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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

Chin Chai Lah

On live-streaming Parliament

Chin: Hmm…people are asking when we gonna live-stream parliament.

Chai: We already gave in-principle approval…what more they want?

Chin: They want it in practice, I suppose.

Chai: Tell them we are ironing out implementation details and we need to secure the integrity of Parliament.

Chin: Meaning what?

Chai: That we must make sure its hacker-proof because we wouldn’t want Dr M suddenly appearing on the feed do we?

Chin: Okay, what else?

Chai: That to do so, we must consult all the relevant stakeholders and experts in the field. This must be a cautious, calibrated move to ensure the system of democracy doesn’t get a shock.

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Chin: Maybe we should start a pilot programme?

Chai: Yes, say we are still putting together details for 100 families to be able to watch live-streaming for a limited period and will get feedback on whether the exercise was meaningful. Otherwise, what is the point, right?

Chin: Sounds good…should we tell them we still assessing whether Ministers and MPs will be able to do the right amount of grandstanding?

Chai: Of course, debating skills will have to be honed first and they are already enrolled in SkillsFuture courses. They need to train, re-train and transform themselves to fit into the digital world.

Chin: Maybe we should add that we are still experimenting with camera angles to get the viewing right.

Chai: Yes, we cant have clips of MPs snoring or with eyes glued to handphone or thumping away at laptop. Parliament must be portrayed at it most august and most awesome.

Chin: I think you’d better give me some messaging lines….

Chai: Something like…Although in-principle approval for live-streaming of Parliament proceedings has been given, we need to proceed cautiously to ensure that the system of democracy isn’t subject to abrupt shocks because of extreme viewing. A calibrated approach would entail some experimentation, such as a pilot project or a limited exposure of just one hour of proceedings. To this end, a parliamentary committee will be set up to consult stakeholders and receive representations from interested parties, including citizens. It is important to remember that the online world is a dangerous place, subject to disinformation and hate speech as well as attempts by agents, foreign or otherwise, to destabilise social harmony and delegitimise institutions of authority. Until and unless we are assured of the integrity of live-streaming, we would hesitate to activate such access precipitously.

Chin: Sounds …ah…complex

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Chai: Exactly.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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