"We need to move away from the prevailing reliance on government as guardian, and focus on the education and empowerment of parents to make appropriate and informed choices for their families," said committee chairman Goh Yew Lin.
Singapore has a list of about 100 websites, mostly deemed pornographic, which service providers are obliged to block. Playboy.com is one website known to be on the banned list.
Head of Playboy TV Asia and Japan, Lanny Huang welcomed the Committee’s recommendations and stated, “We agree with (the call) to lift the ban on certain websites. Nowadays, Playboy is a lifesyle brand with merchandising, clubs, magazine, games, TV entertaining etc. We hope that MDA will see that times have changed, and should allow ‘self censorship’ rather than ‘enforced censorship."‘
Ken Mandel, founding chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) Singapore and regional vice president of Yahoo APAC, stated that the IAB supported the initiative and added that while it may help ad revenue for specific industries that would not be a major reason or benefit of doing this.
"The internet has always been about open architecture and has proven difficult if not inefficient to censor. A move to reduce censorship restrictions would fall in line with the majority of countries around the world," Mandel said.
The Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts, which appointed the Committee in September 2009, said it will respond to the recommendations within a month. If implemented, these changes would mark an important shift in censorship policy.