Politically themed podcasts will be temporarily banned during forthcoming elections in Singapore, a government minister said yesterday.
Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Singapore's information and communications minister, argued that free-for-all debate could "confuse and mislead the public" and insisted that politically themed blogs must be registered with the government.
Dr Balaji made the comments to clarify existing regulations in response to a question tabled by a fellow ruling party member during a parliamentary session. His comments were later posted on his ministry's website.
"In a free-for-all internet environment where there are no rules, political debates could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse flush with rumours and distortions to mislead and confuse the public, " he stated.
"Private or individual bloggers can discuss politics. However, if they persistently propagate, promote or circulate political issues relating to Singapore, they are required to register with the Media Development Authority.
"During the election period, these registered persons will not be permitted to provide material online that constitutes election advertising."
Singaporean law limits the promotion of political parties and viewpoints during elections.
While Dr Balaji acknowledged that some podcasts could be "quite entertaining ", he warned that the "streaming of explicit political content by individuals during the election period is prohibited under the Election Advertising Regulations".
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