13 November 2017 - The Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML) partnered WISE SG to present a prevailing area of concern, ‘Fake News – Dangers & Damages’ for the AML Annual Lecture Series 2017. The aim was to better acquaint members and participants on the social and legal consequences of Fake News in their professional, personal and social lives.
The panel included Minister Desmond Lee (Ministry of Social and Family Development), Ustaz Dr Hannan Hassan (Assistant Director for Education, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) and Mr Sujadi Siswo (Head of International News, Channel NewsAsia), and moderated by Mr Noor Mohamed Marican (President, AML).
Fake News have been used to further ideological motives – political, religious and racial. Incidentally, some of such cases have caused confusion, stirred angst, catalysed tribalism, injected suspicion, motivated exclusivism and fragmentised social harmony. Society cannot risk having suspicion or exclusivism recklessly circulated through ignorance or indifference.
While there are statutory regulations put in place earlier, they need to be constantly reviewed and reinforced to stay relevant and effective to the dynamism of IT evolution. However, regulations take time to be introduced and enforced. It is therefore crucial that education on social ethics and civic responsibility be the order of the day.
There is a critical and immediate need to educate the news consumers and general public on digital literacy and civic responsibility to help equip them with the common sense to separate fact from fiction, and its impacts including safety, culture, conscience, abetment, offences and liability. Incidentally, this seeks to contribute towards the Resilience Quotient (RQ) for both current and future generations. Failing which, society may end up paying a huge cost and suffer irreparable damage to trust, peace and harmony.