TODAY newspaper asked me for my views on Senior Minister of State for Information Lui Tuck Yew’s remarks about how the local online community has not “self-regulated” regarding the Seng Han Thong affair. Here are my responses, all of which did not get published.
1) What do you think of Mr Lui’s comments, especially his comments on how the online community should be more self-regulating?
I agree in principle, but self-regulation is not something that the Govt or individual bloggers can impose. It boils down to how individual Netizens wish to portray themselves to their readers.
2) How fair do you think Mr Lui’s comments are?
I think he made some sweeping generalisations. I personally responded to some unkind comments on one blog. The Online Citizen also ran an article criticizing some Netizens for their unkind remarks. This was not highlighted by Mr Lui.
It should be noted that many of the unkind comments were directed at the Govt, not Mr Seng personally. The criticism should therefore be seen in that context.
I think it’s appropriate to ask: What about those who are pro-govt or were indignant about the unkind criticism they read online? Why didn’t they step forward to comment or blog about it? They are also part of blogosphere and have a part to play in shaping the Net culture in Singapore.
3) What do you think we can do to improve the quality of online public discussion?
I think those bloggers with a higher readership can help shape the tone of discussion. It’s not to say that they should impose anything on fellow Netizens, but they could lead by example.
As more citizens from both sides of the political spectrum join blogosphere, I believe we will naturally see more balance.