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The Straits Times and WAN-IFRA to hold conference on fighting fake news

SINGAPORE, 23 May 2017 - The rise of fake news has become a pressing danger to modern societies. From deliberate hoaxes created to cause mischief, manipulate opinions and votes or make money, to media outlets re-circulating unverified or erroneous content, the misinformation ecosystem can take on many different faces.

WAN-IFRA, the World’s Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, and The Straits Times, Singapore’s leading English-language daily of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), are jointly organising a two-day event, “Keep it Real: Truth and Trust in the Media”, aimed at checking misinformation in Asia.

The forum and workshops will be held on June 19 and 20 at the Singapore Management University’s new School of Law Building.

Mr K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, will deliver the opening address.

Immersed in a continuous flow of information from a large variety of digital sources, citizens are progressively losing the ability to distinguish trustworthy news, published by recognised media brands, from unverified facts or malicious rumours anonymously spread on social media networks. 

The growing use of social media platforms as a main source of information has also facilitated the emergence of a myriad “alt-facts” or “alt-truths” filter bubbles, which tend to isolate and confuse people.

Mr Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of the English, Malay and Tamil Media (EMTM) group of SPH, said: "The spread of fake news around the world is focusing minds on the need for good, credible and reliable journalism. Media organisations have an interest in retaining the trust of their readers.

"Democracies have an interest in ensuring that they have media organisations that meet voters' needs for reliable information, to help them make good choices. This forum will delve into how these interests are best served today."

Mr Gilles Demptos, Director Asia at WAN-IFRA, added: “It is the core mission of authentic journalism to provide society with objective, verified information which is an essential basis for any consistent democratic debate. We consequently feel that news publishers have a moral responsibility to fight fake news, beyond their own publications, in all the aspects it may take.”

SMU President, Professor Arnoud De Meyer, said: “Universities like SMU, too, have an important role to play through education and research. We can impart to students the skills in critical thinking and analysis, to be circumspect and be able to discern credible sources of information from non-credible ones, and to be open to diverse views for a more balanced perspective. 

"Our students are also required to take a course in ethics so that they will be better at identifying and tackling various issues. Through research, our faculty can work on understanding social norms and how people can be motivated to value truth and the veracity of information.”

Ms Lynn McDonald, High Commissioner of Canada and Mr Ian Wilson, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said: "The fake news phenomenon affects us all. Addressing this issue require strong, ongoing collaboration between governments and the private sector. It is critical that we work together to preserve the integrity of news and information."

The two-day event will bring together media publishers, journalists, policymakers, industry players and other stakeholders with the objective to come up with concrete initiatives for fighting the spread of misinformation and improve media literacy in Asia.

On Day 1 (June 19), the conference will look at practical fact-checking projects from Asia and around the world. Speakers will also offer a series of presentations and take part in panel discussions on what internet companies, journalism schools, government agencies and independent organisations are doing to improve media literacy and provide societies with reliable facts that enable well informed, constructive public debates. 

On Day 2, selected participants will split into three workshops to discuss and identify concrete fact-checking measures and projects, including media literacy programmes and the legal and regulatory framework to tackle misinformation. 

"Keep it Real: Truth and Trust in the Media” is organised in partnership with The Canadian High Commission, Facebook, Google, Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), the National Library Board and the Singapore Management University (SMU). The event is open to the general public. 

To register and for more information, contact Wilson Leong at wilson.leong@wan-ifra.org or + 65 65 62 84 40 or check the event’s website at http://www.wan-ifra.org/truth_media_event
For details of the speakers and programme, go to: str.sg/Keep-It-Real 

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No. 198402848E

For media enquiries, please contact:

Gilles Demptos (Mr) 
Director Asia, WAN-IFRA
Tel: +65 6562 8443
Email: gilles.demptos@wan-ifra.org

Irene Ngoo (Ms)
Vice President, Editorial Projects Unit
English, Malay and Tamil Media Group (EMTMG)
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Tel: +65 6319 1066 
Email:  ingoo@sph.com.sg


Deror Wong (Mr)
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications & CSR 
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 1226 
Email:
 derorw@sph.com.sg 

About The Straits Times

The Straits Times, the English-language flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, is the most-read newspaper in Singapore and is followed widely in the region for its comprehensive coverage of local, regional and world news, provided by its correspondents in 20 bureaus in major cities worldwide. 
Launched on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times underwent a major redesign across all platforms in July 2015, when it celebrated its 170th anniversary. This revamp is part of its continuing efforts to refresh its products, maintain quality and stay relevant to the changing needs of its readers. Its integrated newsroom operates round-the-clock, providing readers with news as it happens on all platforms, from its website at www.straitstimes.com, Apple and Android apps to social media. 
The Straits Times is a member of two media networks - the Asia News Network and the Impact Journalism Day alliance of newspapers - and it has won multiple international media awards, including from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa), Society of News Design and Wan-Ifra. Its revamped paper won a gold medal for overall newspaper design by the World Association of Newspaper at the Asian Media Awards in Manila in 2016.

About Singapore Press Holdings

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms, ranging from print, digital, radio and out-of-home media.

SPH owns award-winning newspapers, magazines and best-selling books in both print and digital editions, as well as online classified businesses in the region. In addition, SPH has two English radio stations and one Chinese radio station, an out-of-home digital advertising unit, a regional events and conferences arm, and runs a chain of modern retail convenience stores. SPH also has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today.

SPH REIT comprises Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property in Orchard Road and The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall. SPH's latest retail development is The Seletar Mall located in Sengkang. 


SPH is in the healthcare sector, operating private nursing homes under Orange Valley. 

For more information, please visit
 www.sph.com.sg 

About WAN-IFRA

WAN-IFRA is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous media businesses.