4 Apr 2006

Parliament Sitting on 3 April 2006

"DO NOT PANIC".

With special thanks to Thrasymachus.

This is an official release regarding the Bloggers and the law issue during the elections. When the entire questions and answers session is released I will post the relevant sections here.

QUESTION NO. *407 FOR ORAL ANSWER

Mdm Ho Geok Choo: To ask the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts (a) whether his Ministry has taken any action against bloggers who deliberately post lewd photographs of themselves or others, with or without their consent, on their blogs; and (b) how many people have been charged for such offences.

Response from the Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Balaji Sadasivan:

I share the Member’s concern about bloggers posting lewd photographs of themselves or others on their blogs. We recognise that blogs are a means of private communication used by individuals as well as groups. However, bloggers must realise that the materials they post in their personal blogs can be seen in the public domain. Posting of content such as lewd photographs of themselves or others, would be offensive to many other Internet users. Bloggers could also run foul of the law. While some bloggers may do it deliberately, some others, especially young Singaporeans, may not be aware of the adverse consequences of their action. That is why we have emphasised the importance of developing public education programmes and industry self-regulation to work hand in hand with legal enforcement, so as to keep our online environment safe for all users.

2 To date, there has been no police report complaining about lewd pictures posted by Singaporeans or of lewd pictures being hosted on blogs in Singapore . When the Police receive public information on such cases, they will investigate and assess each case. Where offences have been committed, they will investigate them thoroughly. If an offender is apprehended, he or she may be prosecuted. The Media Development Authority will assist the Police with these investigations.

3 The Government recognises that legal enforcement alone is not enough, given the nature of the Internet where bloggers could be anonymous. It is crucial for us to address the issue by building up awareness and responsibility in using the Internet among our young users. In this regard, education plays an important role whereby parents, schools and the community work together through various programmes to help promote safe practices online . The MDA has also funded public education efforts on Internet.

4 Furthermore, the Government has been working actively with the industry and the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to promote greater industry self- regulation. This is to encourage the industry to provide a safe Internet environment for subscribers, especially families with young children . A positive result is that ISPs now offer Family Access Networks (FANs) that filter out undesirable websites to their subscribers.

QUESTION NO. *424 FOR ORAL ANSWER

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts whether the Government intends to change the laws and regulations concerning the use of Internet and new technologies such as podcasts for campaigning during the General Election and, if so, what will be the main changes and when will such changes be made public.

Response from the Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Balaji Sadasivan:

Currently, there are several pieces of legislation and guidelines which cover Internet campaigning issues or which touch on such matters. These include the Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA) and the Election Advertising Regulations under the PEA, and the Class Licence Scheme and the Internet Code of Practice administered by the Media Development Authority (MDA).

2. Political parties, candidates and election agents are permitted to use the Internet for election advertising based on a “positive list” of activities listed in the Election Advertising Regulations.

3. The “positive list” ensures the responsible use of the Internet during the elections. In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debates could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse flush with rumours and distortions to mislead and confuse the public. The Government has always maintained that political debates should be premised on factual and objective presentation of issues and arguments. The regulations governing Internet campaigning have served well to safeguard the seriousness of the electoral process.

4. Political parties, candidates and their election agents will continue to be guided by the “positive list” in the Election Advertising Regulations in the coming general elections. Party political websites must be registered with the MDA. Failure to register is a breach of the class licence conditions.

5. Private or individual bloggers can discuss politics. However, if they persistently propagate, promote or circulate political issues relating to Singapore , they are required to register with the MDA. During the election period, these registered persons will not be permitted to provide material online that constitutes election advertising.

6. Mr Low has asked about podcasting. I take podcasting to mean the provision of an audio feed over the Internet to subscribers. As I have noted, during the election period, political parties, candidates and election agents must keep to permitted election advertising set out in the “positive list”. Podcasting does not fall within this list.

7. There are also some well-known local blogs run by private individuals who have ventured into podcasting. The content of some of these podcasts can be quite entertaining. However, the streaming of explicit political content by individuals during the election period is prohibited under the Election Advertising Regulations. A similar prohibition would apply to the videocasting, or video streaming of explicitly political content.

8. At this point, the Government has no intention to amend the legislation regulating Internet campaigning during an election. But the review of government regulations is a continual process so as to ensure that they are kept up-to-date. We recognise that in our society, people will have their diverse opinion and some will want to share their opinion. But people should not take refuge behind the anonymity of the Internet to manipulate public opinion. It is better and more responsible to engage in political debates in a factual and objective manner.


From the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts

This blog is not registered with the Singaporean government, has never been asked to register, and if invited to register would NOT register. I soci also intend to post material of an "explicitly political nature" during the elections and will gladly show videocasting and podcasting of election rallies, speeches etc... of opposition candidates.

Other members who contribute to this blog may leave if they wish to.


11 comments:

Thrasymachus said...

Thanks Soci!

This will calm many confused minds.

BEAST said...

