Media Literacy Council: bleak days await us

I’m not in the least surprised that the government has formed a Media Literacy Council (MLC) to regulate the internet. In recent weeks MICA’s Minister Yaacob Ibrahim had been on a roadshow to promote the idea of a COC or Code of Conduct and a semblance of order in cyberspace.

By its very nature, cyberspace is an unregulated beast. It’s precisely this factor, infuriating, disgusting,scandalous, outrageous it may be but it adds to the richness in the marketplace of ideas. Naturally, dictators and repressive leaders view this with chagrin.

The Men in White or MIW must have been debating long and hard on how to bring the Internet in Singapore to heels. After all they have managed to control either through legislation or influence almost everything in Singapore so allowing the Internet to remain outside their sphere of influence and control is anathema to them.

Before the era of the Internet MIW,with a muzzled main stream media and its dominance of Parliament, pontificated on this and that. One I remember clearly was that criticism of government leaders had to be proscribed as over time the public would believe it to be true.

On lessons on how to tame the Internet, the 21 wise men in the MLC would doubtless take a leaf out of China’s experience in regulating the Internet. With a variety of laws breathing down their necks. Chinese Internet users and service providers tread with care by resorting to self-censorship.

The same thing could happen here. With repression as one of its core values, MIW will never allow the Internet to undermine its rule. For example, the service providers could be held legally responsible for anything published under their ISP.

As for a COC, this is redundant as many social media, for example Twitter, has a comprehensive list on the topic. Those who flout it risk having their accounts suspended.

In my view, bleak days await Internet users. After all this is consistent with a repressive government.

COC as an acronym is interesting, The last C can also stand for “Compliance”.

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