Criticking Amy Khor & Baey Yam Keng

In Media, Political governance on 23/10/2011 at 6:06 am
Amy Khor, chairman of REACH, asked the government to engage netizens on sites that “allow for reasoned and constructive debate and gain traction”. “Netizens themselves who desire rational discourse should support such sites or else start them.”  And she was concerned on the Internet becoming a “conduit for undesirable behaviour”.
But no where does she define “undesirable influences” or “reasoned and constructive debate”. Knowing what the PAP means by  “democracy”, “meitocracy”, “listening”  and “No one gets left behind”, I can make reasonable guess as to her definitions. She wants the new media to be like the publications, websites and channels of SPH and MediaCorp.

I was also planning to comment on Baey Yam Keng’s speech on how the government should handle the new media.  Fortunately, I came across a comment by “Jonathan” on TOC. Other than the PS, it covers all the points I was planning to make.


On the whole, he presents himself to be a reformer. He wants to loosen the grip on traditional and new media alike. He mentioned repeatedly that it is not necessary and not possible to engage every statement made online.

However, his intention is at best half-baked for the part on traditional media. He wants to make mainstream media to be the benchmark of the online discussions. This amounts to saying that mainstream media will still be the mouthpiece of the Government (or the ruling party). I believe there he has contradicted himself and this shows that he may lack the conviction in media reform after all.

The part about teaching students “online media literacy” is alright in itself, but such proposal is always met with skepticism. People are afraid that it will be a form of covet propaganda programme or censorship, given the not-so-illustrious track record of the ruling party on this matter. When faced with the problem of indeterminacy of Mr. Baey’s true intention, we are forced to look at his party colleagues to search for a coherent answer. To me, the ruling party’s stance is on the rather dire side.

As such, while I appreciate Mr. Baey’s audacity to propose something rather avant-garde, I cannot trust that his speech alone, without the backing of powerful PAP figures, will lead to any actual media reform which the liberals will like.

ps. He ended his speech in Chinese by saying that he seconds the motion. What motion is he talking about?

  1. Baey’s words carry little weight since he does not hold position in the cabinet or PAP’s central committee. Lightweight PAP MPs like him, which there are too many, are sometimes positioned to proffer such occasional opinions to make the party looks like it is not made up entirely of yes-man.

  2. Motion for PAP govt to apply same laws on internet as on traditional media — print, TV, speeches. In other words, to squeeze the balls of online critics.

  3. […] Workers’ Party Skirmishes in the Opening of the 12th Parliament – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Criticking Amy Khor & Baey Yam Keng – Blogging for Myself: PM elegant tribute to Mah Bow Tan – Political Writings: Who Didn’t Speak […]

  4. All wayanging, period.
    The sky will drop if there is real pro-democracy or pro-people reform in media sector.
    Reform is a flat hope for Singaporeans.

  5. […] This article first appeared on ‘Thoughts of a Cynical Investor‘. We thank the Cynical Investor for allowing us to reproduce it here. — Be part of the […]

  6. […] This article first appeared on ‘Thoughts of a Cynical Investor‘. We thank the Cynical Investor for allowing us to reproduce it […]

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