Monday, April 10, 2006

Podcast & Blogging election ban

I sent this to the Straits Times Forum on the night of 5th April 2006. This letter did not get published in the Straits Times newspaper and online forum pages - which is OK, as it's the editors' right to print what they please. For my own satisfaction, I'm posting it here, for friends to read.

Readers of the Straits Times are often treated to reports of well deserved accolades and global recognition for the high quality of education in Singapore. We have also read of how the Singapore education system has undergone massive changes and received huge investments to create IT literate, critical-thinking, creative citizens well equipped to thrive in an increasingly flattened world.

So it comes as a surprise that Singaporeans, products of our superior education system, are needing to be protected from "a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules," where "political debate could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse, flush with rumors and distortions to mislead and confuse the public." (Paraphrased quote reported in Reuters - see link under References section)

How well the future of our society turns out is a function of the quality of the decisions each citizen makes. Making good decisions requires not just critical, analytical thought processes, but also good access to information. In one of our most important decisions, the selection of members of parliment, we need all the information we can get. A wider range and coverage of viewpoints may allow a few Singaporeans to be fooled by opportunists and charlatans, but it will more than compensate by better spotlighting the true and sincere talents who present themselves for selection as representatives of the people.

There is no place for a law to stop citizens from posting recordings and photographs of election rallies in personal blogs.


A Straits Times article can be found at this link, which at this time, 2pm on Sunday 9 April 2006 is still available for free access. Once this article goes into the archives, one will need to pay SPH for access to the article:

The Straits Times - Political podcasts, videocasts not allowed during election - Tue Apr 4, 2006

The quotation from Dr Balaji that I paraphrased above is from this Reuters report: - Singapore warns bloggers against political postings - Mon Apr 3, 2006