Singapore govt to launch national framework for building information and media literacy of citizens

In order for Singaporeans to use digital technology and social media responsibly and safely, the Government will launch a national framework in 2019 to build information and media literacy for the citizens, informed Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore S Iswaran today. The Minister was speaking at the Institute of Technical Education on the occasion of Service Learning Day.

For making the national framework, various agencies are involved including Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), National Library Board (NLB), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore. Photo courtesy:
S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore. Photo courtesy:

“The framework specifically seeks to align and strengthen public education efforts by providing a set of content guidelines to public agencies and other groups running digital literacy programmes,” said Iswaran.

“MCI and IMDA have already begun consultations with various stakeholders, and will continue to gather feedback and ideas,” he said.

One purpose the framework is to combat deliberate online falsehoods. It was one of the recommendations made by the Select Committee which looked into the issue.

The Select Committee which released its report on September 20 had observed that public education on media literacy, as well as critical thinking, have an essential role to play in strengthening “individual defences against deliberate online falsehoods”. 

Iswaran also underlined the importance of public education in combating deliberate online falsehoods.

“While legislation is one part of the solution, it is not sufficient. You and I remain Singapore’s first and most important line of defence against deliberate online falsehoods,” he said. 

“If each and every citizen understands that not all online information is authentic, and has the capacity and confidence to discern fact from falsehoods, then, and only then, would Singapore truly be able to withstand this global threat,” he added.

For creating awareness among students for being responsible and ethical users of the internet, Ministry of Education will be rolling out a New Media Literacies toolkit to all primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges.

This teaching resource will include lesson ideas, presentation slides and assessment items, to support teachers’ efforts to infuse New Media Literacies in their lessons. It will also include real-life case studies, such as Facebook posts containing falsehoods that have gone viral.