Beginning to slowly realize that blogs in Singapore are increasingly being criticised by the establishment. Sedition Act, Dawn Yang, Daphne Teo. (putting in top keywords so this post might be picked up by Technorati and other blog search engines, might have to take down this post because of heightened profile, hence proving my point)
I was reading this blog which referenced an article from The New Paper. The newspaper article talked about the cluelessness of Singaporean bloggers who did not understand the implications of their blogging habits. The article did not portray blogs as tools of personal expression but instead subtly focused on the naivety and immaturity of bloggers. I see this as an insidious implication that bloggers should be clamped down on, again with relation to the Sedition Act, as dangerous propaganda machines that have highly negative influences on public opinion. There is this other article highlighting the negative effects of a teacher’s blog who had chosen to parody her students’ mistakes on her blog. This teacher had intended her blog to be fun and educational (?) and adopt a humoristic stance. A straw poll was then conducted (by The New Paper? not clear in the article) on a statistically inaccurate sample size to prove that no one agreed with the teacher’s opinions on her blog.
What is the New Paper trying to prove with articles like that? A simple search with the keyword “blog” on The New Paper main page throws up many articles with a majority putting down blogs. Now, The New Paper has a responsibility to educating a majority of Singaporeans that constitute its high readership audience, by portraying blogs in such a bad light, it does not help in fostering a favorable impression of blogs, particularly in the context of bloggers being prosecuted under Sedition Acts and such by thre government. IS The New Paper toeing the government line? IS ourSingaporean media really taking such a pro-government stance, based on the ideology of their articles, none of which seek to provide an alternative, balanced perspective of how blogs are beneficial to general society?
In SIlicon Valley, blogs like Siliconbeat.com, Techcrunch, YPulse, that profiles teen trends in America, are all very successful examples of how blogs have been used to benefit entrepreneurs, investors, tech enthusiasts, corporate marketers et al.. Granted, for every good blog like that, there are thousands of blogs that gravitate to the other extreme in terms of social benefit. So? For Singapore to be engaged in a increasingly booming consumer Internet industry/ Web 2.0, blogs will form an integral part of this new economic engine. It does make sense to educate Singaporeans on how blogging is practised benefically and commercially in other countries and not just focus on the unsavory aspects of it.
In many Asian countries, Singapore included, the Internet industry is very undeveloped, there needs to exist a massive education drive that could be spearheaded by mainstream media like newspapers that still have great influence in society. Newspapers need to embrace new technology and new internet habits, not fear it and put it down. To me, the newspaper articles mentioned above do not show a media establishment that understands its role in society nor an open attitude towards new ideas (such as blogging).
Flame me if I am wrong, but do not reply me to ask me to remove my post. I believe blogs are an outlet for expression of independent thought. If Singapore is to aspire to become a mature society, in line with our economically advanced status, we have to be exposed to alternative ideas and thoughts of the countless individuals in the world,that broaden our view of the world, let the readers individually judge my piece, but let not one party decide what’s good and what’s bad for the majority.