Proceedings in the Singapore Parliament will be live-streamed for the first time on Monday (4 January) at 1.30 pm.
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) in a statement today said that members of the public will be able to view the live-stream on the Ministry’s YouTube channel in both the original languages and English-translated versions.
Comments on the live-stream, however, are turned off.
Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said legislative bodies in other countries have been live-streaming their proceedings, adding that such streaming has become commonplace worldwide in today’s world.
The Government would thus study how to implement live streaming to engage with Singaporeans, he said.
Previously, MPs such as the Workers’ Party’s Leon Perera and Nominated MP Anthea Ong have called for Parliament sittings to be live-streamed to the public.
Then-Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat in 2017 said that the Government did not implement live-streaming of Parliament proceedings due to low demand.
Mr Iswaran today was quoted as saying that the possibility of MPs playing to the gallery instead of seriously debating national issues was among reasons that contributed to the Government’s reluctance in implementing Parliament live-streams in the past.
In September last year, Mr Iswaran said that 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.
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.
Then-Leader of the House Grace Fu said that live Parliamentary broadcasts risk turning the House into a “form of theatre”.