The Government recognises that there is room to simplify some of its policies, in order for people to understand them better. And this may require the communications departments to work more closely with policymakers.
Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim shared this during a Question and Answer segment of a forum held at the National University of Singapore on Wednesday evening (Nov 26).
Dr Yaacob said there has been feedback that policies like the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life are complex and some have asked if they can be simplified. But he also emphasised that the Government is dealing with complex issues such as an ageing society and the need for a universal medical scheme.
He said that the Government is working to get its communications and policy people to work together at an early stage to improve the way such policies are communicated.
Dr Yaacob also addressed concerns from the audience on data protection as Singapore moves towards its vision of becoming a Smart Nation. He said data is needed to become a Smart Nation and to come up with new services and policies, but that this will be protected and anonymised.
LOCAL TELEVISION CONTENT
Dr Yaacob was also asked to comment on local television content and how it can be made more interesting for the Singapore audience. He said the Government has invested heavily in public service broadcasting, and – together with MediaCorp – is producing content that is relevant to Singaporeans.
He said: “We must give local content a chance. From the quality point of view, MediaCorp will have to ramp up its capability and produce good quality content, but accessibility is also important so that ordinary Singaporeans can see it and will want to watch it.
“But by and large, in the last few months, you can see the figures in terms of eyeballs watching local content is ramping up quite gently after a lot of effort on our part together with MediaCorp, because I think they are trying their very best.”
ONLINE NEWS LICENSING SCHEME
Meanwhile, Dr Yaacob said the aim of the online news licensing scheme, also known as a Class Licence, which was introduced last year, was to give parity to online news sites and traditional news platforms.
While this brought about a lot of reactions, he said the move placed the online and traditional news sites on a more consistent regulatory basis.
Dr Yaacob said licensing does not affect the everyday operations of online news sites.
“They still enjoy the same level of freedom – under the same content standards found in the class licence. So really nothing has changed, but we recognise that because as news sites you are reporting on Singapore, traditional mainstream media is also reporting on Singapore and so therefore, we have to find parity between the two platforms,” he said.