To let people know what is true and what is not true
YouTube screengrab/ Ah Lian VLOG #19: Premium Lian Meets Minister K Shanmugam
The day before the second reading of Singapore’s landmark, if somewhat contentious anti-fake news bill, K Shanmugan sat down with ‘Ah Lian’ to clarify some of the main points of POFMA, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill.
In an informal and humorous setting, the country’s Law and Home Affairs minister talked about the bill with actress Michelle Chong, who was in her ‘Ah Lian’ character.
The Minister explained that there are people, even in Singapore, who manufacture falsehoods to “Make people angry, they want to get people out on the streets. Riots have happened".
Shanmugam's interviews with celebrities: Soft-sell reach greater, could have pitfalls, say experts
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam during an interview with Ah Lian, a well-known local Internet personality and the alter ego of actress Michelle Chong. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE
Singapore's political leaders, and more broadly the Government, have turned to different channels to explain policies and convince the electorate of their merits.
The topic was a serious, even controversial, one - the recently passed fake news law. The approach, however, was light-hearted and unorthodox, with Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam appearing in online video interviews.
The reaction has been mixed. Some welcomed the effort to reach out and connect with new audiences and make policy more accessible. Critics, however, said they "cringed" at the unusual approach to explaining government policy.
related: The art of soft sell: Political leaders changing how they communicate with public
Shanmugam sits down for interview on proposed fake news law - with Ah Lian
Ah Lian, actress Michelle Chong's alter ego, attempts to take a selfie with Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam before an interview on the proposed fake news law. A person off-camera reminds her that she has an interview to conduct first.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM MICHELLE CHONG/FACEBOOK
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam has given another interview about the proposed fake news law to be read for a second time in Parliament on Monday (May 6).
The hard-hitting journalist interviewing him? None other than Ah Lian, a well-known local Internet personality and the alter ego of actress Michelle Chong.
"Today lim bu (Hokkien, referring to herself) is want to talk the serious thing. Eh! This thing ah is matter to all of you now watching," Ah Lian opens the video in her trademark vernacular style, gesturing vigorously.
Shanmugam defends video with Michelle Chong’s Ah Lian in response to ST commentary
The video was apparently viewed by more than one million people
A video on social media featuring the unlikeliest of duos, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam and Michelle Chong’s Ah Lian persona, was making the rounds online.
On May 20, Shanmugam penned a post on Facebook to explain why he did it.
It was to essentially point out how such videos can sometimes be more effective than other media strategies to reach a wide audience.
And it was Shanmugam’s personal response to a Straits Times commentary, “The Art of the Soft Sell,”
Law Minister criticises Straits Times article about his video with Michelle Chong
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has criticised a Straits Times (ST) article for making untrue assumptions about a recent video he did with local actress Michelle Chong, regarding the recently passed Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).
In her famous “Ah Lian” persona, Ms Chong interviewed the Minister about the anti-fake news law and the Minister made clarifications on what the law covers and how corrections may be issued. He confirmed that criticisms against the Government and that unknowingly “liking” or sharing possible fake news would not be covered by the law.
The video – which was created and published well before POFMA was passed – has accumulated over half a million views since it was published on Facebook on 5 May. It was also published in other video platforms like YouTube.
In answer to ST commentary, Law and Home Affairs Minister defends
Nas Daily said he liked Law Minister’s video with Michelle Chong
K Shanmugam Sc 18 hours ago
[ Michelle Chong Video ]
ST published an article, “The Art of Soft Sell” (19 May) on the video that I did with Michelle Chong.
The ST article assumes that the video was intended to convey detailed points about the new online falsehoods legislation. But the video was not intended for that purpose.
It was one part of a multi-faceted engagement and communications effort. This included numerous media briefings and interviews, Op Eds, ground engagements and numerous dialogues with different stakeholders, including academics, lawyers, other professionals, as well as grassroots leaders (a few thousand).
Michelle Chong · 4 May at 18:00
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