a community of singaporeans

Bloggers’ meeting : 4th Dec 2007

Posted by theonlinecitizen on November 24, 2007

A government-linked body has embarked on a review of the regulatory framework over the internet. While the focus of the review seems to be “what to regulate and how to regulate”, there is a sense from those currently being consulted that the aim of this exercise is not liberalisation.

So far, those being consulted appears to be the elite – the “experts”.

There is a need for ordinary bloggers – and filmmakers who intend to put video material on the internet – to get together and organise a submission to the relevant bodies, putting across the perspective of practitioners.

This call for a bloggers’ meeting should interest those who often discuss politics and society in their work.

Date, time and venue:

Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 7 – 9 pm
At the Substation, Classroom 2.
Armenian Street

This first meeting is meant for brainstorming the key issues; then to organise into teams to draft various parts of the intended submission. The teams have one week (till the second meeting) to work on their respective parts.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 7 – 9 pm
At the Substation, Classroom 2.
Armenian Street

The second meeting is for the various drafts to be brought together and stitched/reconciled into a joint submission.

What to expect:

  • You should already be operating a blog, or producing content that is meant for uploading (e.g. videos, writing regularly for someone else’s blog)
  • We should be able to accommodate up to 20 – 25 persons; we do not need a large crowd as that would be unwieldy.
  • The meeting, once begun, will be “closed door” i.e. not open to reporting. No journalists allowed.
  • Please get something to eat before the meeting starts; bring your own drink.

Background reading:

Participants are requested to familiarise themselves with the legal and regulatory background beforehand.

Suggested reading (do a websearch):

  1. Broadcasting Act
  2. Media Development Authority of Singapore Act
  3. Internet Code of Conduct
  4. Internet Class Licence Scheme
  5. Films Act
  6. Parliamentary Elections Act
  7. Election Advertising Regulations
  8. Penal Code, Sections 298, 298A, etc
  9. Penal Code, Sections 499, 505, etc
  10. Sedition Act

Please help spread the open call for this meeting.



28 Responses to “Bloggers’ meeting : 4th Dec 2007”

  1. Dark/ness said

    “what to regulate and how to regulate.”

    No, no, I know the pastor who told you that it is OK to diversify into the property business that life is simple, but it cannot be that simple – trust me.

    Firstly, the only thing, they can conduct out of all this is probably lightning. They might as well try to plough the sea or something.

    Understand this! The moment the conditions are not right, all it takes is 2 hours 45 minutes to register a site in Sweden.

    After that you can go and try to regulate as much as you want – they are irrelevant and even their masters know it.

    There is no need to do anything.

    Dark/ness 2007

    Leave a Reply

  2. Sam said

    Well, bloggers in Singapore are “complementary” journalists. The government had and still has continued to exercise a “light touch” approach on internet media, so long as you do not threaten the legitimacy of the government or ruling party, so long as you do not post racially/religiously insensitive material (nevermind true or false), so long as you do not discredit someone to the warrant a cry of defamation.

    “Public interest” and “fair comment” are possible defences against defamation suits or wolf-calls (see crying wolf).

    Media regulation in Singapore should basically be multi-tiered, buttressed by the same need for social responsibility by all content creators, meaning different rules for different domains of media. Furthermore, full control and regulation of internet media is impossible, and by implementing and applying the law to the internet, the system will definitely be seen as inadequate and hypocritical, because it is unable to enforce the law homogenously across a space without boundaries (unless it does a Burma, or unless the entire island’s internet connection is wired under one central system, something IDA is proposing in 2015 or something).

    You are inquisitive and you report the truth and you hold not fear voicing your opinion and will be responsible for voicing it by putting a face and name to it. The law and internet media content regulation should uphold this.

