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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 14 May 2006

Q & A on lewd photos posted by bloggers on blogs


Parliament Sitting on 3 April 2006 QUESTION NO. *407 FOR ORAL ANSWER

Mdm Ho Geok Choo: To ask the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts
(a) whether his Ministry has taken any action against bloggers who deliberately post lewd photographs of themselves or others, with or without their consent, on their blogs; and
(b) how many people have been charged for such offences.
Response from the Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Balaji Sadasivan:
I share the Member¨s concern about bloggers posting lewd photographs of themselves or others on their blogs.
We recognise that blogs are a means of private communication used by individuals as well as groups. However, bloggers must realise that the materials they post in their personal blogs can be seen in the public domain.
Posting of content such as lewd photographs of themselves or others, would be offensive to many other Internet users. Bloggers could also run foul of the law.
While some bloggers may do it deliberately, some others, especially young Singaporeans, may not be aware of the adverse consequences of their action.
That is why we have emphasised the importance of developing public education programmes and industry self-regulation to work hand in hand with legal enforcement, so as to keep our online environment safe for all users.
To date, there has been no police report complaining about lewd pictures posted by Singaporeans or of lewd pictures being hosted on blogs in Singapore.
When the Police receive public information on such cases, they will investigate and assess each case. Where offences have been committed, they will investigate them thoroughly.
If an offender is apprehended, he or she may be prosecuted. The Media Development Authority will assist the Police with these investigations.
The Government recognises that legal enforcement alone is not enough, given the nature of the Internet where bloggers could be anonymous. It is crucial for us to address the issue by building up awareness and responsibility in using the Internet among our young users.
In this regard, education plays an important role whereby parents, schools and the community work together through various programmes to help promote safe practices online . The MDA has also funded public education efforts on Internet.
Furthermore, the Government has been working actively with the industry and the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to promote greater industry self- regulation.
This is to encourage the industry to provide a safe Internet environment for subscribers, especially families with young children .
A positive result is that ISPs now offer Family Access Networks (FANs) that filter out undesirable websites to their subscribers.

Source: News Release 3 Apr 2006


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