MDA replies to Lionel De Souza

On 15 June 2009, a complaint letter was written to TODAYonline alleging that certain comments on The Online Citizen violated the Penal Code. The letter also implored the Media Development Authority to “look into the conduct of TOC’s moderators”.

We reproduce MDA’s reply below:

WE THANK Mr Lionel De Souza for his feedback on TODAYonline (“Website moderators failed to exercise moderation”, June 15) regarding the posts on The Online Citizen, pertaining to the article “Perdition and Sedition”.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) places a high premium on safeguarding against harmful and undesirable online content that could disrupt our religious harmony. At the same time, given the global and borderless nature of the Internet, we recognise that there are practical limitations to what legislation can do to regulate the Internet.

MDA has therefore adopted a pragmatic approach that emphasises industry self-regulation and public education in addition to a light-touch regulatory framework via the Class Licence Scheme.

Under this approach, Internet content providers and service providers are required to exercise their own judgment and discretion to ensure that their content and services comply with the Class Licence conditions and the Internet Code of Practice. Please refer to www.mda.gov.sg for details.

If the content breaches the Code, the content provider will be warned and given a chance to remove the content, and should the content provider fail to do so, MDA will not hesitate to take more serious action against the content provider.

Community self-regulation and public education are critical prongs in our strategy to ensure responsible use of media on the online platform. Hence, we encourage Internet users to make known their concerns to website administrators directly, should they come across objectionable content on their websites.

Yuvarani Thangavelu
Deputy Director (Licensing Policy)
Development Policy Media Development Authority