ST conducts workshop on how to tackle fake news and analyse news reports critically

Veteran media professional Geoffrey Pereira conducting The Straits Times Media Analysis Course at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre on July 31, 2019.
Veteran media professional Geoffrey Pereira conducting The Straits Times Media Analysis Course at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre on July 31, 2019.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Learning how to tackle fake news and critically analyse news reports was the focus of a one-day workshop conducted by The Straits Times on Wednesday (July 31).

Called The Straits Times Media Analysis Course, it was the first time that the newspaper shared its expertise on the subject after the recent announcement of the fake news laws.

The workshop was attended by 40 participants, most of them senior civil servants, at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre.

One of the participants, Mr Nordin Amat, 57, an operations supervisor at gas supplier Air Liquide Singapore, said many of his relatives were quick to share news without verifying facts.

"With alternative media and the rise of fake news online, I am sceptical of everything I read, even on mainstream media like our newspapers.

"We really have to be more responsible when sharing news because there are impacts and consequences," added Mr Nordin, who is married with two sons.

The eight-hour long workshop was conducted by veteran media professional Geoffrey Pereira and senior journalist Shefali Rekhi.

Mr Pereira, 59, discussed how to assess articles critically and identify fake news, while Ms Rekhi, 52, talked about the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), as well as fake news on social media.

Some of the other topics raised during the workshop included misleading headlines, fallacies, arguments and also the risk of over-simplifying and summarising.

Ms Karen Cheah, 38, a chief product and creative strategist at media marketing agency MuseOrg, said she receives "tons of fake news every day through social media" and that the workshop had equipped her with the necessary skills to verify any information she comes across.

She added: "Sometimes we believe everything we see and during this course we learnt to question the things we read.

"It was able to spark certain touch points that everyone should be aware of and look out for, and I think that is very helpful."