Alicia Wong http://www.todayonline.com/articles/297601.asp
BIT by bit, the blogging community in Singapore is getting more organised. Its latest move: A bloggers’ association — the first in Singapore.
The non-profit association, which received the official nod on Friday, will be launched next month. It aims to raise the profile of bloggers and will promote, protect as well as educate its members, said founder and president Jayne Goh in an exclusive interview with Today.
Even before its formal launch, the association has received emailed media invites to cover events, said Ms Goh. A passionate blogger herself, Ms Goh is also in talks with some Government ministries to allow the association’s members to cover the River Hongbao and some sporting events.
Describing bloggers as “loose sand scattered all over,” Ms Goh wants the blogging community to have “grown-up conversations, blogging responsibility and creative growth”.
“I find the state of our blogosphere in Singapore appalling,” said Ms Goh, “When discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other off-colour comments may be encountered … I want to change that,” she said.
The Government is relaxing its restrictions and is willing to listen to reasonable feedback, she said, referring to the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally Speech last year.
But how will the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) engage the Government now that authorities have made it clear engagement will only take place on the Government website, Reach?
Agreeing with what Mr P N Balji — the director of the Asian Journalism Fellowship — wrote in his recent commentary in Today, Ms Goh said: “He’s right to say, ‘Why obsess with Government response?’ … We help ourselves, we help one another. We look for solutions. Singapore citizens don’t (always) have to go to the REACH website.”
Besides Ms Goh, the association currently has nine other committee members.
The chairman for the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society Cheong Yip Seng believes the association can help raise the quality of online discussion.
“While you can find thoughtful content online, there is also a great deal of destructive cycnicism. If they can persuade the general public to support their cause, that would be a good start,” he said.
MP and P65.sg blogger Lam Pin Min said: “It may be worth considering joining the association or even to contribute in the educational process.” But he cautioned that unless the good practice guidelines set up by the association are accepted by the “general blogger,” its efficacy may be “undermined”.
The association can be reached at bloggers @singapore.com.