    The content regulation of mainstream media may still be the same, but the stringent rules of which should not extend to that of new media. The mainstream media, whether pro-government on paper or not, have their own economic agenda. This is in contrast with bloggers who have their own interests. Given diversity in interests, ranging from the cultural, social, political and perhaps commercial, there should be a shift towards self-regulation of new media content, rather than a singular system governing all, unless this singular system is mature and able to accomoate the differing interests in different domains. If the system is too obsessed with maintaing political legitimacy and authoritative longevity, it is not mature enough to handle new media content. Let content creators handle content creators and when they do cross the lines of criminal law, we leave them to the law.

    The internet space is a market space (though not a perfect market situation, given Singaporean netizens haven’t reach a critical mass in cyberspace). Let the market handle the (mis)information.

  3. One simple answer.

    Why should there even be any regulation? Why is the legitimacy of the ruling party sacrosanct? I certainly do not believe that any political party should enjoy such a privileged position.

    If there is any review, it should be for greater liberalisation. Any attempt to muzzle the internet will be met by “I-don’t care-you’re still-being-a-twit”.

  4. I suspect the review is now taking place because – unlike in the past when the govt saw mainstream media as dominant and online media as peripheral – they are now seized by the obvious trends: mainstream media has declining circulation (TCS TV viewership is in something like free fall) while online media is gaining prominence.

    The old policy of a light touch was partly predicated on the belief that there was no real need to regulate the internet tightly, since digital media impacted only a tiny proportion of people. As this old assumption is upturned, one can see that the govt might want a tighter regulation of online media to prevent it from having “undesirable” mass impact.

    At an earlier consultation, someone was reported to have said that things have gone so far in America that government officials were no longer just calling press conferences to release information, they were also calling bloggers’ conferences. This suggests an awareness that online media will soon be as important as mainstream media.

    Does this mean regulation of online media should be brought in line with the regulation of mainstream media?

  5. miniminister said

    Allow me to just say this. I am very sure the authorities have a very good grasp of the business situation and I really dont see why they should do anything to sabotage the “conditions.” I am very sure every quarter without exception appreciates the limitless potential of the net for both socio and economic good.

    So there is no need to take such a belligerent and negative attitude. In fact, I am very certain, the authorities and relevant parties will be more than willing to work towards ground with groups such as the brotherhood, with their wide experience in the cyber gaming network, their views will certainly enhance any discussion.

    Perhaps a diplomatic mission can be expected :). Let us start by talking.

    *Comments edited by moderator.

  6. Again, undesirable to who? IMHO, there should be none of this tacit recognition of such a hegemonic framework.

    As for dismantling it, here’s a cold beer for one and all who’re working towards liberalisation.

    If the state-supported media cannot float, let it sink. That’s economics at work.

  7. Darkness said


    For there to common ground, there must be common understanding.

    Unfortunately, this does not appear to exist. It disturbs me as an observer to note till to date no substantive definition has been forwarded to effectively pin down the term ‘soft touch.’ Neither has the goal of regulation been fleshed out. What has been frequently highlighted no end instead is the feral nature of the internet and how it may pose a risk to either this or that? I don’t dispute that’s an area of concern, but just to put a sense of scale to it, it probably constitutes less than 5% of the salient – what abt the 95%? Such as creating the right conditions for creativity and innovation to bring forth opportunities in terms of employment, revenue and wealth generation?

    So far these have only been given cursory advancement so far and that is regrettable. What needs to be emphasized is this, if regulation i.e policing is to form the main discussion AGAIN and not the rest of the 95% as I have mentioned, then as an observer I need to ask whether the agenda even makes sense? I can very well argue that is an area which requires maybe less than two cells somewhere in my big toe to resolve. The main issue should be: how to create the right conditions for a vibrant creative and innovative environment to take root? So far the people who typically dominate this forum have absolutely no trek record in the generating wealth in the internet. They haven’t even so much sold a fridge magnet! Neither do they display any inclination in the area of creating such a business environment. In fact they are woefully inadequate in every respect! Useless!

