Last year in August, I was invited as a panellist for “New Media: A Light Touch Approach? – alongside Dr. Jack Lee of the Singapore Management University and Member of Parliament Mr. Baey Yam Keng – and we spoke of three main points at the event: new websites challenging the dominance of the mainstream media, the regulation of the Internet, as well as the future of new media in Singapore.
Read “Old Points About New Media“, and here’s a short excerpt:
How the Internet should be regulated is less clear. Already news sites have independent editorial and moderation policies, and having a loose collection of writers or websites to decide a reasonable Internet code of conduct would be near-impossible. Mr. Baey described the Internet as “[a] space for voices which are more marginalised”, and as a “neutral platform where [Singaporeans should] learn to accept diversity, as well as contradicting values, interests, and positions”. “A marketplace of ideas” was the phrase Dr. Lee used.
There was also a question about Mr. Roy Ngerng and the defamation suit, but I thought the answer to misinformation and disinformation was still media literacy.
The question – in Dr. Lee’s opinion – is whether the government can shed its cautious approach, to “trust that people on the Internet can act in a mature way”. I agree. A friend of his had produced a documentary on female suicide bombers arrested by the Israeli police, and even though views from the victims’ relatives and the suicide bombers were sought, for balance, the censorship advisory board thought that society was not mature enough, that some might not be able to discern the nuances. Progressively Dr. Lee reckons, as more intelligent Singaporeans express the views the sensible opinions, like cream, will rise to the top.