Check out my witch hunting post at http://disgruntledsporean.blogspot.com/

Regards
The Beast

Anonymous said...

they are afraid, they should be

"the people indulge in extraordinary revenge against those who have robbed them of their liberty"

The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli

lewd pictures?! for fucks sake are they stupid as well as arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you know what? Why don't we ask Parliament what Temasek is planning to do with Shin Corp now, after Thaksin's resignation. Another investment gone awry now?

Hell, if I were the opposition I'd use this as ammunition.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The internet is an anarchy. Some clever-dick minister and his gang of thugs decides "public education" (mind control) is the way to go:

>That is why we have emphasised the importance of developing public education programmes and industry self-regulation to work hand in hand with legal enforcement, so as to keep our online environment safe for all users.

Dude. The net is actually quite safe. If you feel threatened, just log out and destroy your modem ;-)

The net becomes more dangerous when governments (e.g. China and Singapore) start fucking with it.

>To date, there has been no police report complaining about lewd pictures posted by Singaporeans or of lewd pictures being hosted on blogs in Singapore .

Perhaps there are no "lewd" pictures. There are pictures of naked people doing fun things, but I don't consider those pictures lewd.

Way back in the early days, all dial-up (which was most of us) connections had to go through the IDA's proxy server. They blocked Hustler, Playboy and other porn sites. Yet on one particular govt server there was about 2 gig (a huge amount in those days) of pornography.

>It is crucial for us to address the issue by building up awareness and responsibility in using the Internet among our young users.

I urge every young Singaporean to mistrust the authority of the state, cock a snook at the government and only be limited by their imagination when it comes to using the net to express their opinion.

These are the 6 words by Tim Leary which scared the bejesus out of Lee Kuan Yew 30-40 years ago: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. LKY waged a war against the hippies and the yippies. Dr Goh Keng Swee added fuel to the fire by targeting the "decadent west" and coined the acronym WOG - "Western Oriented Gentlemen". This was the primordial soup of Confucianism, Asian Values and Lee's Nazi-like nationalism.

Dr Tim Leary's multimedia archive: http://www.leary.ru/english/

I suspect that before anyone is admitted to the PAP, they have to have that annoying trait of wanting to dominate over the lives of others.

>[T]the Government has been working actively with the industry and the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to promote greater industry self- regulation.

Dickhead. If the govt is involved, it is no longer "self-regulation".

On podcasting: From what has been said in the minister to minister exchange, it seems that they are shit-scared of podcasting. Same old story: technology empowers the individual, government seeks ways to take away that empowerment.

What next? Will we have to register with the thought-police if we podcast? Or worse still, apply for a license to buy an iPod, an mp3 player, or computer?

And whilst they're seeking to control podcasting, the Straight Times is video and podcasting EVERY DAY, and these days its all about elections. And they wanna bust Chee SJ for podcasting "political" content.

"Do as I say, not as I do". Perhaps it is a matter of "law" (the ass!) - The Straight Times is "registered" and has a "magic" MDA publication number, and Dr Chee does not.

>In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debates could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse flush with rumours and distortions to mislead and confuse the public.

Yep. That's the idea. It's called O-P-I-N-I-O-N. Every time the PAP's police force bust someone for expressing their opinion, they, the PAP add their own "rumours and distortions to mislead and confuse the public". IMO this is definitely UNhealthy.

>Government has always maintained that political debates should be premised on factual and objective presentation of issues and arguments.

So... how come so many people disagree? How come the PAP swings the iron fist at dissent? Many of the dissenters are objective. The PAP, having "objectivity" as its tenet is therefore behaving neurotically.

>We recognise that in our society, people will have their diverse opinion and some will want to share their opinion. But people should not take refuge behind the anonymity of the Internet to manipulate public opinion.

My dear Mr Minister, have you composed other Zen Koans?

It's all opinion. And that's my opinion...

Anyway, Honourable Members of Parliament, here's my suggestion: why don't you take everyone's rights away. Block out the whole internet, and send your coppers on early morning raids to people's houses - drag tem from their beds. Clamp them in irons. Do as you did in the "old days". Have these people appear on TV "apologising" for the errors of their ways.

And yeah... podcast it to the world. Lead by example and show the entire world that the only way to live is to have some Central Brain control everyone's life. Take over the UN. And silence dissidents once and for all.

Heil Harry!

Anonymous said...

It obviously shows they are close and narrow-minded people. they want POWER & CONTROL, however, they fail to see that they can only control others physically but not mentally - what's the point. soon they'll lose respect from others. respect has to be earned and not bought with "no choice" type of johnywalker everything - no significance and not glorious at all.

if they're upright, honest and transparent, there's no need to be afraid of anything else. but this reflects how insecure they're.

on health issue, see how hateful bald man is to the gays and lesbians who thinks these people could spread HIV and now on communication wise, instead of showing the way to open up the communication path to be a more open society, he simply closes it ever more.

how can sg have trust in this bunch of peanuts? afraid they'll impede the economy and devt growth in the long run.

Ghormax said...

I want to watch some explict political content, where can I download that? sounds exciting :)

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