Post General Election 2011, quite a number of developments have crept in to water down the possible effects of what many political commentators have described as “a watershed election”.
Singaporeans greeted the results declared on 7 May 2011 with a mixture of anticipation, hope, surprise, happiness, fear and dismay. For some, it was heralded as the dawn of a new age to be celebrated while for the “silent majority”, a break in status quo was construed as the harbinger of instability.
The PAP majority government was undoubtedly shaken and took a series of measures to regain its reputation. From its reassuring statements of wanting to create a more inclusive society, to the announcement of the Pioneer Package, the PAP government expended its largess to demonstrate the government’s commitment to the populace and its day-to-day life concerns.
While these efforts are laudable, a number of measures were taken over time to curb the flow of information to Singaporeans. It is no secret that in the lead up to the 2011 general election, it was the use of social media and the growth of online socio political blogs that gave the opposition parties traction with the general public. A very vital component to swaying public opinion is by limiting and controlling the information flow.
Singapore is no longer just the prosperous South East Asian city that is striving to developed country status. In an increasingly globalised country that sees massive international influence coupled with the instantaneous nature of the internet means that the old methods of censorship would no longer work. In order to achieve the same results of information control as yester year, softer methods will have to be employed to dilute the draconian effects of control.
Some of the softer measures would include the setting up of the Media Literacy Council (MLC) in 2012 to “raise the media literacy level of Singaporeans so that everyone can benefit even more from the Internet, and traditional and new media,” in an advisory capacity.
Given that we already had the Media Development Authority (MDA), was the creation of the MLC even necessary? Whether or not this was indeed the case, it did raise questions as to whether the MLC was created to influence the flow of online information to Singaporeans at large.
Quite apart from the possibility of a murky agenda, the MLC has faced its share of high profile scandals. Most notably were the online gaffes made Calvin Cheng.
Mr Cheng’s membership to a council that is intended to educate the public on how to use the internet takes irony to a whole new level. Quite apart from irony, it does beg the question of how members are selected in the first instance. Do they really have media credentials or were they chosen on the basis of party loyalty?
A very big demographic of our local online community would be the independent bloggers who are not affiliated to any major news networks or government bodies. Yet, another glaring omission on the membership of the MLC is the exclusion of representation from the independent bloggers.
How can the MLC adequately educate the public on the uses of the Internet if that demographic is not invited to the party? It is the proverbial giant elephant in the room!
17 new members of the MLC have recently been announced. Yet again, representation from the alternative media is noticeably absent. Why so?
I do not know all of the new members but based on a quick look at their profiles, it would appear to me that an overwhelming majority of them are from government affiliated or government friendly corporations. While I do not doubt the competence of the new members, the possibility of the MLC promoting a self serving internet agenda does run the risk of coming across.
Besides, what are the credentials of these new members and what is the basis of their selection? Shouldn’t there be more transparency in the membership of a council imbued with the authority to advise us?
|Mr Lock Wai Han (Chairman)||Former Executive Director and Group CEO Rowsley Ltd||Yes||No|
|Professor Ang Peng Hwa (Vice-Chairman)||Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information Nanyang Technological University||Yes||Yes|
|Mr Alvin Tan||Head of Public Policy, Southeast Asia Facebook||Yes||Yes|
|Mr Andrew Lim||Principal Victoria School||No||No|
|Dr Carol Soon||Senior Research Fellow Institute of Policy Studies||Yes||Yes|
|Mr Chong Ee Jay||Manager TOUCH Cyber Wellness TOUCH Community Services||Yes||No|
|Mr Edmund Tay||Parent Blogger www.EdUnloaded.com||Yes||Yes|
|Mr Goh Lih Shiun||Country Lead, Policy and Government Affairs (Southeast Asia) Google||Yes||No|
|Ms Iris Lin||Assistant Director Youth Division Fei Yue Community Services||Yes||No|
|Mr Jeffrey Ali||Senior Director – Youth Marketing and Insights MediaCorp||No||No|
|Mr Kumaran Barathan||CEO SINDA||Yes||No|
|Ms Lin Shu Fen||Vice President Family Segment and HubLife StarHub||No||No|
|Mr Nicholas Gabriel Lim||Principal Psychologist Director of Development, Education and Youth Emergenetics International – Asia Pacific||Yes||No|
|Mr Steve Tan||Director Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute Social Media Team NTUC||No||No|
|Mrs Tan Wan Yu||Principle Millenia Institue||No||No|
|Mr Walter Lim||Director and Editor Cooler Insights||Yes||Yes|
|Ms Aileen Tan||Group Chief Human Resources Officer SingTel||Yes||Yes|
|Ms Anita Kuan||Director of School of Film and Media Studies Ngee Ann Polytechnic||Yes||Yes|
|Mrs Christine Lam||Principal Yangzheng Primary School||No||No|
|Dr Damien Cheong||Research Fellow S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Nanyang Technological University||No||No|
|Ms Gam Huey Yi||Director of Student Education and Development and Corporate Communications CDC||No||No|
|Ms Irene Ang||CEO Fly entertainment||Yes||Yes|
|Mr Jeff Cheong||President Tribal Worldwide Asia Head of Tribal, Worldwide Singapore||Yes||Yes|
|Dr Jiow Hee Jhee||Assistant Professor and Deputy Programme Director Singapore Institute of Technology||No||No|
|Dr Lim Sun Sun||Assistant Dean (Research) Department of Communications and New Media National University of Singapore||Yes||No|
|Ms Natasha Zhao||Digital Management Consultant QED Consulting||No||No|
|Ms Stephanie Hung||Founder and CEO|
Alitheia Partners Pte. Ltd.
|Ms Susan Ng||Producer-Presenter 938Live MediaCorp||No||No|
|Mr Tong Yee||Co-Founder and Director The Thought Collective||Yes||No|
|Mdm Zulaiha Bte Yusuf||COO MENDAKI||No||No|