I couldn’t be in Hong Lim Park on the afternoon of 8 June. I was thousands of miles away in central Scotland. But I kept myself updated with the help of live-tweeters at the #FreeMyInternet protest, and was glad the event went well.
In yet another attempt to defend the MDA’s licensing scheme, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim quoted two examples of other countries looking towards regulating new media: New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Press regulation has been a fairly big issue in the UK ever since the phone hacking scandal broke. Throughout the Leveson Inquiry public trust in the media was low. Lord Justice Leveson’s report suggested some changes that could be made. These were the main points:
• Newspapers should continue to be self-regulated – and the government should have no power over what they publish
• There had to be a new press standards body created by the industry, with a new code of conduct
• That body should be backed by legislation, which would create a means to ensure the regulation was independent and effective
• The arrangement would provide the public with confidence that their complaints would be seriously dealt with – and ensure the press are protected from interference
- from BBC News
Towards the end of Channel NewsAsia’s Talking Point show on the new MDA licensing regime, a caller asked Acting Minister of Manpower, Tan Chuan-jin, to confirm on air that blogs would not be subjected to licensing in the future.
The Minister repeated his mantra of the show: the regulations are meant to cover news sites, and not blogs. Unless, of course, the blogs evolved into news sites.
But when does a blog evolve into a news site? When there are so many websites that host both reports and commentary, and when even the mainstream media is moving towards blogging (just look at Singapolitics), how do we decide what a news site is?
Tan Chuan-jin had no satisfactory answer for that. All he could do was repeat that the regulations were meant to cover news sites, not blogs. Unless the blogs became news sites.
Many of us tuned in to Talking Point to see how a government minister was going to defend the licensing scheme and the way it had just been pushed through without consultation or parliamentary debate. Judging from the online reaction on Twitter and Facebook, I’m not the only one still in the dark.
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