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The Today newspaper emailed the Singapore Democrats this afternoon to seek our response on the issue of the proposed amendments (below) to the Films Act:
1) What do you think of the final recommendations made? (Specifically, what are your thoughts on the liberalising of section 33 in stages? And the extension of the positive list of internet election advertising.)
2) With the liberalising of the section 22 of Films Act, what are the SDP’s plans moving ahead? Will you widen your web 2.0 strategy? Or are you already doing so?
3) Since these recommendations will affect political parties, can I ask why did SDP not send in feedback to Aims on the proposed recommendations? (according to Aims.)
Our remarks are:
The PAP is simply making virtue out of necessity. The Government is not able to control the Internet and now wants to make it seem as if it is “liberalising” the Films Act and claim credit for it. It must be made clear that the impetus for change has come from the change in technology not the PAP’s change of heart.
The Singapore Democrats have already been making use of the new technology available on the Internet to advance our cause and to communicate more effectively with Internet users. We expect this to expand as more Singaporeans get online to read alternative news and analysis censored by the state media.
The key changes the New Media on Society (Aims) suggested were with regards to online political content:
(1) Updating the class licence scheme by lifting the registration requirement for individuals, bodies of persons and political parties, and making the process of the scheme more transparent.
(2) Extend the positive list of internet election advertising to allow more digital content. the list should include videos or recordings of live events. broadcasts ot party manifestos and stories already aired over radio and tv shld also be allowed, this includes the use of web 2.0 technologies like blogs.
(3) Liberalise section 33 of the Films Act by repealing it in stages. — intention to repeal section 33 entirely.
(3a) Government should decriminalise the making of party political films and narrow the scope of the law to target only party policital films that intentionally mislead viewers.
(3b) An independent advisory panel should be established to decide on party political films.
(4) Amend section 35 of the Films Act to spell out clearly why the Government bans a film contrary to public interest. the Independent advisory panel should advise the minister before a film is banned, and minister be obliged to give reasons for the ban.