A new GovTech body created as traditional and digital media merges

A new Government Technology agency (GovTech) bill has been approved by Parliament to further the Ministry of Communications and Information’s (MCI) initiatives in digital transformation. This also comes at time where Singapore is looking to become a Smart Nation.

According to Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, GovTech will play an important role in driving the digital transformation of the public sector, with citizens at the centre. It will work with other government agencies to try new things, test ideas, commission proof of concepts, and take calculated risks.

In the recent years, the media landscape has changed vastly leading to the  recent reorganisation of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Media Development Authority (MDA) into two agencies namely, GovTech and the Infocommunications and Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Commenting on the creation of IMDA, Ibrahim said:

“Our traditional media, telcos and tech companies have expanded into content creation and new media business. Having a single agency implement the [Infocomm Media 2025 plan] will provide greater clarity to industry partners and deliver more impactful outcomes.”

The proliferation of content has also been seen in the marketing industry as many brands take on the publisher’s role creating their own newsrooms and content hubs.  The content marketing arena has recently been making waves in Singapore with the rise of players such as BNM, Click2View, Novus Media, Kudos Content and King Content to name a few.

This has caught the attention of the local government and led to the birth of Mediapolis@one-north which seeks to be Singapore’s first digital media hub, where emerging media technologies, content, services and applications will be developed, produced, financed and distributed to the world. We’ve also recently seen the likes of SPH and Isentia seeing the importance of the arena taking a significant stake in BNM and King Content respectively.

Meanwhile, the Infocomm Media 2025 plan launched in August 2015 is the first integrated industry development plan for the info-communications and media sectors.  This will be done through an emphasis on talent, research, innovation and enterprise. The new IMDA will also deepen regulatory capabilities for a converged infocomm media sector, safeguarding the interests of consumers and fostering pro-enterprise regulations.

GovTech is being created from the foundation that IDA and its predecessor, the National Computer Board has built. It has experience in managing enterprise IT systems for the public sector and implementing service-wide e-Services such as SingPass, OneInbox, and the OneService mobile app. As such GovTech will also further work to develop and maintain systems and ensure the government’s ICT systems are safe against cyber threats.

GovTech currently directly manages the IT departments of about two-thirds of all government agencies and handles other critical systems for the rest of the public sector.

“Technological advances are constantly disrupting our operating environment and the public’s expectations of government services are rising. At the same time, technological advances in ICT and related engineering create new opportunities for the government to deliver innovative and impactful digital services to citizens and businesses,” Ibrahim added.

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