Parliament Sitting on 7 October 2019

QUESTIONS NO. 38 AND 39 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


38. Ms Anthea Ong:
To ask 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 (c) what is the Ministry's overall media literacy plan for Singapore including that on matters under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act. 

39. Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how many copies of the "Get Smart with Sherlock" booklet on fake news have been printed; (b) how many copies have been distributed to students; and (c) whether the Ministry will review the current vetting processes for such material. 


Answer:

The Media Literacy Council aims to promote cyber safety and security, sound judgment and civility when online.  Its overall public education effort fall 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. 

2 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. 

3 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.  29 schools requested copies of the guide and 32,000 copies were provided.

4 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.  

5 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.