Wanted: Social Media Responses to the AIMS Report

Courtesy of AIMS

Yesterday evening, a good friend and journalist at Zaobao called me to ask for my views on the freshly minted recommendations by AIMS. I gave her some inputs from NHB's perspective. How we are actively embracing social media and reaching bloggers - not only on our own turf (Yesterday.sg) but through outreach programmes working with various online communities.

Some of you may already know that we have changed a position from e-Marketing to Social Media Marketing. I am also encouraging my team members to participate in various communities by attending their gatherings and meetings. You may wish to read more about NHB's approach and views in the article at Zaobao (in Mandarin).

The best way to engage bloggers is to be one yourself. Only then would you understand their mindsets, motivations and modus operandi.

This morning, I read that The Straits Times gave a fairly comprehensive coverage on the recommendations by the Advisory Council on the Impact of new Media on Society (or AIMS). From what I gather, they are seeking inputs and views from the public for a six week period - both online and offline - and these would eventually go to the Minister of MICA for consideration.

A rather lengthy consultation paper (more than 100 pages) was drafted, which you can download here. It is quite a breezy read and the points were quite clearly articulated.

In summary, the key points raised were as follows:

1) The government should invest more in engaging the public - and netizens - through new media platforms. It suggests how public officers should work more closely with online citizens and to engage (as opposed to enrage) them. Some of this could result in a sea change in government public communications policy if implemented.

2) Online political content, especially political films, should be liberalised. One section spoke about repealing Section 33 of the Films Act. Others highlight the need for greater openness within boundaries of social harmony and tolerance.

3) Minors should receive greater protection from the dangers of the internet. This signifies a growing understanding of the problem of cyber crime and how minors need to be protected more adequately against digital deception. Recommendations include strengthening community participation and creating a fund to catalyse this.

4) There should be some form of immunity provided for digital intermediaries (ie channel managers) from online defamation cases. The idea behind this is to alleviate the fear of blog aggregators being held responsible for their published content. This will make them less fearful of hosting more divergent views without fear of litigation.

Personally, I feel that this is a positive step forward for the social media scene in Singapore. Initiatives like this help to air some of the problems and issues which beseige the social media space in Singapore. By accepting the divergent views and feedback from bloggers, facebookers, plurkers and other social media users, policies could be possibly be aligned (or realigned). Naturally, there will be detractors, but at least there is some progress here.

What do you guys think? Are the recommendations above worthy of pursuit? As bloggers, social media practitioners and digital doers, your views do matter. Do feel free to submit your inputs here.

PS - Ivan Chew has blogged a rather comprehensive post on the AIMS report here. Check it out too!

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