YouTube and the Ministry of Funny Partner with Local Creators to Counter Online Extremism

Image: Christian Wiediger via Unsplash

YouTube has launched a series of workshops with Ministry of Funny to help interfaith groups and religious organizations create quality online content and meaningful discourse around the emerging issues of online extremism and hate.

The action-oriented workshops were birthed as part of an ongoing collaboration between YouTube and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to counter violent extremism on online platforms, and was announced with Minister of State Alvin Tan as the Guest-of-Honour in attendance. At the end of the workshops, religious and interfaith groups will be better equipped with the knowledge and confidence to address such sensitive issues online.

Reaching over four million people in Singapore, YouTube’s growth in Singapore remains on the uptick, with a burgeoning scene of next-generation media creators and businesses pulling in record views and attracting global brands. Local creators have leveraged the open nature of the platform to educate, inspire and entertain viewers in creative ways, with their content gaining recognition both locally and globally. However, there is a need to protect the harmony and diversity Singapore enjoys from bad actors hosting violent extremism content online.

 
 

“With increased accessibility to content creation, more voices are finding their way onto online platforms, including those of bad actors. It is crucial that we empower interfaith and religious community builders to step up and strengthen our social fabric with helpful content,” said Ben King, Country Managing Director, Google Singapore.

“As part of our responsibility efforts, YouTube has invested in policies, products and people to protect the YouTube community while preserving its positive impact. This collaboration with Ministry of Funny and local YouTube creators with the support of MCCY continues our longstanding efforts to amplify positive voices against threat vectors in this region.”

Titled Tribe Talkin’: How to Start Conversations on Difficult Topics, the first part of this collaboration will consist of a series of three 6-hour workshops. Participants from various interfaith groups will learn to strategize, plan and execute impactful content using comprehensive training materials jointly developed by YouTube and Ministry of Funny. They will also learn the basics of video production, data analytics, and best practices for channel optimization and sustained engagement on YouTube.

 
 

“Ministry of Funny has been creating comedy content addressing sensitive topics like stereotypes, religion and online extremist behavior for over a decade now,” said Terence Chia, co-founder of Ministry of Funny.

“While we’ve managed to reach a large audience via our YouTube channel as well as our Yah Lah BUT podcast, it is also important that we enable more local voices to join the conversation and raise awareness on such critical topics. This partnership with YouTube is in line with our mission to give back to the community, and we are excited to work with other local creators to empower a new generation of content creators on YouTube.”

At the final session, participants will use their learnings to develop a video concept pitch, where the winning group will clinch a $10,000 grant, which will be equally shared amongst the four organizations they represent. Additionally, each of these four organizations will also receive a short-term mentorship led by YouTube content creators, Our Grandfather StoryThe Daily Ketchup Podcastitsclarityco, and Overthink, to help expand their content creation efforts for their respective organizations.

Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry aded: “The creation of digital tribes online can divide rather than unite us. That’s why it’s critical that we partner with our community leaders to build bridges between tribes with the tools that tech has to offer. Today’s workshop by Google and Ministry of Funny shows us how we can use tech to create content and conversations that build trust and understanding among our many communities in Singapore.”

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