SINGAPORE: Singapore’s first public parliamentary livestream gathered more than 80,000 YouTube views as of Tuesday night (Jan 5), in a sitting that spanned two days.
The proceedings were livestreamed on the Ministry of Communications and Information’s (MCI) YouTube channel.
As at 11.45pm on Tuesday, a check on YouTube for Monday’s session showed more than 50,700 views on the stream with the English interpretation and about 15,500 views on the regular stream; Tuesday’s session had nearly 9,000 views on the stream with English interpretation and about 7,700 views on the regular stream.
In September’s Parliament sitting, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran said that the Government had agreed “in principle” to livestream parliamentary sessions.
This came after repeated calls from several Members of Parliament and members of the public for the Government to publicly stream parliamentary proceedings.
On Monday, Mr Iswaran said in Parliament that the Government had agreed to livestream parliamentary proceedings “in view of the global and technological trends which have made online streaming more feasible, and enabled legislatures around the world to livestream their proceedings”.
He was responding to a question by MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling on the issue and how to mitigate the impact livestreaming could have on the quality and tone of debates.
He added that other avenues to access parliamentary proceedings, which include attendance in person, online video clips and written records of Hansard (which are also available online) already gave "the full benefits of transparency, accountability and accessibility”.
On how livestreaming would impact the tone of parliamentary debates, Mr Iswaran said that the responsibility rests with all MPs, present and future, to “uphold the highest standards of conduct and decorum”.
In a Facebook post on Monday afternoon, Mr Iswaran posted a link to the livestream on MCI's YouTube page and noted the other ways for Singaporeans to access parliamentary proceedings.
"No matter what the changes, we must always preserve the dignity and integrity of Parliament as a forum for serious debate on national issues," he said.
"Looking forward to quality and constructive debates in Parliament in the year ahead!"
On its Instagram page, the Workers' Party (WP) noted that it called for a live broadcast of parliamentary sittings in its General Election manifestos in 2015 and 2020.
The party also added that its MPs had raised the issue in Parliament “over the years”.
"The WP will continue to advocate for a more transparent and accountable government," it said.