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YouTube to help better interfaith discourse with workshop series

Singapore – Video streaming platform YouTube has partnered with comedy brand Ministry of Funny to launch a series of workshops, aimed at helping interfaith groups and religious organisations create quality online content and meaningful discourse around the emerging issues of online extremism and hate. 

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 strategise, plan, and execute impactful content using comprehensive training materials. They will also learn the basics of video production, data analytics, and best practices for channel optimisation and sustained engagement on YouTube. 

These action-oriented workshops are part of an ongoing collaboration between YouTube and the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY) to counter violent extremism on online platforms, and were 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.

Ben King, Google’s country managing director for Singapore, shared that with increased accessibility to content creation, more voices are finding their way onto online platforms, including those of bad actors, and with this, it is crucial that the platform empower interfaith and religious community builders to step up and strengthen their social fabric with helpful content. 

“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 the 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,” said King.

Meanwhile, Terence Chia, co-founder of Ministry of Funny, said that the brand has been creating comedy content addressing sensitive topics like stereotypes, religion, and online extremist behaviour for over a decade now, and while it has managed to reach a large audience via its YouTube channel as well as its Yah Lah BUT podcast, it is also important that it enables 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,” added Chia.

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

Alvin Tan, minister of state for MCCY and Ministry of Trade and Industry, also commented, “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 amongst our many communities in Singapore.”