March 28th, 2007
Hosted by Dr. Lee Boon Yang, the appreciation lunch today marks the conclusion of the National Internet Advisory Committee and Community Advisory Committee under MDA. For my (little) contribution, I got a nice stationary for Chinese Calligraphy that my wife probably will put into good use.
Today also marks the beginning of two new committees: AIMS, Advisory Committee on Impact of New Media on Society (Ya, I dont know either…) and IMAC, Internet and Media Advisory Committee (Ya, its corny).
AIMS is the higher level committee that will look at New Media on all aspect on society. Their recommendations to MDA/MICA would have significant impact on New Media, including but not limited to the Singapore bloggers.
The Singapore blogosphere is surprisingly quiet about it. I was kind of expecting some knee-jerking reaction on how Singapore government is trying to control the New Media.
Anyway, let me repeat what I said during the Nexus 2007 panel over the weekend: “Singapore has a two-tier media regulation, one set of rules for the Traditional Media and a light-touch approach towards the New Media”.
The two-tier media regulation is worthy of mention because while the traditional media is subjected to a rigid licensing regulation, Internet content is a simple class license (See Internet Code of Practice) instead. Not many people knows that if you put up any content online, you are automatically licensed by MDA under this class license.
While one may argued that it is fundamentally wrong to even regulate media, it is a matter of opinions, varies from people to people and from times to times. But more importantly, a moot point because this is the reality in Singapore.
It is the light-touch towards Internet content that allows us to setup our own blogs, share our photos, make our own funny podcast and upload homemake video to Youtube. These are what most take for granted forgetting that we probably cant do any of these, not without prior permission from the Minister (yes, no kidding).
This is why I also said during Nexus panel : “The government understand the New Media more than the general public gives them credit for”.
Speaking to some of the members of AIMS during lunch, I get the idea that no one knows how it will developed. It is a huge effort with multiple moving pieces (changing technology, changing behavior and thus changing impacts) and even more possible actions, reactions as well as unintended consequences. Maybe the two-tier media policy will go. Maybe the various Media Acts will be changed/updated. Maybe the whole framework will be replace. No one knows.
But I do have confidence in the capability of the people involved in this, that they will strike a fine-balance in our ever changing Media landscape. As liberal and as light-touch as the general public can accept, no more no less.
And yes, the community comments will be very important. So start talking and even better, send emails and letters to them.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with MDA/MICA so everything I wrote here is my own personal views.