This Week’s Episode
On 4 September’s session of Parliament, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran announced that the Government agreed “in principle” to the live-streaming of parliamentary sessions. His ministry would study how to implement live broadcasts and meet demands for more convenient methods to view government proceedings. Implementing live-streaming would show speakers’ commitment to addressing citizens’ interests and increase politicians’ engagement with Singaporeans.
However, there were concerns that live-streaming would encourage speakers to overly dramatise their speeches and stray away from talking about key issues. Workers’ Party leader Pritam Singh agreed with the Government’s plans and concerns, not wanting to reduce the quality of parliamentary debates.
In The Previous Episode
The issue was previously brought up in May by Workers’ Party member Leon Perera. He stated that the cost of implementation was low, and it would increase public viewership. Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong supported the idea, saying that it would increase citizens’ engagement with policies.
The Government was not keen on the idea, arguing that online videos and transcripts provided enough information. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was concerned that live streams would turn sessions into a “form of theatre”, reducing the seriousness of Parliament.
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Many countries have live broadcasts of Parliament sessions, such as the United Kingdom. Live-streaming makes it more convenient for interested citizens to access the sessions, instead of physically attending them. It also increases citizen engagement. Oldham, a British town, increased citizens’ participation by allowing them to submit questions for live sessions. If the Government sees the benefits of streaming, you might be watching Parliament live on local channels soon.