Teaching young to recognise fake news major challenge: Chun Sing

Singapore's biggest challenge is to educate young people to differentiate fake news from real news, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao's second Singapore-China Forum, held at Shangri-La Hotel, he said: "People may tend to believe news that is in line with their own beliefs, and to overcome this, we need an inkling within ourselves to find out more and think deeper about whether the news we read is real or fake."

This year's forum focused on challenges facing traditional media as well as public opinion and social governance.

Mr Chan added that the media can play a role in helping primary and secondary school students see different points of view and opinions, and make their own decisions after taking time to deliberate. If the public can question the validity of the information they get, be it from new or traditional media, this will benefit the country's development, he said.

Mr Chan also had a closed-door dialogue with 30 forum participants, consisting of media personnel from Singapore and China.

He said such dialogues allow both sides to openly talk about global matters and thus improve bilateral relations between the people and governments of both countries.

"Singapore and China's bilateral ties are a very unique one because they are not just at the economic and security level, they encompass a lot of other dimensions like social governance, leadership, development, including the sharing of our judiciary systems' development," he said.

"One of the conclusions from the discussion was that in order for us to have such frank and open discussion, there must be deep trust among the people between (government and media) institutions and this is what we hope to see continuously across generations."

Associate Professor Zhang Weiyu from the National University of Singapore's Department of Communications and New Media, a forum participant, said: "The session talked about digital media and the recent media revolutions going on in China - we can see that China has gone very far in terms of new practices.

"There were many insights regarding the challenges facing traditional media and how it is able to transform itself into media formats that suit the needs of the young people."