Media Literacy Council’s Guidelines on Fake News

Parliamentary Question, 7 Oct 2019

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what are the Media Literary Council’s guidelines regarding fake news, satire, parody and opinion; (b) how does the Council ensure that the media literacy curriculum and materials are age-appropriate for schools; and © what is the Ministry’s overall media literacy plan for Singapore including that on matters under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.

Mr S Iswaran: The Media Literacy Council aims to promote cyber safety and security, sound judgment and civility when online. Its overall public education effort falls under the themes “Be Safe, Be Smart and Be Kind”. These efforts help to develop an informed and discerning public, which is the best defence against the threats posed by a fast-changing media landscape. The Council does not issue any guidelines.

The Council members bring valuable expertise and perspectives from diverse fields and community groups. The Council also works with schools, businesses, community groups and Government agencies in developing educational programmes and materials on media literacy and cyber-wellness. The collective expertise of the Council’s members and its consultative processes are key to ensuring that the Council’s programmes and materials are of quality and relevance to its audience.

For example, the “Get Smart with Sherlock” guide was developed as part of the Media Literacy Council’s public education campaign. The Guide is a resource for the general adult public to understand the context and various forms of online content. The material was tested with demographically representative focus groups, and refined to ensure its suitability. The guide was offered to schools as a resource for parents to use with their children. Twenty-nine schools requested copies of the guide and 32,000 copies were provided.

The Council stopped the distribution of the guide in August. Advisories have been sent to the 29 schools to reiterate the intent for the guide to be used by parents. The Council regularly reviews its materials and processes in consultation with the Ministry and other stakeholders.

The public education work undertaken by the Media Literacy Council is an important part of MCI’s national effort to promote safe, secure and responsible online behaviour and consumption of media content. We will continue to support these efforts so that, together, we can help ensure responsible and discerning use of the internet and social media for the benefit of all citizens.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and volunteerism in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

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A full-time human, and part-time everything else.

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.