    This remains a regrettable reality. And I hope it will be redressed! As such we believe it is premature at this stage to even attempt to find common ground unless this issues that I have highlighted have been resolved. Meanwhile allow me to reiterate, if the conditions are ‘not right,’ then all it takes is two hours and forty five minutes to migrate somewhere else – this hopefully will convey the reality, that the internet is like any domain, one needs to create the right conditions for things to happen, otherwise people will vote with their mouse clickers. Having said that we will certainly send observers, one to represent the economic interest of our guilds, two Pre- Science officers and three class 4 diplomats to report to the confederation (our foreign gaming allies who show great interest in developments), they will report on the outcome – I regret to inform you, for the time being this remains the extent of our commitment.

    We wish you God speed in your enterprise!

    Darkness 2007

  8. Darkness,

    “So far the people who typically dominate this forum have absolutely no trek record in the generating wealth in the internet. ”

    Keep the brush away from the tar. Thank you.

  9. HL YANG said

    Good Morning all,

    Darkness has certainly highlighted some important points to consider very seriously. I did not really see it as a 5% vs 95% issue. I wonder how did you come to that specific appraisal, care to share?

    Firstly, he contends, there are other issues other than the current preoccupation with security which deserves more attention.

    I believe currently the authorities are focussed on those issues only because that is really all they can do. I do not believe as Darkness rightly mentioned they either have the experiential knowledge or the core competence to direct themselves to the real issues which is generating wealth and opportunities in the blogosphere.

    This is of course a very hard hitting claim, but I have reviewed the panelist and not a single one of them have any experience in the area of growing businesses online. They may have once been part of a committee, but as far as direct involvement is concerned, there is certainly none. So my question is this, are the people selected to form the panel even the right people?

    I find it bizzare that people who have absolutely no knowledge in nurturing businesses online have a claim on such an important portfolio, that is shaping the eventual form of something that will affect thousands of businessman.

    I don’t want to take sides, but I seriously believe Darkness has certainly raised a host of important questions which deserved to be properly addressed.

    Thank You / HL YANG

  10. […] We don’t need no regulation.. – The Online Citizen: Bloggers’ meeting : 4th Dec 2007 […]

  11. netizen said

    “A government-linked body has embarked on a review of the regulatory framework over the internet.”

    Can we have the identity of this govt-linked body? WHo are the organisers?

    More transparency in this aspect is required.

  12. Zheng Xi said


    Sorry for the omission. The body is the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (Aims) headed by SPH’s Cheong Yip Seng.

    Zheng Xi

  13. Lee Boon Yang, (MICA minister) said in a speech on 20 June 2007:

    11 Let me move on to the social impact. The social impact of new media is now a daily staple of media reporting. We know about the social ills and dangers of porn sites, sex predators in chatrooms and the influence of radical websites on otherwise ordinary people. Recently, we had to detain a Singaporean for his involvement in potential terrorist activities. He was not a religious fanatic but a trained lawyer who became involved with terrorism through the internet websites promoting extreme religious and terrorist ideology. It showed how self-radicalisation can take place when individuals are sucked into the vortex of lies and distortion on the internet. This incident showed how even well educated individuals ended up indoctrinated and manipulated by people behind such radical websites. They learn terrorist tactics and gain contacts with terrorist organisations online.

    12 Governments will have to be very vigilant to deal with this new threat. Up till now, we have adopted a “light touch” approach to new media. Despite the risks and threats, we believe that this is still the most practical approach to manage the new media. However, we will have to be alert to the presence of websites which pose a threat to our society with their radical online content. Where necessary we will be prepared to restrict access to such websites.


    See also

  14. The minister failed to realise that his so-called radical websites are also part of research resources people studying counter-terrorism, strategic studies and security studies rely on.

    Beef up the intelligence, don’t take short cuts and use them as excuses to perform more censorship.

    When politicians are stagnant, look at Australia.

  15. Darkness said

    The issue here is very straight forward: what is the most effective way to root out radicalism in the internet or for that matter anywhere? Is it by regulating and policing? If that is really a solution, then Iraq today would be the most peaceful country in the world today, because per square kilometer per capita, it is the most policed place on this planet! But instead crime and radical elements continue to proliferate no end.

