Total Defence Day to focus on fake news

This year's Total Defence Day will feature the exhibition Our Next Battlefront, which will focus on fake news, disinformation and cyber threats while seeking to heighten public awareness of how these hazards can impact the nation's survival and how i
This year's Total Defence Day will feature the exhibition Our Next Battlefront, which will focus on fake news, disinformation and cyber threats while seeking to heighten public awareness of how these hazards can impact the nation's survival and how individuals can play their part to guard against them.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Exhibition features key events in 200 years as well as cyber threats

Digital defence will come under the spotlight at this year's Total Defence Day, which falls on Feb 15 - the day Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942.

Curated by the Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC), Our Next Battlefront exhibition will focus on fake news, disinformation and cyber threats while seeking to heighten public awareness of how these hazards can impact the nation's survival and how individuals can play their part to guard against them.

Last year, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said digital defence could become the sixth pillar of total defence, a framework to reflect the multi-dimensional nature of defence, comprising five pillars - social, psychological, military, civil and economic.

In line with this year's bicentennial celebrations to commemorate Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival in Singapore in 1819, the first part of the exhibition highlights 30 key incidents over the past 200 years of Singapore's history that have threatened national peace and security.

Some were fuelled by false claims, rumours and propaganda, and the exhibition also details the lessons that can be learnt from them. Among the incidents featured are the Maria Hertogh riots, the hijack of Singapore Airlines flight SQ117 and the escape and arrest of terror suspect Mas Selamat.

The second part of the exhibition focuses on present-day threats on the digital front that could compromise national security, including cyber attacks on critical infrastructure - such as the recent SingHealth data breach - and the rising incidence of fake news.

The final part suggests ways in which individuals can guard against fake news and disinformation campaigns, which have the power to cause unrest in multi-ethnic and multicultural Singapore.

 
 
 
 

The exhibition has been put together with archival materials from the National Archives of Singapore and also features interactive stations such as one where visitors have to decide whether to "forward" or "delete" a piece of news that they have received from their loved ones on WhatsApp.

Said the SDC's executive director, Brigadier-General (Ret) Lowrence Chua: "This exhibition features historical key incidents of unrest, rumours and propaganda as well as recent cases of fake news and cyber threats. We hope our visitors can understand the consequential impact better, and be prepared to do our part in our next battlefront."

The exhibition opens today and runs until March 24 at the SDC.

Admission is free for all Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs). Non-citizens and non-PRs can find the various pricing packages for the exhibition at www.sdc.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Total Defence Day to focus on fake news'. Print Edition | Subscribe