Singapore’s take on the Internet and New Media
24, March, 2007 1 Comment
“Nothing to hide” so Govt takes Internet in its stride ” says Dr Vivian Balakhrishnan, Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts in Singapore, when addressing the Foreign Correspondents Association this week in Singapore.
Dr Balakhrishnan does not think that individual bloggers will be able to make any political impact using new media, especially the odd anonymous political blogger, but also deemed it important to make it clear that “the Government would not hesitate to demolish those who crossed the line”.
I’m not really sure Dr Balakhrishnan is aware of the full power of new media and citizen journalism when he said, “Most blogs have a readership of one — the person who wrote it. It would be futile and unnecessary to chase every single blog. We look at accuracy and we look at impact.” Looking at the current political race in the USA, it’s no secret that a lot of the campaigning is driven by new media, which goes to show the political prowess of new media.
Anyway, Dr Balakhrishnan is right in saying that the Internet can indeed promote “transparency and openness” as the truth will be out. There’s very little space to hide on the cyberhighway. Sooner or later, someone is bound to catch you and expose whatever secrets you have, of course, especially if you are a politician! And according to Dr Balakhrishnan, “Singapore’s leaders have nothing to hide and are not afraid of the new media” and the Government’s approach towards new media postings is “If it is true, I have to reply. If it is untrue, I have to demolish it. If it is seditious or defamatory, we will go after the person.” Well, old media, new media…looks like it’s the same approach. But what is expected to change is that there will be more use of new media such as blogs and Web chats to engage Singaporeans!