ASEAN ministers seek integrated effort vs fake news
SINGAPORE – A coordinated effort to fight so-called fake news is what ASEAN ministers believed is necessary to achieve economic growth in the time of digital technology.
“Our people must not only be tech-savvy, they must be information-savvy. As ASEAN moves into the digital space, we must learn how to identify and guard against the risks that arise in an increasingly interconnected world,” said Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Minister of Finance in his opening speech for the 14th Conference of ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI), 16th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting Responsible for Information (SOMRI) and related meetings.
He noted that the speed of information sharing in social media has facilitated not only the cross-pollination of useful ideas but of falsehood as well.
“Social bots and search engines amplify selected narratives. Newsfeed algorithms create ‘echo chambers’ by prioritizing views from like-minded friends,” the Singaporean minister said, adding that the “nature of online advertising revenue has resulted in the proliferation of sensational news articles.”
He noted that while several ASEAN member-states have already taken steps to contain the negative effects of fake news, a joint effort must be done “to cultivate a resilient, trusted digital ecosystem across ASEAN.
The ASEAN meetings here were aimed to allow a robust exchange of ideas so that ministers will be able to come up with a framework and joint declaration to minimize, if not totally eradicate, the harmful effects of fake news to people and economy. /kga