Where we were, and where we are going
Founded in December 2006, The Online Citizen (TOC) has made significant inroads in the area of cyber activism in Singapore. Since then, we have been at the forefront of some of the most controversial issues in Singapore, telling the stories that the mainstream media cannot or refuse to tell.
On 16 December 2010, just months before Singapore’s 2011 General Elections, TOC ran the its first Face-to-Face forum, an engagement platform that saw all active political parties, save the ruling party (which did not respond to our invitation), represented. The event was a clear break away from traditional broadcast – unscripted, it saw participants engage vigorously and openly with each other and a ‘studio’ audience on the biting issues for the impending elections. Recorded and posted online, the forum drew the approval of our readers for presenting political coverage as never before.
However, Face-to-Face also drew attention in other quarters. On 17 February 2011, the Prime Minister took the unprecedented step of gazetting a website (i.e. us) as a political association under the Political Donations Act. The Media Development Authority also registered TOC as a “political website”.
Undeterred by what most perceived to be an attempt to muzzle us, TOC covered the 2011 General Elections with distinction. We went on to organise Face-to-Face 2 on 18 August 2011, featuring the four candidates in the 2011 Presidential Election in a no-holds-barred debate.
We are a long way from having a media environment that is truly free and open, that speaks for the rights and concerns of Singaporeans. As such, TOC will continue to champion the voices that are not heard, within our capability to do so. As a volunteer-based organisation, we depend on the goodwill, dedication and passion of our capable pool of writers, photographers, videographers, researchers, analysts, event managers, and any other role that helps us take a step closer towards our Mission. We will continue to expand our volunteer base, and in return offer a platform to champion the issues that they are passionate about.