By Pearl Forss, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : For the first time in Singapore, two bloggers have been charged under the Sedition Act with making racist remarks.
Twenty-five-year-old Nicholas Lim Yew faces two charges and 27-year-old Benjamin Koh Song Huat faces three.
A subordinate court was told that both their blogs had racist content, which sparked off a heated discussion online.
The charges read that Lim had, on 16 and 17 June 2005, posted racist remarks on the general discussion forum of www.doggiesite.com.
Koh was alleged to have done the same on 12, 15 and 17 June on another website, www.upsaid.com.
In doing so, they are alleged to have committed an act which had a seditious tendency.
This is defined as promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races of the population of Singapore.
Both men are out on bail of S$10,000 each.
The case is expected be heard again on September 21.
A person is deemed to have committed an offence under the Sedition Act if he performs any act which has a seditious tendency, or conspires with any person to do so.
It is also an offence to utter any seditious words or to print, publish, sell, distribute, reproduce or import any seditious publication.
First time offenders can be fined up to S$5,000, or jailed up to three years, or both.
For subsequent offences, they can be jailed up to five years and have their seditious publications forfeited and destroyed. - CNA /ct
Tomorrow.sg and Racist Blog
Relevant Portion of Sedition Act from Singsingapore
I am not a Freedom of Speech absolutist but I am aware that sometimes governments use certain tactics in an attempt to justify legitimate political issues and debates not reaching the population of certain countries and so I have provided links to two very important sites:
"We believe that the benefits of Freenet, for example for dissidents in countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, far outweigh the dangers of paedophilia or terrorist information being distributed over the system."
Ian Clarke, Freenet
The Free Network Project
I have also looked up Sedition on wiki and got quite a shock...
Sedition refers to a legal designation of non-overt conduct that is deemed by a legal authority as being acts of treason, and hence deserving of legal punishment. The term is deprecated in most countries, though equivalent language may still be in use in totalitarian and fascist jurisdictions.
Critical speech, political organization, and mere association between individuals may be considered as "sedition." And though such behaviours may be common in a free society, in societies where sedition laws exist the acts and behaviours which qualify are highly subjective, and typically left to the whims of state agents. Legal definitons of sedition often include subversion of a constitution, or incitement to rebellion or insurrection toward the lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws.
Because "sedition" is typically considered the subvert act, the overt acts that may be prosecutable under "sedition" laws vary from one legal code to another. Where those legal codes have a traceable history, there is also a record of the change of definition for what constituted sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological definition of sedition as well, within study of persecution.
The legal difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace. Sedition does not consist of "levying war" against a government nor of "adhering to [its] enemies, giving them aid and comfort" (Article Three, U.S. Constitution). Nor does it consist, in most representative democracies, of peaceful, non-violent protest against a government, nor of attempting to change the government by democratic means (such as direct democracy or constitutional convention).