Singapore's Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim urged all netizens to come together to develop an internet code of conduct, also known as netiquette, to encourage civilised behaviour.
Dr Yaacob was speaking at the Harmonyworks conference yesterday that was attended by more than 800 students from secondary schools to junior colleges, reported local media.
He shared about the difference between posting an opinion and an accusation online. One example is the difference between saying someone is lousy and saying that the person is corrupt. He said:"If you tell me I'm corrupt, I will tell you to justify it, if not I'll see you in court. How then can you say the same thing in the internet and get away with it?"
He added that the code of conduct won't be one enforced "from the top", but rather act as a set of rules that netizens should abide by.
The discussion centred around racial harmony and the role of social media, and students posed questions to a four-member panel. Besides Dr Yaacob, the panel comprised of Member of Parliament (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) Zainudin Nordin, Nominated MP Eugene Tan and Mr Kelly Choo, co-founder of online branding company Brandtology.
Students also asked whether the online code of conduct was feasible and what to do when faced with racists comments online.
Mr Choo suggested not to repost or share the comment even if they found it funny, as it may affect other groups of people who read it. If they personally know the person who posted the message, they can send them a private message.