ST April 14, 2008I wonder what that is supposed to mean.
Laws must keep up with changing new media, says PM
But any loosening up will be handled cautiously, he adds
THE new media is changing rapidly and Singapore's laws must evolve to keep up, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
But any loosening up will be done carefully.
Otherwise, misinformation and extremist views could proliferate.
Politics might also become tainted by graft if parties have to spend large sums to campaign online, he warned.
It is very difficult to see how one can spend large sums of money campaigning online. In Malaysia's recent elections, the Internet played a huge role in influencing voters. Yet practically all the Internet activity took place via Blogger, Wordpress, Youtube and other completely free Internet platforms.
Contrast this with campaigning offline. You would have to spend money printing and distributing posters; placing advertisements in traditional newspapers; hiring lorries and drivers to ferry candidates around the country to meet the electorate; and making large-scale logistics arrangements for election rallies. That won't be cheap.
Anyway, suppose we accept PM Lee's strange logic - that politics might become tainted by corruption if parties have to spend large sums to campaign online. It must then follow that since traditional, offline campaigning costs much more money, it is even more likely to lead to corruption.
Then we wonder - how come this seems to be an issue in Singapore only? After all, election campaigning occurs in every democratic nation on this planet. In fact, campaigning is a necessary part of the democratic process. Yet no one ever seems to says that democracy breeds corruption.
No one except PM Lee, that is.
Current laws disallow the making and distributing of party political films.Oooh, I see. PM Lee is worried about expensive online films and advertisements.
During campaign season, political parties are not allowed to put audio or video-casts on their websites.
Mr Lee warned that Singapore would suffer if elections came to be fought through expensive online films and advertisements.
'If a party needs money, many people are willing to donate, but these political contributions never come with no strings attached. After you win and come into power, the donors will turn up politely to 'collect their dues',' he said.
So, hypothetically speaking, suppose an Opposition candidate merely uses his own cheap, lousy video camera at home to film his own speech, and then he posts the video on Youtube, where it is widely viewed by Singaporeans. PM Lee shouldn't be worried about that, should he?
Heheh. Well, think what you like. And draw your own conclusions. Mr Wang is only here to encourage you to think.