Response to Singapore Election Watch

I’ve been rather busy lately and didn’t find out till today that I got flamed by fellow blogger Singapore Election Watch over my views on having a Code of Ethics for bloggers. Like Aaron, who also got singled out for personal criticism in that same post, I found it incredibly amusing.

Basically I was accused of being a “fear-mongering mouthpiece from PAP” for arguing that, among other things, bloggers could up their credibility by agreeing on a Code of Ethics to abide by.

I’m not going to do a point-by-point rebuttal of all S.E.W.’s points, because it’s hard to have a rational discussion with someone who insists on dogmatically sticking by his preconceived notions of what constitutes free speech and tars everyone who disagrees with him with personal insults and “guilt by association”. (Kudos to him for doing his research on me, though. He failed to discover, however, that I was previously also a civil servant, which presumably makes me the ultimate gahmen sycophant.)

Beyond that, I want to thank zyberzitizen and Dr Huang for putting a positive word for me in their comments.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

9 thoughts on “Response to Singapore Election Watch”

  1. Hey Gerald,
    You’re welcome.
    I am sure you would have done the same for me.
    The battle is one for ideas and not on a personal level.
    I have fixed my blog so that Firefox browser now can assess it.



  2. SEW views aside, like i discussed with you earlier, Gerald, you should be confident of your own postings and your opinions. A blogger who wants to be taken seriously, already has done his own self-regulation. You do not need to abide to a code of ethics thats “approved” by some authority.

    If you write nonsense, your stuff will only be read by nonsensical people. if you write sensible stuff, people will continue to read.

    My cynical view of this self-regulation, getting bloggers to comment on blogtv on CNA, etc, is just a move to make blogs and bloggers a “mainstream” outlet, and thus open to OB markers.


  3. Hi aygee,

    Wait a minute…you thought I was calling for a Code that is approved by some authority, like say MICA? No, no, no…that would be repulsive to me as well.

    I can see your point about not wanting blogs to go mainstream and open to “mainstream restrictions”. I actually want serious political blogs to go mainstream, to be read by MSM-reading 40-year olds (including the types who don’t like reading articles on the computer screen and like to print them out).

    The more mainstream blogs become, the more influence they will have on society and public policy. If blogs continue to be just the niche playground of geeks and students, then we might be better off writing to the ST Forum or attending Feedback Group sessions (things which I used to do but stopped since I started blogging).


  4. aaah…ok.

    Mate, u dont have the push the agenda for blogs. it will happen, if not already. and no, i dont think blogtv can take any credit for it!

    the last election clearly showed that MSM is not neutral or fair. people will seek alternative views. we are not of the same generation as the pre-65ers. if its not blogs, it will be something else.


  5. Actually, allow me to say something on the Code of Conduct for bloggers. The issue and the thing that turns people off, imo, simply is – the term Code. A Guideline/Guide would have been much better semantically.

    Remember, blogs can play a first mover role in news and can expose cover-ups by the MSM/whoever else. If the MSM has the power to screw up its reporting/take risks on unverified information, I don’t see why bloggers should have to tie their hands while typing their posts.

  6. Hi thor,

    Nice to see you again! :)

    You’re right. Words like “code” and “regulation” probably sound really jarring to freedom-love bloggers.

    It is worth noting that many MSM companies also have a code of ethics/guidelines/whatever. Here are some I’ve found:

    BBC – Editorial guidelines

    Al Jazeera – Code of Ethics

    National Public Radio (US) – Code of Ethics and Practices

    Reuters – Code of Conduct

    New York Times – Values and Practices

    Interestingly I couldn’t find any such Code for the Straits Times. I guess they are so credible and ethical, with their own internal checks and balances, that there is no need for them to abide by any silly code.

  7. You also have Fox news claiming to be “Fair and Balanced”. :)

    Anyway, looking forward to more of your articles when you come back from the break. Cheers.

  8. Haha…maybe they mean they “balance” off BBC’s criticisms of Bush. But no MSM will claim to be biased. By walking the middle ground, they can get the maximum readership/viewership.

    I may be back earlier than promised. :)

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