More on regulating blogs and bloggers in Singapore
7, December, 2006 Leave a comment
In yesterday’s post, I shared on the article in Today by Dharmendra Yadav about plans in China and Malaysia to regulate blogs. In today’s Today (hee, couldn’t resist that again), a reader, Chia Hern Keng wrote in: Blogs are market-driven, sharing that regulation goes against the grain of the “open discourse” offered by the Web and which is something that appeals to bloggers in the first place.
Chia does have a point there. One of the reasons why blogs are so popular in China is that many turn to them for views and information they find wanting in mainstream media. Blogs, now seen as part of citizen journalism, offer that space for “open discourse” Chia talks about.
However, inspite of the relatively free space in cyberworld, there is need for some form of control. The key question is control of what and by what or by whom? As the blogosphere matures, it’s inevitable that a natural evolving of blog values will occur, and netiquette and blogtiquette (for want of a better word) would surface.
Of course there has been some nudging by the law as in the case of the racist bloggers in Singapore, but wasn’t the one who blew the whistle on Wee Shu Min a blogger too?
Now, Chia mentions another interesting thing about the self-regulation of bloggers. How this works is that bloggers need to write well and respect their readers in order to retain their readers. (Quite market demand and supply, really.) Despite what many say about writing for self-expression, bloggers want an audience, they need an audience. Thus, if a blogger puts off his readers, sooner or later, that blog will close. That, in a way, is self-regulation.
Surprisingly, or perhaps, NOT surprisingly, the Singapore government is trying to engage bloggers in discussion as it recognises the power of blogs and bloggers in disseminating information and perspectives: Bloggers wanted, as the Government ‘Reaches’ out . Interestingly, this article appeared in Today today too. According to the article, the revamped Feedback Unit’s REACH’s website will launch blogs early next year. Currently, there are 7200 registered users, but only 10 of them have signed up to blog on the site.
Hm…how successful the unit is in engaging more bloggers, as it tries to bridge the mainstream and the not-so mainstream discourses in Singapore remains to be seen.