01 April 2018
Having a fact-checking mechanism was a popular suggestion at the Select Committee hearings, and could be among the measures to be recommended.
Singapore Press Holdings and broadcaster Channel NewsAsia (CNA) said they were willing to form a fact-checking alliance, which could include not only media companies and industry practitioners, but also other interested parties. For such an alliance to be seen as a trusted arbiter of truth, it should sit independently from government bodies and commercial entities, they said. It should also have the mandate to identify a deliberate online falsehood.
This need for independence was a sentiment shared by others who spoke at the hearings, such as Dr Shashi Jayakumar of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, who said that “in many instances, it is the citizenry and journalists who are better placed to act, and to act quickly”.
To this end, newspapers such as The Straits Times and Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao have key roles to play in debunking disinformation, he said, adding that in some countries, major social media platforms like Facebook have sometimes engaged national newspapers to help with fact-checking. His colleague, defence and strategic studies specialist Michael Raska, had a slightly different suggestion – one already being implemented in the Czech Republic. Instead of having the independent body monitor just news, it should monitor news sites and track their funding and ties to disinformation networks, so as to expose them to readers.
CENS / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 02/04/2018