Photo of Chee Hong Tat from Facebook video

Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat yesterday (Nov 8) told the Parliament that the public shall not have access to live video feed or video records of Parliament proceedings. There is no reason given why.

Minister Chee Hong Tat dodged answering the question and referred to state propaganda media, Mediacorp, which he said will provide specific video clips for public consumption:

“Video recordings of parliamentary proceedings belong to the Government which in turn commissions national broadcaster Mediacorp to cover the sittings and show the footage on various platforms, including free-to-air television as well as on Channel NewsAsia’s Parliament micro-site and its Facebook page.”‘

When probed further for a reason, Minister Chee Hong Tat said demand is low and insinuated that people are not interested in parliament proceedings:

“Demand for a live feed of proceedings is low. Viewers who tune in to a major parliamentary speech like the Budget via a live feed is about 10 per cent compared to what was shown on free-to-air television news that same evening.

Minister Chee Hong Tat also confirmed that the government edited the videos for propaganda agenda:

“But my point is that in general, is it the case that all the clips that are put up are completely free of editing? I think MOS himself conceded that there is a certain degree of editing so those decisions are decisions that involve a high level of discretion. Should they be decisions handled by a private entity or should they be handled by a government body subjected to scrutiny, subjected to questioning?”

However, shortly after realising what he actually said, Minister Chee Hong Tat backtracked and deny making any censorship:

“When I said editing, I meant Channel NewsAsia will take the footage and sort them out based on the person who asked the question and the person who answered so as to make it more convenient for viewers to search and access footage. The editing that is done is not to remove certain parts of what was said. It is shown as per what is being said in Parliament and what is reflected in Hansard on the microsite and on the video footage on the Facebook page and so on.”