In a Facebook post on Thursday (May 21), the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared a series of images by CAPE, the Community for Advocacy & Political Education.
CAPE wrote that: “In response to renewed calls for live parliamentary broadcasts by MPs and citizens, Grace Fu and her Press Secretary Michele Khoo reiterated the Government’s refusal to do so. As many reasons have been raised by both sides, CAPE has put together this handy resource that summarises the debate so far!”
They also added that they found out that a password-protected live-stream already exists, which was what piqued the younger Mr Lee’s interest.
In his own Facebook post, Mr Lee asked, “So a secret live stream already exists?”
When the topic of live broadcasts of Parliament was discussed in 2017, the government said there was no great demand, as only a fraction of persons watched such proceedings live.
In discussing the issue in Parliament, Mr Perera said that demand is not static, and it is possible that more people will watch live streams should they be available consistently.
Similarly, Nominated MP Anthea Ong agreed, adding that since live viewing from the public gallery has been stopped due to safe distancing measures, live streams should be made available. She said the livestreaming of some updates by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 has demonstrated leadership in transparency and accountability, and in the same vein parliamentary debates should be accessible live.
During the debate, Leader of the House Grace Fu replied that the Bill does not deal with broadcasting, and the public can easily access full parliamentary proceedings online in a timely and comprehensive manner.
Complete footage of Parliament speeches, as well as questions and answers from each sitting, are also online, with highlights uploaded within three hours of broadcast, she added.
Netizens who commented on Mr Lee’s post noted that since the password-protected live stream already existed, it meant that the capacity to offer the option existed.
Others added that because the live streams were not made public, it seemed as if Parliamentary sessions were being kept secret.
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