Thursday, November 15, 2007

Singapore burning: Need for media literacy

(Unpublished - Nov 14, 2007)

Singapore burning: Need for media literacy

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter by Chan Kheng Ann 'London Burning raises burning issues' and the subsequent responses by Pierre Perrett and Siraj Timothy Aholiab Joseph.

This issue informs of the need for greater media and information literacy, to match the advances in information and communication technology (ICT).

With an adequate level of media and information literacy, one is more empowered to distinguish between reality and simulation, truth and propaganda or scams, and appreciate or critique the context in which the message is created and transmitted. Media literacy is more than just media savviness and should be encouraged and developed in our society.

ICTs may empower us to achieving convenience and efficiency in our daily tasks. However, they should not be implemented solely based on their functional capabilities and economic potential, giving little consideration for its social implications. It is important that infrastructure for media and information literacy be established along with ICT implementation. If not, our society may experience the effects of an information divide we were not fully prepared for.

Media literacy is not the be-all and end-all, but neither is it a static entity. The ordinary citizen or receiver of information has as much a responsibility to be sufficiently media literate, as much as the government has the responsibility to purposefully lay the foundations not only for life-long learning, but also media literacy.

Ho Chi Sam

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