Grace Fu wants WP’s Leon Perera to say sorry for accusing Mediacorp for editing parliamentary footage

Hor hor hor.

By Martino Tan | January 3, 2018

2018 may be a fresh beginning with new resolutions for many.

But for politicians, it’s better to start the new year by i) settling some past debts; or ii) apologising for past mistakes.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Minister Grace Fu wrote a letter to non-constituency Member (NCMP) Leon Perera to request that he apologise to the other MPs in Parliament for misrepresenting facts and to withdraw the false allegations against Mediacorp.

Huh, what, why?

The following Q&A will let you decide for yourself.

1. Who are the politicians involved in this first political fight of 2018?

  • Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who is the Leader of the House;
  • NCMP Leon Perera; and
  • Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat.

2. What is the issue about?

It has to do with video recordings of parliamentary proceedings, which is usually as exciting as watching paint dry.

More specifically, the parliamentary exchange between Chee and Perera were on the subject on whether the parliamentary videos were edited.

This occurred in November last year, when Perera asked Chee whether the video are protected by copyright, and whether the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) will consider removing such copyright and making all video footage of parliamentary proceedings freely available for use.

3. So what did Perera say that triggered Fu to write this letter?

Perera made the following remark,

“I do know from past experience that at times, they are edited and are not archived and made available verbatim.”

Which he then backed it up with the following example he cited,

“There was a specific example where a clip was put up in relation to the Presidential Election Act debates, if my memory serve me well, it was in January or February, and the clip that was put up of certain exchanges, there were certain bits removed. It was actually communicated with Mediacorp and through the correspondence, they actually made the rectification and put up a different clip. So, I think that was resolved quite amicably.”

4. So why did Fu request for an apology from Perera?

From the following facts highlighted by Chee in a Facebook post, it appears that Perera had not given the full account of his email exchange with Mediacorp.

Chee’s facts are as follows:

  • On Feb 20 2017, Perera emailed MediaCorp to ask why a particular video clip had been truncated.
  • MediaCorp replied to him on the same day, explaining that a technical glitch had affected the recording, and that it had been rectified and the full clip made available online on Feb 18, two days days before Perera’s email query.

5. Did Perera respond directly to Chee after Chee stated these facts?

Not fully.

Perera said that he “did not state that the footage he referred to had been edited in a partisan manner”, and that his parliamentary question was about the ownership of the copyright to Parliamentary video footage and why Parliamentary video live feed cannot be made available as it is in many other countries.

6. So how now brown cow?

  • Option 1: Perera can, in Fu’s words, “do the right thing” and apologise to the House and withdraw his allegations in full against Mediacorp.
  • Option 2: Perera can refuse to apologise, and clear the air by posting a Facebook post, providing evidence of the email exchange between Mediacorp and him.

Anyway, Happy 2018, everyone.

Top photo composite photos from Youtube.

About Martino Tan

Martino’s parents named him after an Italian priest, Vatican's 1st ambassador to S’pore. He's inspired by the lives of Robert Kennedy & D. Bonhoeffer, the words of G.Orwell & T.Sorensen, & the music of the Beatles.

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