Singapore Wins International Award for its Artificial Intelligence Governance and Ethics Initiatives

Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore scoops up top prize in the Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society category at the Annual World Summit on the Information Society Prizes 2019

SWITZERLAND, GENEVA – 09 April, 2019: Singapore announced that its work in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Governance and Ethics has won a top award at the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes1

The winners of the 18 categories2 of the WSIS Prizes were announced today during an award ceremony at the annual WSIS Forum held in Geneva, Switzerland. Singapore won in the “Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society” category, beating four other finalists3 across the globe. 

The WSIS Prizes recognise outstanding digital projects globally, which foster socio-economic development across categories such as e-government, e-environment, e-science and media, and ethics in IT. Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) Assistant Chief Executive (Data Protection and Innovation) Yeong Zee Kin received the prize at the ceremony in Geneva. 

Singapore’s AI Governance and Ethics initiatives aim to build an ecosystem of trust to support AI adoption. These include: (i) Asia’s first Model AI Governance Framework released in January 2019; (ii) an international and industry-led Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data formed in June 2018; and (iii) a Research Programme on the Governance of AI and Data Use established in partnership with the Singapore Management University in September 2018. 

These initiatives advance Singapore’s vision to be a leading Digital Economy and Smart Nation through balancing business innovation and consumer trust and confidence in adopting AI. 

Minister for Communications and Information Mr S Iswaran said, “Singapore’s win of the WSIS Award is affirmation of our approach that AI practices must be transparent, explainable and fair. These are important principles that will guide businesses in implementing AI solutions that are human-centric, while spurring innovation in a digital economy.” 

Mr. V K Rajah SC, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data congratulated the win. He said, “The Advisory Council congratulates Singapore’s win. This award affirms Singapore’s balanced and pragmatic approach towards AI governance. We look forward to working further with the Singapore Government in forming strong guidance which enable innovation while protecting consumer interests.”

1The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum is a global United Nations’ multi-stakeholder platform that is co-organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

It represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community, which provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving information and knowledge societies.

The WSIS Prizes is a unique international contest to evaluate and recognize individuals, governments, civil society, local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private sector companies for outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies that leverage the power of ICT as an enabler of development. The WSIS Prizes were started in 2012.

2 There were 1140 nominations sent in globally. Of these, 20 projects per category were selected to move on to the second phase of online voting. The top five voted Champions were then judged by an expert panel before the winner for each category was selected.

3 The other contenders were “Mobile based age verification before marriage registration to stop child marriage” from Bangladesh; “Datasense – Human-Free GDPR Compliance and Data Security” from the USA; “Why do I exist” from the USA; and “Women/Research/Data” from Kenya. 



Annex A: Background on Singapore’s AI approach (284.35KB)

IMDA AI Governance and Ethics poster (3.96MB)



About Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission. For more news and information, visit or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.

For media clarifications, please contact: 

Manager, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 6211 1182

CHUA Hian Hou (Mr)
Deputy Director, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 6202 4956


Explore more