Source: Channel News Asia.

About three weeks ago, on 4 May (Saturday), the Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam appeared in a YouTube video and Facebook video with Ah Lian, a well-known Internet personality and the alter ego of actress Michelle Chong.

The video, was seen to tap on the other side of the Minister where he took a light and easy approach to explain the recently passed Protection of Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (POFMA) to the public.

In the video, Mr Shanmugam covered concerns regarding the Bill which include who determines what is fake news, what happens if someone shares a fake news and the process involved if one goes to court to decide whether something is fake, among others. However, as TOC highlighted in its Facebook post, most of the concerns expressed by the internet tech giants, academics, journalists and civil society were not addressed by the Minister.

Following that, the Straits Times (ST) published an article titled The art of soft sell: Political leaders changing how they communicate with public” where it somehow pinpointed on the negative aspects of the video.

Citing experts, ST wrote that Mr Shanmugam and other politicians are opting for a softer approach to send across the Government’s messages to people whom mainstream media does not always reach.

However, it noted that this approach has potential pitfalls like people will still remain unconvinced with such a method or it contradicts with the politician’s usual persona, just like what happened with the Law Minister with his YouTube video with Chong.

Upon reading ST’s article, Mr Shanmugam took to his Facebook on Monday (20 May) to castigate the newspaper for its article regarding the video.

He said that ST assumed that his video with Chong will talk in-detail about POFMA, but it “was not intended for that purpose”.

He explained that it was actually part of “a multi-faceted engagement and communications effort”.

“The Michelle Chong video sought to reach those with limited time or interest and who might have wanted to know only some key points. This included people which mainstream media does not reach. And I believe we succeed in reaching this group,” he said.

The Minister noted that the video had been viewed by over 1 million people and the reach could probably be wider. In addition, it also received thousands of positive feedbacks from numerous parties, including journalists from other media excluding ST.

He added, “I am reasonably confident that the video reached more people than those who read news articles in MSM. We had hoped that after watching the video, some might then go on to follow the debate in greater detail”.

As such, Mr Shanmugam pointed out that ST failed to look at all these positive facts and only “highlighted the views of a few persons who didn’t like the video, or thought that it was not an appropriate way to engage”. “We too heard from people with such views, but they were a small number”.

He then wrote that the Government has to try out different methods to communicate their policies as mainstream media does not reach everyone in the society. Due to this, even the Ministry of Finance tested out social influencers to communicate the Budget a few years ago.

“This is why the Government has stepped up ground engagement through such means as Reach, the Silver Generation Officer and the Community Network for Seniors. And this is why I did the video with Michelle Chong, which went viral,” Mr Shanmugam wrote.

In the end of his post, he mentioned that the Ministry of Law had previously noted that the amount of money spent on non-mainstream video is just “a fraction of what the Government spends on advertisements in the mainstream media”, which ST failed to report on.

In the comment section of his post, many netizens conveyed their support to Mr Shanmugam for his light-hearted video, including Nas Daily. The famous travel vblogger who recently moved to Singapore said he personally liked the video as he reminded him of the campaign former US President Barack Obama did with Obamacare to reach wider audience.

However, he highlighted that negative comments almost always get a bigger attention than the supportive ones, both in Singapore and around the world. Most articles will only focus on the 10% disapproval rather than the 90% approval rating.

He ended his comment by stating that he has “no opinion on this matter or this law”. All he is doing is just “publicly observing”.

Following his comment, Mr Shanmugam replied and thanked the vblogger for his comment and support. However, he noted that Nas Daily is not “precluded from expressing any views” it has regarding POFMA.

On the other hand, even actress Michelle Chong penned down her thoughts about the ST’s article in the comment section. She said that she was shocked with ST’s one-sided article where it had gotten “all one-sided views of experts on this subject matter”.

