New Council to oversee cyber wellness, media literacy initiatives

Singapore, 30 July 2012 - The Media Literacy Council (MLC), will be formed on 1 August 2012 to spearhead public education on media literacy and cyber wellness, and advise the government on the appropriate policy response to an increasingly complex and borderless world of media, technology, consumer expectations and participation.

The MLC will build on the foundation of initiatives previously put in place by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to actively develop public education programmes that will help the public navigate media, especially the Internet, safely and responsibly. It will partner government bodies, private sector organisations, community groups and social media influencers to raise awareness of media literacy issues across all online and offline media platforms, and promote a safe, secure and civil media environment for all.

The Internet and social media have brought about exciting possibilities for learning and collaboration, and even new business opportunities for young people. At the same time, social issues such as bullying, scamming, preying on the young and inappropriate comments have found new outlets and been magnified through the multiplier effects of the Internet and social media. Our ability to critically evaluate information, as well as handle and create content appropriately, is key.

The MLC provides a more structured platform for long-term community engagement and public education. To carry out its programmes and recommendations, the MLC will be supported by the resources from the Media Development Authority (MDA) in its role as secretariat to the council. Previous committees such as MDA's NIAC (National Internet Advisory Committee) and PAGI Parents Advisory Group for the internet (PAGi), served in a more advisory capacity.

"In cyberspace and the real world where people are constantly interacting and sharing information, appropriate social norms and discernment are important. The MLC hopes to raise the media literacy level of Singaporeans so that everyone can benefit even more from the Internet, and traditional and new media,"said Professor Tan Cheng Han, who will be appointed as Chairman of the MLC.

As part of its charter to promote civility and responsibility on the Internet, the MLC will adopt an open and transparent approach and consult key stakeholders like the industry, community and bloggers to gain insights into the issues of importance to them. It will review approaches such as advocating best practices and shared values to create a more participatory and responsible cyberspace culture.

The 21 members of the MLC will be officially appointed by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, and they will each serve a two-year term effective 1 August. MLC chairman Professor Tan is from the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore. He headed the Law Faculty from May 2001 to December 2011 and was made Senior Counsel in 2004. He also serves as consultant to TSMP Law Corporation.

The Deputy Chairman is Mrs. Carmee Lim, currently a mentor principal of MindChamps Holdings Pte Ltd. Mrs. Lim, a veteran in the educational sector, was the former principal of Raffles Girls' School, a position she held for 12 years.

They will be joined by 19 other members from various segments of the community, comprising representatives from the business sector, educational institutions, community organisations and social media players. (Refer to Annex A for details on members).

The diversity of the MLC will reflect the views and concerns of different communities, as well as enhance the outreach efforts of the MLC through the members' various networks.

Immediate projects that the MLC will be participating in include the Communications Literacy Seminar, a conference jointly organised by the MDA and the International Institute of Communications (IIC) on 5 October 2012, and the global initiative Safer Internet Day on 5 February 2013. These events will serve to plug Singapore into the international network and conversation on media literacy as well as raise local awareness of issues that the world is already talking about.

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About Media Literacy Council (MLC)
The Media Literacy Council works in partnership with industry, community and government to champion and develop public education and awareness programmes relating to media literacy and cyber wellness. In an increasingly interactive and participatory media landscape, the Council seeks to cultivate and encourage the public to become discerning media consumers with the ability to evaluate media content effectively, and use, create and share content safely and responsibly. It also advises the government on how to respond to emerging issues relating to Internet and media content.