Tuesday, 26 November 2013

PM: Facing new media's challenges


Satisfied people don't have time for the Internet, UNHAPPY people do - Hsien Loong

"I'm not saying all opposing views are just grouses, but this is a worldwide phenomenon of the new media that we have to understand.

If people conclude that the new media is reflective of the views of an entire country, we are in trouble," he said.

Mr Lee was speaking to 300 members of the Chinese community, including readers of Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, academics and students, at The Zaobao Forum held at the Singapore Press Holdings auditorium. Lianhe Zaobao is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and also launched its web portal, zaobao.sg

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Anti-establishment element will always be inherent, says PM Lee at The Zaobao Forum
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SOME new media users in any country are likely to be anti-establishment, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a forum last night

He said that to get the support of the people, the government must continue to do its work, try its best to communicate and involve people in its initiatives to give them a stronger sense of satisfaction.

"We can't wish for new media not to exist, but we can try our best to use it," Mr Lee said in Mandarin, in response to a question from a member of the audience, who asked how the government regards online views about how it is disconnected from the people.

"People who are content don't have time to go online,  those who are unhappy will complain online," Mr Lee said. "I am not saying all contrarian views are complaints, but this seems to be a worldwide trend. Therefore, we need to understand these views, and interpret it objectively," he said.

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Anti-establishment element inherent in new media: PM Lee
PmLeeHsienLongAntiEstablishmentBTSS221113
There will always be an anti-establishment element in a new media environment, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a forum this evening - SPH PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

He said that to get the support of the people, the government must continue to do its work, try its best to communicate and involve people in its initiatives to give them a stronger sense of satisfaction.

"We can't wish for new media not to exist, but we can try our best to use it," Mr Lee said in Mandarin, in response to a question from a member of the audience, who asked how the government regards online views about how it is disconnected from the people.

"Satisfied people don't have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there," Mr Lee said.

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Debate Over Blog Limits Intensifies in Singapore

Political blog Temasek Review Emeritus recently apologized to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, after its editors received legal warnings of defamatory content

A series of recent legal warnings over online content in Singapore is raising new debate about the limits of public discourse in its increasingly-boisterous blogosphere.‪

Although Singapore has long had a reputation for limited press freedoms, a thriving online media market has emerged recently, with blogs and other websites taking shots at elected officials and stirring up debate on a range of social and political issues in the wealthy city-state. The power of such sites was evident during national elections last year, when analysts say blogs provided a new outlet for debate challenging the ruling People’s Action Party, which received its lowest vote share – 60% – since the country’s independence.‪

But in recent weeks, lawyers acting on behalf of key Singapore leaders have delivered sharp legal warnings to dissenting blogs, saying the blogs published untruths and defamatory comments. Although editors of the blogs have retracted the posts and in some cases apologized, academics have said the cases nevertheless could have a chilling effect on writers at a time when they’re just beginning to enjoy new freedoms following years of restrictions defended by the government as necessary for maintaining social stability



In defence of my stand on the chilling effects of defamation laws


This week several blogs seem to have succumbed to the “chilling effects” I described in my letter to the Wall Street Journal (bottom) and removed my original letter to the WSJ after MICA put up a rebuttal.  Son of a Dud, Reinventing the Rice Bowl  is not  a political blog but as this debate affects all bloggers and goes to the  heart of my integrity,  I have reproduced the  letter below

Interestingly my letter has been republished by the Wall Street Journal  in today’s print edition.

For some context please do look at the original WSJ article about Singapore (“Singapore Blog Flap Heats Up, which prompted my letter.

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PM Lee: Happy people don’t have time for the Internet

From ‘Facing new media’s challenges‘, 23 Nov 2013, article by Cai Haoxiang, Business Times: “People who are content don’t have time to go online,  those who are unhappy will complain online,” Mr Lee said. “I am not saying all contrarian views are complaints, but this seems to be a worldwide trend. Therefore, we need to understand these views, and interpret it objectively,” he said.

In another version of the same report, our PM is quoted as such: “Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there,”

There’s a key difference here. In the first version of the statement, our PM says unhappy people will COMPLAIN online, which is generally true. In the second, he suggests that the Internet is a place for miserable souls who troll the government because their lives are devoid of fulfillment or meaning. So is it a case of careless reporting, or a gaffe being hastily covered up?

