Fake news workshop slated in Singapore to quash organized disinformation campaigns

Photo: You Tube screengrab

Singaporean journalists will now have the opportunity to better identify, counter and manage fake news and misinformation via a one-day workshop scheduled on 23 January to be held at the Concorde Hotel, Singapore.

According to MP Edwin Tong during the 27 March 2018 public hearing with the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, “false information is traveling faster than truths” and that the presence of fake news and online deception are huge problems in Singapore.

With the scheduled workshop, journalists can now be guided step-by-step on ways to recognize, offset, respond to, and manage bogus news broadcasts and half truths.

Aside from identifying fake news and their impact on Singapore’s security and society’s cohesiveness, the workshop promises to explain the psychology behind fake news, and explore its applications to policy/decision-making and what government communication strategies can combat it. The one-day affair will compare and contrast best practices and strategies that can detect and combat organized disinformation campaigns. On top of these, the January 23 event will examine media’s responsibility in tackling and dealing with fake news, and in exploring collaborative opportunities between government and media. Additionally, the said event will comprehensively discuss approaches that could strengthen media literacy and build domestic resilience simultaneously relating knowledge and perspectives of the different public agencies in developing news agencies’ strategies against fake news.

In September of last year, Singapore’s Select Committee was tasked to look into the problem of deliberate online falsehoods and has made 22 recommendations to deal with the issue, saying in its report that Singapore has “been the subject of foreign, state-sponsored disinformation operations.”

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said the committee is convinced that deliberate online falsehoods are a “live and serious threat” that places Singapore’s national security at risk.

Concluding that the phenomenon of fake news and deliberate online falsehoods are a “real and serious problem” in the country and around the world, the committee in its report said Singapore’s response will be guided by the core values and aspirations of its society.

How much is the ‘truth’?

While the workshop aims to benefit journalists and the country, it is sad to note that the event’s ticket price ($620) seem expensive for a one-day workshop. The event organizers should have included into the equation the possibility that not many journalists will be able to attend the event due to its very prohibitive price tag. And if only a handful will be present, all that “journalism good stuff” will be wasted and the purpose of positively changing the current media landscape in the country will be defeated.

TISG contacted the event’s organizers for comment and more information. The paper will then have an update as soon as the organizers reply.

 

 

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