Screenshot from CNA’s video

Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran on Friday (4 Sept) said the government “agrees in principle” to live-stream parliamentary debates, adding that the Ministry will study the implementation details.

“Our aim, as always, will be to achieve transparency, accountability, and accessibility, while preserving the integrity and dignity of parliamentary proceedings,” he said in Parliament today.

The issue of live-streaming parliamentary proceedings has been raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) previously, but the government was “reluctant” to do so due to policy reasons.

Mr Iswaran explained some of the access that has been provided to the public, noting that the public can attend the proceedings in the Strangers’ Gallery, clips which arranged by topic and speaker are being made available online, and a full transcript is recorded in the Hansard.

“We have been reluctant to go further, for both practical and policy reasons. Demand for such live broadcasts, even of major speeches, is generally low.

“Only 10 per cent of that are free to air television news, for example, and Parliament is a forum for serious debate on national issues. The debate in Parliament should be vigorous, but the tone should be sober,” he added.

He indicated “an element of cut-and-thrust” is unavoidable, because MPs want to show Singaporeans that their concerns are being raised in Parliament.

“However, members must come to grips with the issues and their complexities and not play to the gallery.  Live broadcasts risk compromising this. We still hold these reservations.”

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