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Government needs to understand, interpret complaints online: PM Lee
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, pictured during the 16th ASEAN-Korea summit on the sidelines of the 23rd summit of the ASEAN, in Bandar Seri Begawan, on October 9, 2013
[UPDATE on 24 Nov, 10:45am: adding quotes from what PM Lee said at the forum]

While unhappy citizens use the internet and social media to vent their frustrations, the government must learn and understand these views and interpret them objectively, said PM Lee on Friday 

Speaking on Friday evening at Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao's 90th anniversary celebrations, he said new media users in any country are likely to be anti-establishment, and the government "cannot always be looking to see if the Internet approves or disapproves" of its policies.

"People who are content don't have time to go online,  those who are unhappy will complain online," said Mr Lee in Mandarin, as reported in The Business Times. "I am not saying all contrarian views are complaints, but this seems to be a worldwide trend. Therefore, we need to understand these views, and interpret it objectively," he said.

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Users of Reach website must register from next month: PM

Mr Lee listed three problems that have arisen as a result of the rise of social media - hacking, cyber-bullying and trolling. -- ST FILE PHOTO

Citizens who wish to post on the website of the Government's feedback arm must log in and register, starting next month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday.

The change marks the move towards a new framework Singapore needs to have to take full advantage of the new media environment, in light of a strategic shift in the media landscape.

This framework will widen the space for constructive discourse for Singaporeans, he added.

related: PM outlines new approach for online engagement



Govt not trying to curtail online freedom of expression: Shanmugam

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)

The decision to require users to log in before they can leave comments at the government's feedback portal REACH is not meant to curtail freedom of expression.

Singapore Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam made this point on Friday at a forum organised by the Straits Times.

From the middle of December, those who want to leave comments on the REACH portal will have to identify themselves.

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Khor: Anonymous users’ undesirable behaviour affects REACH’s discussions

Dr Amy Khor, REACH Chairman

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and your participation in our REACH Discussion Forum (DF).

Over the years, I have enjoyed reading the many insightful comments penned on the REACH DF and found them useful. While the discussions have generally been respectful and robust, the forum has seen some cases of less than desirable online behaviours from anonymous users, which affect discussions among contributors.

Some contributors have suggested that REACH not allow anonymous comments. They have urged REACH to introduce some form of identification for participation in the DF to promote civil, engaging and healthy conversations amongst contributors

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PM LEE: WE MUST FIGHT BACK AND DESTROY ONLINE TROLLS

At a forum marking the 90th anniversary of Lianhe Zaobao, PM Lee talked about the need to control online trolls

“In Singapore, we see much constructive engagement online, but also no lack of 'trolling'. We must fight back against such 'trolling', and provide a safe and responsible online space, which promotes constructive participation."

As part of this, PM Lee announced that starting from next month, the government’s feedback portal REACH will require users to log in so that comments can no longer be made anonymously. Anonymity, he explained, was part of the reason why online discussion was often plagued by hate-mongering and verbal abuse.

Giving an example, he pointed at how some website require users to log in with their Facebook account to comment so there is a little less anonymity and better discussion held in such forums.

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Nicole Seah proves once and for all the Internet is not just good for trolling

Whoever said the Internet is all about negativity and abuse is dead wrong. Period

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during last Friday’s Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao’s 90th anniversary celebrations that the online world has been overrun by abusive trolls.

He was quoted as saying: “We must fight back against trolling, and provide a safe, responsible online environment which promotes constructive participation.” He also said: “Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there.”

However, within one day, he was proven wrong.

related:

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The Internet Is For Unhappy People

“Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there,” so said our Prime Minister, according to the Business Times. Sometimes I feel disappointed at how our political leaders are unable to keep with the times. It’s not just about how the Internet is changing our social environment, but also other areas in cyber security and cyber terrorism.

It’s funny how his statement implied that the Internet is for unhappy people. But I’d give our Prime Minister the benefit of doubt, and perhaps he was quoted out of context. He probably meant that people who are happy with how the government is performing are unlikely to go onto the Internet to say nice things about them; and conversely, those who are unhappy with the government will have plenty of things to complain about online.

That’s probably true. But we all know that already. It happens with products, services and everything you see about on the Internet. It’s more particularly so with certain cultures of people who are not so generous with paying compliments and giving praises.

Related posts:
Big Internet Names Blast MDA’s Licensing Rules
Threatening the Cyber Attackers, Really?
Leaked Report On Singapore Government Internet Outage

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Satisfied people don't have time to go onto the Internet..." - PM Lee (post #14)

You have your RIGHTs to your own opinion. Just as well as you have created many unhappy people during your terms in office. Your unpopular policies are causing misery to people lives. Ya! You sure have honor your words : "FIX them UP"

Nevertheless, the viral you had left off like UNHAPPINESS is spreading like SARS. It is transmitting from human to human at a rapid rate.

