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.
MEDIA STATEMENT – 1 JUNE 2013
The blogging community – collectively called Free My Internet – will be organising a protest and online blackout next week against the new licensing requirements imposed by the Media Development Authority, which requires “online news sites” to put up a “performance bond” of $50,000 and “comply within 24 hours to MDA’s directions to remove content that is found to be in breach of content standards”.
We encourage all Singaporeans who are concerned about our future and our ability to participate in everyday online activities and discussions, and to seek out alternative news and analysis, to take a strong stand against the licensing regime which can impede on your independence.
We urge Singaporeans to turn up to send a clear message to our elected representatives to trust the Singaporeans who elected them.
Singaporeans can support us in three ways:
1) Join us at the protest.
Date: 8 June 2013
Time: 4.00pm – 7.00pm
Venue: Speakers Corner, Hong Lim Park
2) If you are a blogger, join us in an online blackout by closing your blog for 24 hours, from Thursday 6 June, 0001 hrs to 6 June, 2359 hrs. You can choose to create your own blackout notice, or use www.freemyinternet.com we have created for your convenience. When you reopen your blog, write your account of the protest, about the new regulations and censorship, or anything related to media freedom in Singapore. Share your thoughts. Share your hope that the light that free speech provides will not go out on us.
3) Sign our petition and read our FAQ at this link to call for the Ministry of Communications and Information to completely withdraw the licensing regime.
We invite media to cover the protest at Hong Lim Park. To indicate media attendance and other media queries, please contact Howard Lee at email@example.com.
Signed off as: Free My Internet
Leong Sze Hian – http://leongszehian.com/
Andrew Loh – http://andrewlohhp.wordpress.com/
Ravi Philemon – http://www.raviphilemon.net/
Kumaran Pillai – http://sgvoize.wordpress.com/
Terry Xu – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Richard Wan – http://www.tremeritus.com/
Choo Zheng Xi – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Rachel Zeng – http://rachelzeng.wordpress.com/
Roy Ngerng – http://thehearttruths.com/
Kirsten Han – http://spuddings.net/
Gilbert Goh – http://www.transitioning.org/
Lynn Lee – http://www.lianainfilms.com/
Biddy Low – http://publichouse.sg/
Martyn See – http://singaporerebel.blogspot.sg/
Howard Lee – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Elaine Ee – http://publichouse.sg/
Joshua Chiang – http://facebook.com/joshuafly
Donaldson Tan – http://newasiarepublic.com
Stephanie Chok – http://littlemskaypoh.wordpress.com
Jolovan Wham – http://www.workfairsingapore.wordpress.com
Ng E-Jay – http://www.sgpolitics.net
Siew Kum Hong – http://siewkumhong.blogspot.sg/
Darryl Kang – http://blog.dk.sg
Daniel Yap – http://doulosyap.wordpress.com/
Jean Chong – http://www.sayoni.com
Benjamin Cheah – http://www.benjamincheah.wordpress.com/
Theodore Lee – http://www.mrbrown.com
Benjamin Lee – http://miyagi.sg
Illusio – http://akikonomu.blogspot.com
Lee Xian Jie – http://hachisu.com.sg
Damien Chng – http://secondchances.asia
Priscilla Chia – http://secondchances.asia
Plenty of work has gone into advocating change in laws and attitudes when it comes to rape. The media plays a crucial role in this process as it “influences beliefs about the nature of rape offenses and victims” (Ardovini-Brooker and Caringella-MacDonald 2002). Media coverage of rape trials has also shown how the courtroom becomes a “significant public site of struggle over meanings of rape” (Cuklanz 1996).
The rape case in the small town of Steubenville, Ohio, is one of the latest examples of a trial that sparked discussions about rape in the United States of America. Two teenage boys – both promising members of their high school football team – were accused of raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl (‘Jane Doe’). A photograph of her being carried between Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond was shared widely on social networks (Goddard 2013).
In a country that takes pride in sport and its athletes, reactions towards the rape was somewhat similar to that observed by Camille Nurka (2013, p. 49) when she studied fan reactions to rape claims made against Australian rugby players; reactions tended to “reproduce deeply disturbing misogynistic rape mythologies” that encouraged victim-blaming. Some of this played out in the media, where focus on the trial allowed various platforms to push their own ideology and framing of rape.
Considering the views of many conservative right-wingers on the issue of rape and violence against women – such as former US Representative Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” – one could say that the right-wing media has been an active participant in Cuklanz’s (1996) “struggle over meanings of rape.” This essay will seek to analyse the response of the right-wing media to the Steubenville rape trial, thus examining their role in the discussion of rape in the United States.
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