: “social affairs” and “civil society and diaspora” in which the importance of education to achieve lasting positive effects is assumed. Likewise, the 2063 agenda refers to the concept of education for peace, which, according to Davies (2005), proposes solutions as well as media education to fight against a dogmatic vision of society. Additionally, Sterling and Huckle (2014) state that the establishment of both of them forms the basis of sustainable education.

4.8. European Union (EU)

The information presented by the European Union far exceeds that published by both its regional counterparts and its intergovernmental peers. This implies that educommunication is staged as a concept rooted in European culture. In fact, the European Commission (2008), reaffirming the basis of the Grünwald Declaration on Media Education (1982), argues that the objective of media literacy programs is the active and conscious promotion of European citizenship. Moreover, the convergence between education and communication is claimed through the need to critically learn the content of the media and acquire skills linked to creativity such as curiosity, risk taking and problem solving, thus conditioning, to a large extent, users’ confidence in digital technologies and, therefore, the adoption of ICT. In fact, in the research and innovation program Horizon 2020, the theme is proposed: Media Literacy in the Digital Environment, to develop new methodologies, tools and scientific evidence in digital contexts for the benefit of governments, companies and individuals.

4.9. Community of Independent States

The information issued by this organization required detailed filtering on the aspects that correspond to educommunication, since there is an ideological echo within the subject that diverts academic research. However, the key word “media competences” in Russian, made it possible to synthesize it in the convergence between education and communication through the learning of a reading process specialized in texts incorporating critical analysis, evaluation, creation and transfer of skills.

4.10. Organization of American States (OAS)

According to the vision of this organization, educommunication is used as a vehicle for democratic participation, where it makes civic education, communication and information technologies and spaces for audiovisual transmission compatible. In other words, communication-education convergence is formalized by resolution agreements such as 1885 (XXXII-O/02) or the annual report of the Human Rights Commission (2015), documents in which the configuration of “educommunicative” campaigns is suggested on contingency plans aimed at stimulating critical perspective and free access to new technologies.

4.11. Association of Southeast Asian Nations

In the directory of Human Development is the division called Education, Youth and Sports. This entity is responsible for issuing annual reports and proceedings of events of various kinds, where the scope of “media literacy” is evident. In fact, they have been working on this subject since 1991 when UNESCO provided them with resources to design didactic material adapted to the media reality. In effect, from this organization there is a certain continuity of the group toward the development of “educommunication” and its configuration within the educational context.

4.12. Pacific Islands Forum

Beyond formal explorations that demonstrate a role within the configuration within the educational context, announcing future plans of study and development of educommunication, problematizations of greater urgency within the educational scope are established, among them the deterioration of the infrastructure and leaving school before the legal age.


Intergovernmental institutions influence the formulation of domestic policies in each country through the proposal of incentives and restrictions that affect decision-making at the governmental level (Heinmiller, 2007). Therefore, recognizing that the selected sample includes transcontinental and regional organizations, it is clear that educommunication, specifically seen under the term ”media education”, is present in the news, official announcements, reports, conferences, projects and activities in 83% of the organizations we analyzed, except in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and in the African Union.
In effect, the information of the organizations we consulted shows that the majority tendency within educommunication is the convergence of the educational and communicative context. In other words, the United Nations Organization, the Arab League, the Organization of Iberian-American States, the European Union, the Organization of American States and the Commonwealth of Independent States seek the integration of the user in society, cultural affiliation and critical vision towards the content of the media. Secondly, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum are moving towards the educational context by proposing educational training, design of teaching materials and announcing future syllabuses that incorporate educommunication. In third and last instance, the International Organization of La Francophonie is the only organization in the sample that explicitly manifests its educommunication policies, prioritizing the configuration of the communicative context, motivating the development of good practices and specialized knowledge of the supports, means and channels of communication. In short, recent forms of communication require a greater degree of training and new needs require a series of changes and adaptations to the emerging situation; therefore, educommunication, formalized in this study as “media education” is just the result of a process that is nourished by the comprehension and internalization of the different characteristic features of the subject that lives in society, alluding to the continuous change and the dynamic construction of identity.
For future work, it is suggested to deepen the educommunication experiences of the countries that make up the consulted intergovernmental organizations, in such a way that one can have a comparative vision on the domestic policies with respect to the programs of the different affiliation organizations. Also, according to Chibás (2012), the ecosystems formed through educommunication are four dimensions: education, communication, strategic and project management, and creativity. Although two of them are taken into account in this study, the remaining two should be included in future research to broaden the theoretical panorama of educommunication.


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Mari Carmen Caldeiro Pedreira: PhD in Communication and Education from the University of Huelva (Spain). Master in Teacher Training from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Currently a professor in the Department of Pedagogy and teaching at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
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Ángel Torres Toukoumidis: Doctor in the Interuniversity Doctoral Program in Communication under the line of research «Educommunication and Media Literacy» (2014), from the universities of Huelva, Seville, Malaga and Cádiz. conducting research on Gamification as an integral strategy for the evaluation of public policies and citizen education. Master in Communication with Social Purposes from the University of Valladolid, licensed in Liberal Studies from the Metropolitan University (Venezuela) approved in Political Science by the Complutense University of Madrid. Scientific Reviewer of Comunicar, Scientific Journal of Education and Communication. International research and teaching stay (six months) at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden). Associate researcher of the MUL group (Nya Media, Undervisning och Lärande- New Media, Teaching and Learning) and the Game Design Laboratory of the Spelvetenskapliga kollegiet in Gothenburg. Communications Group for the Alfamed research network. Currently a professor at the Salesian Polytechnic University, Ecuador in the Faculty of Social Communication.
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Luis M. Romero Rodríguez: PhD in Communication from the University of Huelva (Spain), Master in Social Communication from the University of Almería (Spain) and Specialist in Law and International Policies from the Central University of Venezuela and in University Teaching from the University New Sparta (Venezuela). Professor of the Universities International of La Rioja (Spain), Nebrija (Spain), International of Andalusia (Spain), Huelva (Spain) and the University of Cádiz (Spain). Researcher specialized in media criticism, media skills and gamification. Deputy editor of the Comunicar Magazine (Spain) and editor in chief of the Challenges Magazine (UPS-Ecuador). Member of the Comunicar Group and the Ágora Group (PAI-HUM-648) of the University of Huelva.
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Ignacio Aguaded: Professor of the University of Education and Communication at the University of Huelva. He chairs the Comunicar Group, a veteran group in Spain in «Media Literacy». Director of the Research Group «Ágora» within the Andalusian Research Plan (HUM-648), Director of the International Master’s Degree in Communication and Education (UNIA/UHU) and UHU coordinator of the Interuniversity Doctoral Program in Communication (US, UMA, UCA, UHU).
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