I will appreciate if you have any further misconception of all issues on hand. For heaven sake, keep those in your mind so that you, yourself is the only one who is UNHAPPY instead of sharing your UNHAPPINESS way of solving problem for them.

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Only PAP Trolls Allowed

The PM with his Malaysian counter-part in a 'selfie' at the recent CHOGM. How out of touch is he if he thinks that posting a selfie will never elicit negative comments?

For all his talk of having a 'conversation' with the people and a Govt that will listen and take heed of the desires of the people, it seems our dear Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, cannot hide his inner feelings - that the PAP 'has, is and will always be right'. Take his recent remarks at the Chinese newspaper - Lianhe Zaobao's 90th anniversary celebrations on Friday:
http://sg.news.yahoo.com/we-must-fight-back-against-trolling--pm-lee-010159521.html

He assumed that readers of 'new media' platforms are likely to be those who are not contented as opposed to those who read broadsheets. "People who are contented don't have time to go online, those who are unhappy will complain online." He alluded that this was a 'worldwide trend' after responding to a question that the Govt was disconnected from the people

It's strange even shocking that a Prime Minister of a supposedly democratic country, could and would make such a sweeping statement and then say it's a normal thing worldwide. No Prime Minister, I don't think you'd find Messrs Cameron, Harper, Abbott, Key, even President Obama, would ever make the same statement or share the same sentiments. In these countries, it's a given that people have a right to comment on issues especially Govt policy, and would never be brushed off in the same fashion.

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The Prime Minister still don't get it


While unhappy citizens use the internet and social media to vent their frustrations, the government must learn and understand these views and interpret them objectively, said PM Lee on Friday. Speaking on Friday evening at Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao's 90th anniversary celebrations, he said new media users in any country are likely to be anti-establishment, and the government "cannot always be looking to see if the Internet approves or disapproves" of its policies. [extracted from this article]

I hope PM Lee does not pass down directives in the same manner during meetings. He must have left thousands under his charge confused on what to do next with the level of vagueness in his new intent. It is surprising to hear that our government, which operates on a strict bureaucratic framework, cannot decide between listening to citizens' opinion via social media or not. PM Lee's "Cannot be always" standard is a good bearing that the government will continue to select their battles, status quo with their current seek-wisdom-from-the-grassroot (hear only the good things) set up. It is either you do or you don't. No "not always", "sometimes" or "depends".

His reasoning for his selectivity went like this.
"People who are content don't have time to go online, those who are unhappy will complain online. I am not saying all contrarian views are complaints, but this seems to be a worldwide trend. Therefore, we need to understand these views, and interpret it objectively"
- PM Lee
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PM Lee blocks Martyn See from his FB page


It appears that a chronic sense of insecurity runs deep in the Prime Minister, which would explain his recent comments on the Internet.

In his latest baffling move, he has banned a filmmaker and known PAP critic, Martyn See, from commenting in his Facebook page.

According to Martyn See, since PM Lee launched his Facebook, he has only posted 5-6 comments on the page. None of them were inflammatory or would fall under the definition of “trolling”.

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Do anti-online harassment laws mask real intent of the Govt?
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“Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there,” said PM Lee Hsien Loong at a forum yesterday . This comment seems to be the latest sign of the PAP-government’s belligerent attitude towards the online world.

This comment by PM Lee was reported as part of the current spate of news reports, editorials and letters published in MSM – all seemingly aimed at demonising the online world and drumming up support for our government’s move to introduce new laws against cyber harassment. Many of the govt officials, reporters and letter writers cited the dubious survey by REACH (the govt’s feedback arm) to claim that 8 of 10 Singapore “residents” want tougher rules against online harassment.

I am against cyber bullying but I also believe many people may be supporting this move without being aware that the PAP-Govt could be using this as an opportunity to a) attack the credibility of the online world to diminish criticisms of the PAP and b) to tighten the laws such that netizens will have more fear and lesser freedom online to criticize incompetent PAP leaders, flawed national policies and the Party.

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The net is closing in… on the Net
PM Lee Hsien Loong mingling with the crowd during this year's Hougang by election rally (Photo by Shawn Danker)
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking in Mandarin in response to a question on how the G regards views online that it is disconnected from the ground… (translation provided by BT)

“Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there. I’m not saying all opposing views are just grouses, but this is a worldwide phenomenon of the new media that we have to understand. If people conclude that the new media is reflective of the views of an entire country, we are in trouble.”

