The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has stressed that legislation like the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) is “necessary” to stem the damage of fake news, given its “speed and virality”.
The Government fight against fake news is also extending to schools. MCI Director of Digital Readiness and Learning Rachel Chen revealed that the Ministry of Education has given all primary school, secondary school and junior colleges teachers the New Media Literacy toolkit resource, which “provides lesson ideas on how teachers might infuse new media literacies in any subject area.”
In a forum letter published by the Straits Times yesterday (24 July), Ms Chen wrote: “With the speed and virality of the spread of falsehoods online, and the introduction of new digital technologies, we need a spread of tools to move swiftly against online falsehoods.
“Legislation is a necessary part of our multi-pronged approach, as it enables us to quickly address and stem the damage from falsehoods that harm the public interest.”
Ms Chen added that the Government also gives importance to public education in its efforts to fight fake news.
Asserting that “a discerning and well-informed public is our best defence against online falsehoods,” she cited the National Library Board’s SURE programme and the Media Literacy Council’s Better Internet Campaign as programmes that teach the public how to discern false information and use digital technology safely and responsibly.
Ms Chen revealed that the MCI also launched a new initiative to this end, with the Digital Media and Information Literacy Framework, which aims to “empower Singaporeans to be discerning producers and consumers of information.”
The MCI representative asserted: “All of us can play our part in using technology safely and responsibly, by giving due consideration to the consequences of our online actions, being vigilant against fake news and online scams, and not forwarding a story or news when we are unsure of its veracity.
“As we strengthen our digital and media literacy as a community, and are equipped with legislation for swift action when the need arises, we can build resilience as a society against the harms of falsehoods.”