Parliament Sitting on 4 January 2021

QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER


*1. Ms Tin Pei Ling:
To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether he can provide an update on the plan for live-streaming of Parliament proceedings and how this can be implemented in a way that mitigates concerns about its potential impact on the quality and tone of debates.

Answer:

The live-streaming of Parliamentary proceedings commences today. As we speak, this sitting is being streamed real-time on MCI’s YouTube channel, which is accessible to all. There will be two live-streams – one with English interpretation of speeches made in vernacular languages, and one without. As with current practice, the full video of each live-stream will remain on MCI’s YouTube channel for a period of 6 months after the end of the sitting.

2. All currently available avenues to access Parliamentary proceedings remain – this includes attendance in-person from the Strangers’ Gallery, online video clips uploaded within hours of the sitting, and the written records of the Hansard which are also available online.    

3. These arrangements already give us the full benefits of transparency, accountability and accessibility.  With live-streaming, members of the public will now also be able to watch proceedings in real time, without having to be physically present in Parliament. As I explained in September last year, the Government has agreed to this in view of the global and technological trends which have made online streaming more feasible, and enabled legislatures around the world to live-stream their proceedings. 

4. Even as we seek deeper engagement of our citizens through the livestreaming of Parliamentary proceedings, we must preserve the integrity and dignity of Parliament as a forum for serious debate on national issues.  

5. The Member has asked how concerns over the potential impact of livestreaming on the quality and tone of parliamentary debates can be mitigated.  Ultimately, the responsibility rests with all Members of this House, present and future, who must continue to uphold the highest standards of conduct and decorum, as we engage in the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate.  

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