The PM said that “trolls deter serious readers from participating, and ruin the overall atmosphere in cyberspace”. That’s true, methinks. Of course, there would be no need for the PM to say anything like that if more people banded together against trolls to out-shout or drown them out. Or if the community somehow comes up with its own code of conduct which can be invoked as a form of social pressure. Can you imagine what will happen if the G decides to act on the survey results, which says the courts should step in to get sites to delete remarks that alarm or hurt someone?

We don’t need any more laws to govern our behaviour, if there were less misbehaviour to begin with. Perhaps the G should think a bit harder before laying down rules and guidelines. It has to acknowledge that it, too, is new in the game and might want to give time for the Net to develop its norms, before drawing the net too tightly over it.

related:
It’s getting very hot in the BN kitchen

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Online news and interactions are good for S’poreans


With more eyeballs and participation on the internet, many Singaporeans are becoming politically aware of how our country is being managed, the ability to express, and exchange thoughts and ideas have moved away from the one-sided propaganda times. Many intelligent Singaporeans are writing articles and forming platforms for interactive dialogues.

The PAP will lose out because they are not able to give straight answers for fear of upsetting their masters and  salaries. Many times we look at them sitting up on stage and coming up with lip service, that leads us to conclude that these people are just performing a wayang show.

So year on year, lots of discussion surface on the internet and we all talk and exchange freely our views and plans for our country. This is good because we will now be leaving the PAP behind. They are more of a million dollar liability and dead weight that formulate discriminating policies against our citizens.

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Don’t amputate the unknown

It is no secret that the government has long considered the Internet a pain and a nuisance. The social media landscape, with its vast expanse and open participation, encourages disorder and unpredictability. The recent cyber attacks have given the government a chance to show its hand.

Last Friday, PM Lee Hsien Loong spoke at length about the shifting media landscape. This is the one line which sums up the government stance: “Our rules and norms have not caught up with this new reality.” In other words, expect more rules, more control, more tightening to rein in the openness and unpredictability of online voices. It could mean more attempts to reshape reality, to turn the unknown into the known, the unpredictable into the predictable.

Cyber attacks and controversial surveillance programmes are a global phenomenon but developed countries have warned that cooler heads must prevail. Earlier this month, the head of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security, Rand Beers, said legislation must not end up violating civil liberties. His warning: ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

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No Room For Anonymous

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that laws were needed to combat the "growing problem" of cyber bullying and other forms of Internet harassment, and trolls which set out to disrupt proper, constructive discussions by hurling abuse and stirring hate

He said that "we" must fight back against trolling and provide a safe, responsible online environment which promotes constructive participation

Over time, a framework must be developed to take full advantage of the new media. This will widen the space for constructive discourse and participation among Singaporeans, allow different perspectives to surface — not just those of a vocal minority — and protect responsible users from those who abuse cyberspace, especially anonymously

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Framing small issues within the big picture

LAST week, as part of an Institute of Policy Studies conference on civil society, Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam held a dialogue with an audience of veteran activists and thinkers.

In his first answer, he expressed dismay at the "navel-gazing" that was going on on issues of "secondary importance".

In contrast, topics of fundamental, primary significance - such as Singapore's looming demographic crisis of an ageing population and low fertility - were not being adequately dealt with in the public discourse, he said

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OPINION: Another verbal stumble from PM Lee Hsien Loong

While lecturing citizens about what not to say online, Lee Hsien Loong had to finish off with: "My recent post about a barn owl which flew into the Istana garnered 500,000 views within a day!"

You would think that with the battalions of minions at his beck and call, someone would bother to inform the boss man that a daylight visitation from the nocturnal owl is an ominous harbinger of bad tidings and doom.

The hooting sound of an owl sounds like “digging” in the Chinese language (搰: hu). It is considered major bad luck if an owl visits a house wherein lives a gravely ill or wounded person. When it makes the hu sounds, it's as good as telling the family to dig a grave-hole as preparation for a burial. Full story

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The owl visits the Prime Minister

The owl visits the prime minister’s office at the Istana.

According to a piece in Wikipedia: in the native Cherokee culture, as well as many other Native American cultures, owls are a very bad omen. (here)

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related:
PM Lee In The Limelight
‘Ask the PM’ TV forum
Schools Should Instil Spirit Of Service: PM Lee
Important to balance govt's key goals for S'pore: PM Lee
PM Fist Bumping at a Dialogue Session
Tweaks or Tricks - PM's NDR 2013
Trust will determine success of policy shifts: PM Lee
Singapore remains a sampan, but an upgraded 2.0 version: PM Lee
PM: Facing new media's challenges
Lee & Lee - The job has changed
PM's National Day Rally Speech
PM: We will track you down even if you think you're anonymous
Websites of Singapore President & PM hacked