SINGAPORE: A new module on combating deliberate online falsehoods has been launched and it will be a mainstay for counter-terrorism seminars for religious leaders and organisations.
Conducted by National Library Board, the module is a 30-minute talk that serves as a guide for religious leaders. It is part of the S.U.R.E campaign, which was launched in 2013 to highlight the importance of information literacy and information discernment.
Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu launched the module on Saturday (Jan 12) at a counter-terrorism seminar for Buddhist and Taoist Temples.
Jointly organised by Singapore Police Force and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), the seminar was attended by about 170 religious leaders and devotees representing 50 organisations.
RACE AND RELIGION "EASY TARGETS"
Ms Fu said that race and religion are very easy targets and they are areas which are susceptible to fault lines.
Despite enjoying interracial and religious trust between bodies in Singapore, she says the country is always affected by external events and warned that the country must have the resilience to combat such influences.
"Combating online falsehoods is something we want to equip our community leaders to have the ability to first detect, identify and then have a response," Ms Fu said.
"It has to be very timely and effective and that's something that you cannot build only when something happens. You have to build it before any incident happens."
President of the Singapore Buddhist Federation Venerable Seck Kwang Phing, who was present at the counter-terrorism seminar, said it is important for devotees to verify any piece of news that they are doubtful of.
"Because some of them may not differentiate from what is true or false. So if they are doubtful, they can always come to us, we are available," Mr Seck said.
“Otherwise, they may cause trouble to themselves, their own organisation or to the rest of Singapore."
ADVISORY BOOKLET IN 4 LANGUAGES
An advisory booklet that is available in all four languages was also introduced to religious leaders.
It was developed by the Singapore Police Force and MCCY to provide guidelines on how to prepare for and handle terrorist attacks, such as an armed attacker incident.
One guideline for example, advises religious and community leaders to designate a person to be in charge of preparing and coordinating response plans to deal with contingencies.
That person should also make decisions on behalf of the organisation when a terror attack occurs.