ST joins partners to host forum on fake news

Editors, publishers and policymakers will discuss concrete ways to counter the spread of fake news and improve media literacy at a conference to be held next month.

The event, titled Keep It Real: Truth And Trust In The Media, is organised by The Straits Times and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra).

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam will give the opening address.

The conference is organised in partnership with the Canadian High Commission, Facebook, Google, German political organisation Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the National Library Board and the Singapore Management University.

Participants will examine practical fact-checking projects from Asia and around the world on the first day of the conference. They will also discuss what Internet companies, journalism schools, government agencies and independent groups are doing to improve media literacy and provide reliable facts to enable well-informed, constructive public debates.

On the second day, some of the participants will attend one of three workshops to drill deeper into concrete fact-checking measures, including media literacy programmes and the legal and regulatory framework to tackle misinformation.

The June 19-20 event will be held at Singapore Management University's new School of Law Building.

Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times' editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media group, said the spread of fake news around the world highlights the need for good, credible and reliable journalism.

"Media organisations have an interest in retaining the trust of their readers," he said.

"Democracies have an interest in ensuring that they have media organisations that meet voters' needs for reliable information, to help them make good choices. This forum will delve into how these interests are best served today."

Fake news has emerged as a growing problem around the globe, including during the United States presidential election last year, and several European polls this year. Several countries, including Singapore, are looking at how to tackle it.

Mr Gilles Demptos, the Asia director of Wan-Infra, said news publishers have a moral responsibility to fight fake news, beyond their own publications. "It is the core mission of authentic journalism to provide society with objective, verified information which is an essential basis for any consistent democratic debate," he said.

• Those interested in attending can register at http://www.wan-ifra.org/truth_media_event.

• Tickets cost $125 for members of the public and $100 for Wan-Ifra members.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'ST joins partners to host forum on fake news'. Print Edition | Subscribe