SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Parliament began live-streaming sittings for the first time on Monday (4 January), with members of the public able to tune in via the Ministry of Communications and Information’s YouTube channel.
The sitting began at 1.30pm and streaming in both original language and English-translated versions has been smooth. The parliamentary session is ongoing at the time of publication.
“The government has agreed to this in view of the global and technological trends, which have made online streaming more feasible and enabled legislators around the world to livestream their proceedings,” said Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran in Parliament.
Among the items on the House’s agenda on Monday were ministerial statements by co-chairmen of the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce Lawrence Wong and Gan Kim Yong, who provided the House with their third update on the whole-of-government response to the pandemic.
In September last year, Iswaran told the House that the government had agreed in principle with the live-streaming of parliamentary proceedings.
The announcement came just months after former Leader of the House Grace Fu rejected calls for such live-streams in May, noting the various online channels available for members of the public to view them.
In a reply to a forum letter later, Fu’s press secretary, Dr Michele Khoo, highlighted the risk of turning Parliament into a “form of theatre” if its sessions were to be live-streamed.
Some portions of parliamentary sessions had previously been live-streamed, with selected footage of sitting given to and uploaded onto a CNA microsite within three hours of the sessions.
Written parliamentary records, known as the Hansard, are also available on the Parliament’s website.
The issue of parliamentary live-streams has been raised in the House repeatedly over the years, by various MPs including the Workers’ Party’s chief Pritam Singh, and fellow WP members Leon Perera and Faisal Manap.
The Parliament live-steam videos will remain available on YouTube for six months.
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