She added that “the article completely and conveniently ignored the video’s over half a million ORGANIC views”, which had garnered 24,000% more likes to dislikes. Although Chong is not “discrediting the comments of 7 to 8 experts” in the article, but she “would have expected and appreciated some objectivity in the article, especially when it was not written as a column or an opinion piece but a seemingly researched one”.

As such, she felt that the authors of this article had “a pre-conceived premise with which they wanted to present the article” which should be then written as an opinion piece.

In response, Mr Shanmugam thanked Chong and said that the statistics highlighted by her shows just how much the video was liked and well-received by the public.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

大国频在南中国海军事活动 马国元首提醒需关注海洋疆域课题

今日(18日)马来西亚国会重新召开,马国国家元首苏丹阿都拉,在致词时提醒马国必须对海洋疆域课题敏感。 “大国在南中国海不断升级的军事活动值得关注。”对此,马国元首谕令,应时刻对马国海洋疆域保持敏感。 根据马国国防媒体Air Times 报导,元首也提醒马国现任政府,需确保马国国防政策和策略,需考量多方面因素,包括外交、国际协议,马国的地理位置和在亚太区的地缘政治。 4月中旬,路透社报导,中方勘探船只“海洋地质八号”,出现在马来西亚国家石油公司(Petronas)一艘探勘船的活动范围附近。 根据当时的船舶追踪服务网站Marine Traffic资料,“海洋地质八号”位于马来西亚外海325公里处,在马国专属经济区内。 而美国海军也声称,美利坚号两栖攻击舰(USS America LHA-6)和邦克山号航空母舰(USS Bunker…

Over 180 scholars and academics slam Lianhe Zaobao’s characterisation of racism in Singapore as “unproductive” in open letter

The editorial by Chinese Daily Lianhe Zaobao titled “Expand public space to…

【冠状病毒19】6月4日新增517例确诊 包括15社区病例

根据卫生部文告,截至本月4日中午12时,本地新增 517例冠状病毒19病例确诊。 新增病患大多为住宿舍工作准证持有者。今增 15例社区病例,其中两人是本地公民或永久居民,其余13人是工作准证持有者。 这些社区病例,都与早前确诊病例有关联,且属于无症状患者,当局为他们进行检测以进行确认。 本地累计确诊病例已增至3万6922例。当局仍在搜集病例详情并将在晚些时候公布。


国家发展部长黄循财在博客发贴文,建屋发展局将提供公共组屋买家另一选项,从今年中开始,买家可透过“剩余组屋再销售活动”(Re-offer of Balance Flats,简称ROF),随时上网申请该活动中未售出的组屋,并在下一个工作日就订购。 届时,将有120个剩余组屋单位可供申购。该销售活动采先到先得制,买家可随时上网申请,并在下个工作日预订,让买家等候订购组屋的时间减少至一日。 黄循财也表示,每年约有两万新加坡家庭向建屋局买房。当中有许多是透过预购组屋(BTO)或剩余组屋销售活动(SBF)申购。 他指出,在2017年,建屋局推出ROF,将所有剩余组屋单位进行集中抽签,让买家在申购阶段无须注明想买的组屋屋型和地点。这有利于那些不太在意地点及其他组屋特点,而是急需住屋的买家。 黄循财认为,ROF相当受欢迎,自推出以来已有2500户家庭透过此销售活动订购组屋,其中近三分之二已领取组屋钥匙。 为急需房子者提供选项 他表示,目前剩余组屋再销售活动ROF,将每年推出两次。建屋局未来仍会进行检讨更佳方案,让潜在买家能更方便地买到ROF剩余组屋。 “随着可供选择范围的增加,我希望潜在买家能够更轻松,更方便地找到能满足他们不同需求、喜好和预算的公共组屋。” “剩余组屋再销售活动”对于正在找房子的国人来说,无疑是一项好消息,不过也有些网民也提出,过去申请预购组屋,也等了很久,如今建屋局却要开放申购剩余组屋。…