In the Order Paper for Parliament Session taking place on 12 January, Dr Shahira Abdullah, a Nominated Member of the Parliament, asked the Minister of Communications and Information whether the Ministry will consider banning the OnlyFans website which can be used for the distribution of obscene media.
The question was likely brought up because of Titus Low Kaide’s legal case and two charges of transmitting and distributing obscene materials via electronic means.
Towards her question, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo stated that not everything on OnlyFans was composed of objectionable materials.
Ms Teo elaborates by saying, “Social Media platforms have their terms and conditions as well as feedback mechanisms for users to flag inappropriate content and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) certainly expects them to adhere to their very own standards very strictly.”
Moreover, OnlyFans has its own safeguards, like requiring its users to be 18 years old at least.
Even under circumstances where a minor does falsify their age, OnlyFans still has other mechanisms like protective paywalls to Not-Safe-For-Work (NSFW) materials, and its terms and conditions prohibits its creators from posting heinous content like revenge porn.
Should there be any offensive, obscene material of any sort, users are allowed to flag and report the instance to the platform itself.
Even so, under the numerous clauses of the Penal Code, it is still illegal to transmit obscene materials by electronic means.
The case of Titus Low is merely an example; a warning for other Singaporean creators to either stop or be more cautious with the content that they produce, lest their toes step out of the lines.
Likewise, under the same section of the Penal Code, it is illegal to participate or earn profits from businesses that thrive on obscene materials, whether it is by electronic or physical means.
Furthermore, Ms Teo proclaims that authorities must ensure that social media platforms protect Singaporeans from the risk of exploitation and abuse, especially the impressionable minors.
However, it is hard to deny the expansiveness of the internet and how quickly such obscene materials proliferate in the darker, unseen corners.
In her written reply, Ms Teo responded: “Realistically, it will not be possible to block all objectionable or obscene content on the internet. That is why we must look beyond banning and take a holistic approach to deal with such content.”
Following, she offers previous examples of the government tackling similar issues, like MCI’s Sunlight Alliance for Action (AfA) to tackle online harms, which seeks to bring the people, public, and private sectors together to increase the level of digital safety initiatives.
Even the cyber-wellness classes conducted in schools that teach students how to identify inappropriate and illicit content are part of the collective efforts to educate and build a well-informed and discerning eye against online abuse.
Additionally, Ms Teo said that the IMDA has been and will be made aware of the existence of such harmful sites and will continue to monitor them.
Should there be objectionable content that steps out of the legal boundaries, the IMDA has the authority to approach Singaporean internet providers to filter or block certain content, thus ensuring the safety of the internet for the public.
Featured Image: YouTube (MCI Singapore)