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Opening Speech by Prof Tan Tai Yong at the "Pixels and Possibilities" Global Symposium

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & National Development,
Lt. Col. Dana Humaid Ai Marzouqi, Founder, Secure Communities Forum and Director General of Internal Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Interior, United Arab Emirates
Mr. Dennis Ooi, President of the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association
Distinguished guests, representatives of the gaming community

1. Good morning to all of you. I stand before you today to welcome you to this important symposium on preventing hate speech and harm of any form in online gaming. It is an honour to address such a dedicated and passionate audience committed to fostering a safer and more respectful environment within the gaming industry.

2. This symposium is the collective effort of the team from SUSS, the Secure Communities Forum (SCF) initiated by the Ministry of Interior in the UAE, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism(UNOCT) and the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (SCOGA). For the first time in a symposium of this nature, we have included representatives from gamer communities. Who better to speak about creating a safe space for the gaming community than the gamers themselves?

3. In recent years, online gaming has become a global phenomenon, connecting individuals from all corners of the world through a shared love for virtual adventures and immersive experiences. It has provided an extraordinary platform to come together, collaborate, and create bonds that transcend boundaries. However, amidst this extraordinary progress, we are confronted with a significant challenge – the proliferation of hate speech.

4. Hate speech, in all its forms, undermines the very essence of what gaming should be: a place where we can all enjoy ourselves, express our creativity, and forge friendships. Hate speech has the power to marginalise individuals, breed division, and perpetuate harmful stereotypes, hindering our ability to truly embrace diversity and inclusivity.

5. Today, we gather to address this pressing issue head-on, to explore strategies, and to develop a collective understanding of how we can
foster a positive and respectful gaming culture. By engaging in open and honest conversations, sharing experiences, and pooling our knowledge, we can prevent hate speech from proliferating, ensuring that our virtual realms become a bastion of respect and empathy.

6. Throughout this symposium, we have the privilege of hearing from renowned experts, scholars, industry leaders, and dedicated gamers who have devoted their time and expertise to unravelling the complexities of hate speech and other forms of harm that one might encounter in online gaming. They will guide us in understanding the root causes of this phenomenon, examining the psychological and sociological aspects that contribute to its proliferation.

7. We will delve into the technologies and policies that can help us combat any kind of online harm effectively. From artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that can identify and moderate harmful content to community guidelines and reporting mechanisms, we will explore the arsenal of tools at our disposal. By leveraging the power of technology and implementing robust policies, we can create a safer online environment for all gamers.

8. But dealing with hate speech is not just the responsibility of industry professionals and policymakers. It is our collective duty to challenge hate speech, to stand up against discrimination and to promote inclusivity. Through education, awareness campaigns, and fostering empathy, we can inspire a new generation of gamers who embrace diversity and treat others with respect and kindness.

9. Together, let us pledge to make a difference. Let us stand up against hate speech and any kind of online harm, not only in our virtual realms but also in our daily lives. By doing so, we can create a positive ripple effect that extends beyond the gaming community, transforming society

10. I encourage each of you to actively engage in the discussions, share your perspectives, and forge meaningful connections during this symposium. The knowledge gained here will be the foundation upon which we build a brighter future for online gaming.

11. Thank you and welcome again.

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