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People should continue airing views online: Tan Chuan-Jin

SINGAPORE — Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin today (June 4) said people should continue airing their views and not be concerned about the new licensing regime for online news sites and its effect on online content.

People should continue airing views online: Tan Chuan-Jin

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin speaks at a town-hall dialogue session on Oct 9, 2012. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin today (June 4) said people should continue airing their views and not be concerned about the new licensing regime for online news sites and its effect on online content.

Mr Tan was on Channel NewsAsia’s Talking Point to discuss the Media Development Authority’s (MDA) licensing regime for online news. He replaced MDA’s CEO Koh Lin-Net, who was originally slated to be on the show.

“(There are) quite a lot of interesting theories online about why I’m here (on the show). I would say that when we pass regulations, policies, where there is quite a lot of public interest, I think it is important for the public office holders to front it,” said Mr Tan.

Mr Tan said there is clearly a lot of interest in MDA’s new licensing regime for online news.

“I would say that it is not just really a debate and discussion about the regulation itself. I think it is really about the whole public engagement space where people do feel that whether is that space being constrained, is it being threatened? I think it is useful perhaps to also have a non-MCI (Ministry of Communications and Information) perspective about how we look at it, and how we ought to operate — not just government and people, but as a society.”

Mr Tan said the regulations are already in existence for traditional print media but he said many of these have moved to the online space where regulations have not been put in place.

He explained: “The regulations deal with news sites. It doesn’t encompass blogs but would some blogs become news sites, and if they evolve to become news sites, I think that is something that we need to look at. As a broad principle, it is meant to cover those reporting news. Individual blogs, commentaries — that remains open.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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