23 Apr 2005

Filling the civil society gap in Singapore

From James Gomez...

Filling the civil society gap in Singapore: The role and impact of external human rights and media advocacy organizations

This paper looks at the role and impact of international and regional human rights and media advocacy alerts, reports and rankings in highlighting freedom of expression and media freedom issues in Singapore. It argues that since the mid nineties the internet has increased accessibility to such information generated by such external organisations. In some ways, this has spurred the development, growth and frequency of such alerts and reports thereby creating greater global and local awareness of "freedom" concerns in Singapore. The fact that on numerous occasions the Singapore government under the PAP has taken issue with such reports shows that the work of these external organizations does have an impact. Given that there is presently no consolidated local media watch initiative, these external advocacy groups play an important role in filling one gap in the local civil society landscape. However, the internet and external input do not replace the need to have real local actors to move the media watch agenda forward in Singapore. Tuesday, 12 April 2005


When Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) released their annual worldwide Press Freedom Index in 2004, putting Singapore near the bottom of the rung at 147 out of 167 countries, it made local news. Why? Because, the PAP government rebutted the report by saying that 'outsiders should't equate freedom with criticizing the government(Star 17 November 2004). The Information Minister said RSF's index imposes a standard that fails to take into account special circumstances in Singapore, where "journalists contribute to the nation's development and are not necessarily adversarial". He added that the index is "based largely on a different media model which favours the advocacy and adversarial role of the press". Download the full article here:


dogpuke said...

Interestingly, www.rsf.fr could not be accessed from my computer today (connection refused?).

dogpuke said...

I think talkingcock.com has a role in filling this gap, bringing up some issues that would otherwise not appear in other mainstream Singaporean publications (yes, I do consider them mainstream: a lot of Singaporeans read this, even my political science lecturers in NUS). What do you think?

soci said...


is the connection working again?