S. Isawaran; Straits Times

Speaking at an event organised by Singapore’s propaganda ministry yesterday (Nov 2), the propaganda Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran announced that the dictatorship will be “teaching” Singaporeans how to “spot fake news”.

The propaganda Minister said that the government will launch more propaganda campaigns in 2019 to improve “media literacy”, and even claimed that only material and content from the PAP government and state media are “authentic”:

“If each and every citizen understands that not all online information is authentic, and has the capacity and confidence to discern fact from falsehood, then, and only then, would Singapore truly be able to withstand this global threat.”

The S$1.1 million-a-year minister also announced that he will be ramping up on propaganda material in education text books to “teach” students how to post content on the internet:

“The Ministry of Education will be rolling out a New Media Literacies toolkit later this month in all primary and secondary schools and junior colleges to support teachers’ efforts to teach students about how to be ethical consumers and producers of online content.”

At the event, the propaganda minister also launched his 5th campaign of the year, called “Better Internet Campaign”. There is however very few aware of the government campaigns as official government channels have been called out by the public for churning fake news.

In recent years, the government newspapers have been seeing a rapid decline in readership as more Singaporeans now fact check the government with independent news media from overseas. Singapore’s state media is ranked 153rd in the world for credibility, due to heavy government interventions and a repressive censorship regime. At an opening hearing held earlier this year, an Oxford historian also pointed out that the Singapore government has been employing fake news to garner political support and disparage their political opponents. The Oxford historian was later labelled a “liar” by the dictatorship’s Law Minister K Shanmugam, but the international academia community rallied behind the Oxford professor’s independent papers.