5 Mar 2007

Panel to Study Impact of New Media

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By Ong Soh Chin

AN ADVISORY panel will be set up to look into the new media's long-term impact on tech-savvy Singaporeans.

Senior Minister of State (Information, Communications and the Arts) Balaji Sadasivan announced this in Parliament on Saturday.

He noted that Singaporeans had taken well to the Internet.

But it was equally important to study the long-term social, ethical, legal and regulatory implications of the new media.

Details of the new high-level committee will be announced only later, he said.

For the present, however, a three-pronged approach to managing the new media was working well, he told MPs.

The approach comprised a light-touch regulatory framework, self-regulation by the industry, and public education.

With this approach, 'there is currently no need for a separate Internet Code of Ethics', he said.

'This light-touch regulatory approach has served us well in regulating online content, helping to facilitate the growth of the industry while allowing us to act if we find harmful content that threatens our social values, and racial and religious harmony.'

He was responding to Ms Penny Low (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) and Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong who queried the existing regulatory framework for policing the Internet.

Internet service providers are regulated under the Media Development Authority's (MDA) Class Licence Scheme along with an Internet Code of Practice.

The former requires service providers to block objectionable sites. Content providers that deal with politics or religion also have to register when notified to do so.

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