    This underscores the need to craft a holistic policy which is able to address the underlying roots of radicalism and even the best security experts are unanimous the only way to sensibly accomplish this is by creating the conditions for ‘good elements’ to take hold and hopefully take off – much of what constitutes the ‘good elements’ needs to be self sustaining, so no matter how one cuts it, one can never run away from creating a vibrant ecology that continually attracts the best in creative talent and more importantly capital i.e the creation of a sustainable online economy.

    However, to reach there one needs to be able to see the entire issue of security / sustainable economy with a sense of scale and perspective – this cannot be over estimated!

    As I mentioned previously, terrorism is a serious problem, but let us not confuse the internet (medium) with terrorism, they could just as well spread their message of hate using homing pigeons, Morse code or cue cards. Fact remains, the vast majority of bloggers are peace loving folk – confusing the issue is like saying all cars should be banned because a minority of people regularly drink and drive causing accidents – that may be a palpable truth, but to assume that is in any way representative of the car owning community is just plain silly and to even suggest for one moment that should form the basis, rationale and logic of introducing regulatory measures to ban all automobiles is crazy – if we can appreciate this cannot be practically done for automobiles, trains and aeroplanes (which incidentally were used as missiles to plough into the World Trade centre), then why should this shitty 2 cell logic apply to the internet? – can anyone tell me?

    Besides the last time I checked our ministers are paid $2.2 million, so what are the type of questions serious people would ask?

    Firstly, they will ask, can you share with us your master plan for creating a sustainable online community? What are the elements which are required for this to take off? For instance, how do you propose to create an environment which is able to attract the most creative talent to the local scene? What are the elements which will form the basis of attracting investment into the internet? As you can see the questions aren’t so different from how one may cross examine the trade and industry minister – however please don’t confuse this with hardware and infrastructure, I am referring specifically to software or thoughtware ONLY. Any fool can lay out miles and miles of co-axial cable again or built transmission beacons that requires only $2.20 of imagination, the really smart people ask – hey what is your long term plan for the brain juice to handshake with the infrastructure?

    But don’t hold your breathe if you don’t get any answers – you know why that’s the part that really requires skill, imagination and creativity. Now you know why everyone is happy to play the national security card! Once you ppl decide to get serious, put $2.2 million in small notes in a bin bag and give me a call, I will come along in my bicycle and pick it up and hopefully we can sit down and really do something meaningful. As it is, I am not interested, because as I mentioned previously the level of interest and commitment is still woefully lacking, I don’t deal with amateurs!

    Darkness 2007

  16. Netizen said

    Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMS)

    Cheong Yip Seng
    Editorial Advisor, Singapore Press Holdings
    Deputy Chairman
    Prof Tan Cheng Han
    Dean, Faculty of Law, NUS

    •Lucas Chow
    Chief Executive Officer, MediaCorp
    •Robin Hu
    Executive Vice-President, Singapore Press Holdings
    •Zuraidah Ibrahim
    Political Editor, The Straits Times
    •Koh Su Haw
    Assistant Vice-President, Singapore Exchange Ltd
    •Professor Eddie Kuo
    Executive Director, Singapore Internet Research Centre, NTU
    •Allen Lew Yoong Keong
    Chief Executive Officer, SingTel
    •Charles Lim
    Principal Senior State Counsel, Law Reform and Revision Division Attorney-General’s Chambers
    •Assoc Prof Anh Tuan Nuyen
    Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, NUS
    •Assoc Prof Milagros Rivera
    Head, Communications and New Media, NUS
    •Assoc Prof Daniel Seng
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, NUS
    •Manogaran Suppiah
    Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Indian Development Association

    Looking at the list above I know it will be a waste of time.

  17. blackshirt said

    I do not really get it. Why do you have a SPH guy be the chairman? We all know how SPH operates. Remember that Mr Tony Tan is there. The end result that these guys are trying to achieve is to have “nation building guidelines” in the blogsphere. And we are not talking about blogs that tell you what they eat for lunch or dinner.

