Social and Family Development (SFD) Minister Tan Chuan Jin called on the public and hit out at government critics telling them to understand more about issues first before reacting. At a high level Singapore-China Social Governance forum held yesterday (May 17) at Shangri-La Hotel, Minister Tan Chuan Jin also complained about alternative news media and their “spread of mistruths” on the Internet:
“We hope that as people respond to our efforts, they can also adopt a corresponding approach as they join in discussions on specific issues or policy matters, which is first to know or to be aware, then to understand or appreciate, before reacting.
With the myriad alternative content and websites out there, we are very conscious of the stiff competition our online avenues face for the attention of the people. We are also conscious that, unfortunately, there will also be misleading information on Government efforts. When this happens, we will need to leverage our online channels to clear the shroud and swiftly dispel confusion.”
Minister Tan Chuan Jin also claimed that the Singapore government does not abuse the law to censor and control the internet despite having several high profile defamation lawsuits lodged and shutdown orders issued by the Media Development Authority:
“Rather than using the law as the main avenue, over the years, we have established formal institutions and policies, as well as informal structures to facilitate social discourse, interaction and understanding. These help us foster social cohesion and harmony, and to manage issues or differences through discussion, compromise and consensus.”