MANILA, 13 September 2017 - The ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) met on 9 September to exchange views on countering fake news and communicating the right information. They expressed concerns that the proliferation of fake news could cause alarm, hate and conflict that potentially can undermine social cohesiveness.

“The proliferation of fake news is real and this has negative impact on the world today,” said Martin Andanar, Chair of AMRI and Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Philippines. He stressed that the roundtable discussion was a good platform to exchange ideas and find ways to collectively address the proliferation of fake news.

During the roundtable, the AMRI Leaders shared their countries’ experiences in countering fake news with such measures as introducing legislations to regulate the online space and taking down fake social media accounts. Information agencies in AMS are likewise called upon to provide the right information to counter fake news.

The Ministers also recognised the need for a multi-sectoral approach involving not only the information sector but also those in the fields of telecommunications, transnational crime, law, youths and education.

Given the prevalence of social media, the AMRI considered the importance of engaging the private sector, particularly online social media companies, in combatting the spread of fake news.

As a way forward in countering fake news, AMS are implementing programmes to enhance media literacy, especially among the youths to enable them to better discern the information with sound judgement. To this end, the ASEAN information sector will implement a media and information literacy forum later in 2017 and will develop multimedia materials to promote cyber-wellness among the youths.

The ASEAN information sector has also considered a set of core values, READI, that will serve as a framework for digital literacy programmes in the region. READI stands for Responsibility, Empathy, Authenticity, Discernment, and Integrity.