Zam's new mecca. Last week Zainudin Maidin, who used to have little regards for the media in Singapore [read here for one example] and then discovered that Lee Kuan Yew was "smarter" than Dr Mahathir, travelled to Singapore to forge closer ties with the media in the republic and make himself Singapore's disciple on how to deal with blogs. Our "Eminent Journalist" was full of praise of the media and the way Lee Kuan Yew's government deal with the blogs.
Zainuddin discussed the blog issue and how the island republic was approaching the matter in a meeting this morning with his counterpart, Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Dr Lee Boon Yang.[Read the full report here]
The Malaysian minister said Singapore had formulated a mechanism for the registration of blogs which consistently churned out articles on politics.
He pointed out that Singapore had a class licensing framework to supervise new media forms such as blogs, subjecting them to certain code of ethics under the supervision of the Media Development Authority.
A class licence involves the gazetting of the terms and conditions of a particular industry, and anyone who provides the services within the scope of the class licence will be deemed to have read and agreed to the terms and conditions, and would be considered licensed.
Zainuddin felt that the method implemented by Singapore was practical and it could possibly be modified for use in Malaysia.
"We'll see whether or not this version can be done in Malaysia. I don't know yet but I feel that the method is a practical one," he said.
In an earlier report, Dr Lee said Singapore has set up an advisory council to study the impact of new media. He did not mention code of ethics or the class licensing framework. Neither did he say the Singapore approach is practical.
On the issue of new media, including the proliferation of blogs, Zainuddin said the issue was also touched on during the discussion.[the full Bernama report here]
"We do not want to control blogs. We just hope for the bloggers to be responsible, and to be held responsible for what they blog...I share this view and I think the Singapore approach is practical," he said.
Asked to comment, Dr Lee said that Singapore had an advisory council to study the impact of new media, among other things, including the rising popularity and influence of blogs and try to anticipate its impact particularly on the younger generation over the long term.
"We recognise that the blogs are there; that many young people are very enthusiastic about blogging and are becoming very active players in this so-called Web 2.0 where instead of using the Internet to draw information, users are now generating content to be shared with others.
"So this is quite a significant development. As of now, our regulatory approach to the Internet has been a light touch. Our position in terms of new media is that the law of the land applies in the real world as much as in cyberspace," Dr Lee said.