In a speech by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of Cybersecurity at the Better Internet Conference 2019 on 11 March 2019, he spoke of how the Government is committed to strengthening digital literacy in Singapore and developing arrange of programmes to cater to the varied needs of Singaporeans.
Multiple stakeholders working towards strengthening digital literacy
In conjunction with the Media Literacy Council’s (MLC) mini-campaign on Fake News in November last year, Mr Iswaran announced that the Government will be launching the National Framework on Information, Media and Cyber Literacy. They are currently consulting academics and relevant agencies on the development of the framework, with content guidelines that can serve as a reference for all organisations in designing their digital literacy programmes.
This effort builds on current programmes like the National Library Board’s (NLB) Source, Understand, Research, Evaluate (or S.U.R.E.) programme. The S.U.R.E. programme seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of fake news and about how to recognise or discern it.
The NLB has begun customising the programme to cater to the needs of different segments of the population, including students, employers and our National Servicemen.
The MLC has also been collaborating with businesses, community groups and also Government agencies to raise public awareness and develop education programmes on digital and media literacy. This year’s campaign has adopted the tagline – ‘Be Safe, Be Smart and Be Kind!’
The minister added that “It succinctly captures the key instincts that the Council hopes to nurture amongst all of us: to be respectful in our online discourse, to be cautious in our online habits and to evaluate the veracity of the information we come across.”
A Whole-of-Singapore effort to tackle Fake News
Mr Iswaran said that a well-informed and discerning public remains the first and most important line of defence against deliberate online falsehoods.
Ultimately, the integrity and reliability of the Internet and social media lies in the hands of netizens. And, that is why the importance of strengthening Singapore’s media and digital literacy cannot be over-emphasised said Mr Iswaran
It will require a whole-of-Singapore effort, involving students and parents, citizens, industry and Government all working together to tackle the problem of deliberate online falsehoods, fake news.
The Minister said that Singapore needs many more and varied ground-up initiatives so that they can reach out to all segments of the population.
The work of strengthening digital literacy in Singapore is an ongoing effort and we want to catalyse more ground-up initiatives, he said.
During the recent Committee of Supply debates, the government announced the establishment of the “Our Singapore Fund for Digital Readiness”, which aims to encourage community efforts to promote digital readiness.