  18. Mulan said

    Ha ha ha appointing a wax work from SPH to drive this is like getting a Nazi cabinet to run the Jewish State of Israel. What do they really expect to get out of this? Hello, can someone please hit me over head! Am I the only one who notices this. I must really be smart: it’s a conflict of interest the size of a white elephant!

    Expect nothing!

  19. Mulan said

    The very fact, this is even part of the agenda “nation building guidelines” simply guarantees this will amount to a big fat nothing.

  20. […] posted on both sites say this of the government-linked study: ‘So far, those being consulted appear to be the […]

  21. James Chia said

    It’s weird to have SPH’s Mr Cheong to lead the team of members from GLCs, NTU and NUS. I thought online media like blogging and free internet news is cutting into mainstream media SPH’s profits? I hope the review is not intended to save SPH and to curb the freedom of speech.

  22. It is precisely because the compostiion of the AIMS panel is such that nowhere in the call for a bloggers’ meeting is it set down that the submission is to go to or through AIMS. As reported in the Straits Times’ article today, it is merely a trigger for us. The first step is to organise ourselves and our thoughts on the subject and then see what avenues there are to bring them up. Just because the government has set up AIMS is no reason for bloggers to accept that it is the only route forward.

    (My joke about a parliamentary petition was apparently lost on the Straits Times reporter!)

  23. Gloriana said

    Hello 🙂

    If I read the situation correctly, the b’hood have decided to pull out altogether, that is indeed a most regrettable development.

    I can understand why the members in AIMS prefer to engage those who have no working experience etc. I mean can you imagine if they had to discuss terms and conditions with some one like Darkness? Firstly it will not be easy. For one he will demand terms of parity. Secondly he will make sure reputations would be placed on the line and there will be real penalties, if one gets it wrong or says something stupid. I have seen this man in action, he will go for the throat, it’s hardly for the faint hearted.

    I suspect this is the same reason why the Singapore Socio blogosphere review done by Mr Bernard Leong and Kevin Lim never ever once mentioned them, too sticky, despite highlighting the Intelligent Singapore. As to how they could have possibly missed out the B’hood and still manage to mention the IS is completely beyond me or anyone.

    Most regrettable. From this point onwards it is fair to assume they will dismiss AIMS as irrelevant and will even communicate this to their partners. I wonder why only a few key bloggers were invited? In my view this is a terrible waste. Having the b’hood there would have ensured very little goes underneath the radar as they have a big network.

    Very sad indeed, a golden opportunity was thrown away – I think it is reasonable to expect very little from this blogger meeting.

    I am however very curious why Darkness doesn’t feel the need to participate?

  24. Gloriana said

    “Although Aims has invited some bloggers for roundtable discussions, it is not enough for bloggers like Mr Choo Zheng Xi, a law undergraduate at the National University of Singapore.

    Said the 21-year-old who owns ‘We thought a submission paper would be more impactful than five or six bloggers sitting with a whole lot of other people.”

    Why didn’t AIMS invite more people? Do they feel the theonlinecitizen represents blogosphere? I don’t think we can expect very much from all this and I spent the whole morning studying the list of panelist. I am very sorry, I do not see any experts there, not even a single one. I really don’t know who they are trying to fool, but they are certainly not fooling the real experts.

  25. mummy said

    Omg why so like this? Yes,i think it is clear for all to c, they just want to go thru the process of saying, we consulted u ppl.but as we all know without the participation of bambi and his gang, its as good as vote of zero confidence. the games hv started\ he is already ply psychological warfare with them.

  26. If SPH is at the helm, then there is little that needs to be said.

    It could very well be an exercise in futility. How do you reconcile such a conflict of interest.

    Someone up there has no common sense, and is trying to collide two larger interests.

  27. jian said

    SPH means its kelong lah, no wonder they boycot la

  28. […] […]

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