Parliament live-streamed for the first time on Monday

The public can also access parliamentary proceedings via video clips of all speeches and exchanges on the Ministry of Communications and Information's YouTube channel. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Parliamentary proceedings were live-streamed for the first time on Monday (Jan 4).

In a statement, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) announced that live streaming will commence during Monday's sitting, which began at 1.30pm.

It will be available to members of the public via MCI's YouTube channel, in both the original language and English-translated versions.

The public can also access parliamentary proceedings via video clips of all speeches and exchanges, which are recorded and uploaded online within hours of each sitting.

They can also choose to read the Hansard - a written record of all parliamentary proceedings - online, or attend sittings in person.

During Monday's sitting, Ms Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) asked how the Government could mitigate concerns about the potential impact of livestreaming on the quality and tone of debates.

Responding, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said: "Ultimately, the responsibility rests with all Members of this House, present and future, who must continue to uphold high standards of conduct and decorum as we engage in the cut-and-thrust of parliamentary debate."

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) asked if sign language would be available in the live stream.

Mr Iswaran said that while there were no such provisions at this point, the YouTube streams would have auto-captioning to make them more accessible for the hearing-impaired.

The Government had in September 2020 first agreed in principle to live-stream the proceedings.

Mr Iswaran said then that the Government has so far been reluctant to implement live streaming due to both practical and policy reasons, including the risk of MPs playing to the gallery instead of seriously debating national issues.

But he acknowledged that global trends have made online streaming commonplace, with legislatures in other countries also live-streaming proceedings. The Government would thus study how to implement live streaming, in the spirit of engaging with Singaporeans, he said.

Mr Iswaran's announcement came months after previous Leader of the House Grace Fu said no to calls from former nominated MP Anthea Ong and Workers' Party MP Leon Perera for Parliament to be live-streamed.

Mr Perera had also raised the matter back in 2017, with then Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat saying in response that there was low demand for a live feed of parliamentary proceedings.

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