What internet standard are we talking about?
Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, said on 8 Oct in Geneva at a conference that developing codes of practice for the internet is good. He added that industry self-regulation is needed to ensure a high level of credibility and quality in the net.
I think the Minister needs to be more specific when he talks about the internet. Some forum in the net are very similar to a news media and may replace the role of the print media in times to come. But many sectors of the net are actually gossips, personal diaries, or simply kopitiam talks among bloggers. What kind of standard is the Minister talking of, or is there a need for a standard when many are personal and private conversations? Obviously the Yaacob is not expecting facebook or blogs to have the equivalent of the standard of professional media. They don’t have to and need not be. People in kopitiams say whatever they want according to their personal standards.
Can the Minister specify which group or groups in the net that he is referring to that needs to raise their standard and credibility? As far as bloggers are concerned, as long as they don’t get into areas of scandals or inciting troubles among the people, they can say as much nonsense or fiction as they want in the most atrocious or crazy English or Singlish or rojak language as they like. And these will be of no concern to the Minister or his ministry.
You only need standard and credibility when it is a business concern or some institution of recognition. Then again, the internet is in a virtual world, transcending international boundaries. It is a grey area that is beyond any govt. Who is the rightful authority to impose standards and code of conduct on netizens?
What do you think, Minister?