Time to reform broadcasting framework

The arrival of the much-anticipated video-on-demand service, Netflix, continues to cast a dark shadow on the Broadcasting Act ("Netflix's debut highlights outdated laws"; last Friday).

The piece of legislation has clearly failed to keep pace with the development of the media scene, where media content is now being distributed via Internet-based mediums.

Our licensing framework continues to be premised on the basis that only broadcasting services operating in or from Singapore are required to be licensed.

If the Media Development Authority is serious about promoting the growth of the media sector, clear rules need to be defined for media content providers.

Under the Act, it is unclear if services such as Apple iTunes and Google Play are even required to be licensed - and therefore subjected to censorship guidelines - given that their video-on-demand services may not necessarily operate in Singapore.

Tech editor Irene Tham has already highlighted the need for the reform of the Broadcasting Act on several occasions.

There is a serious need to reform the archaic licensing framework, so as to establish consistent and clear standards for all broadcasting players.

Otherwise, potential broadcasting entrants may continue to be confused by our licensing framework.

Desmond Chew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'Time to reform broadcasting framework'. Print Edition | Subscribe