4 Apr 2006

Singapore warns political bloggers


Thanks to a heads-up, regarding ZDNet.

Lets get ready to rumble...Balaji Sadasivan.
By Reuters

Political debate on the Internet could fuel "dangerous discourse" in Singapore, the city-state's government said on Monday, warning that Singaporeans who post political commentary on Web sites could face prosecution.

Speaking in parliament, Senior Minister of State Balaji Sadasivan said anyone using the Internet to "persistently propagate, promote or circulate political issues" about Singapore during election periods was breaking the law.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose People's Action Party has dominated politics in the city-state since its independence in 1965, is widely expected to call early elections in the coming months.

"In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debate could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse, flush with rumors and distortions to mislead and confuse the public," Sadasivan said.

The tiny island-republic's laws require political parties and individuals to register if they want to post political content on the Net.

Print media in Singapore are tightly controlled, but the Internet is rife with Web sites that discuss Singapore politics, from the critical newsgroup Sg-review to the comical Talkingcock.com and blogs such as Singabloodypore and Yawningbread.

It is not clear whether any of these sites has registered with the government.

While Sadasivan said the government's approach was to take "a light touch" in regulating the Internet, political activists have complained that the rules are too broadly defined, preventing an open debate. Sadasivan said a change of the law was ruled out.

The rules also apply to "podcasting," an increasingly popular medium through which audio files are made available for download on the Internet, allowing Web surfers to listen to them at their convenience.

Last year, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan launched a podcast on the Singapore Democratic Party's Web site in an attempt to reach a wider audience and bypass the pro-government media.


Story Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.



31 comments:

soci said...

"In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debate could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse, flush with rumors and distortions to mislead and confuse the public,"

as opposed to the usual PAP bullshit!

Anonymous said...

PAP is too careful to spread just bullshit; it tries to have it both ways in almost everything, and that takes sophistication

Calvin aka Yamada Shun 山田駿 said...

I do not know who will buy into that. If encouragingin discussions openly on the internet is not a right to freedom of speech, I dont know what is.

So, I have to pay to register to speak? Be it rumours or facts, Singaporeans are not dumb to differentiate and vote in accordance. Clearly, I am shocked.

For my own protection, i have even removed postings in relation to some of my political opinions..

*The Lunatic Fringe* said...

Another salvo shot across the bow of the sampan (Political Openness Singapore) by the Yamato-class battleship (Shandian Regime). The inherently uncontrollable internet scares the Shandian Regime who realise they have no real answer in terms of genuinely original ideas to answer to the legitimate questions being raised about how political and civil space is being defined in modern Singapore.

Since the regime cannot control the blogsphere and how intelligent and reasoned ideas and arguments(mixed with rants as well! :-) ) are starting to chip away at is monopoly over voters mind, it casts Fear, Doubt and Uncertainty into denizens of the internet again polarising into a "us (Shandian)" vs "them (anyone who challenges the legitimacy and power of the regime)."

Using huge stick of broad legislation and potential use of civil defamation actions as the key to silencing or discouraging challenges and alternative views about political issues.

Thrasymachus said...

To be honest, if you listened to the full parliamentary speech, it is not as bad as the media portrayed it to be. There is always an element that media sensationalize politician's words to gain readership. If you blogged responsibly, I don't see why anyone would fear being prosecuted.

Even in USA, regulations are made on Freedom of Speech with responsibility. If you are responsible, then why fear? We are no North Korea of Iran. Of course, I am biased. =P

Cheers!
T

Anonymous said...

The controls on the internet, the giveaway of money to voters, the threats to opposition wards, all mean that someone is very afraid of the next election. I see three reasons: a) Lee Hsien Loong is afraid not to get the mandate he so desperately needs and b) the opposition is as united as it has never been in the past and c) some opposition parties (such as the Workers' Party) have shown that they can produce a real alternative proposal.

Anonymous said...

It would seem the "great imperial leaders" of the Republic of Singapore ("ROS") are so concerned of their tenuous hold on 'democracy' in ROS that they actively seek to 'control' all political commentary excessively and shrouded in "law" so as to put the fear of God into anyone who may choose to comment (read dissent) as to the political situation in ROS.
The reality is that ROS is and should be seen to be a mature democracy. The threats of Communism that were evident in the 1950's and perhaps the 1960's are "ghosts of the past". The average Singaporean (voter) has become more educated, intelligent, worldly and should be given credit for having 'evolved' into a reliable and open minded voter. The reality is the Leadership and especially the Dynasty in ROS is paranoid about any other party/person getting their hands on the pot of gold and raiding it, stealing it, imbezzeling it in whole or in part for personal gain or for that of their cronies as has been the case in other SE Asian countries. ROS will never mature politically until and unless the people of Singapore are allowed the FREEDOM, discretion and ability to choose their own destiny in a fully informed and intelligent manner their political leadership and the diretion they choose to take.

It is undeniable that ROS has been a success story, due in large part to the benevolent dictatorship of LKY and his gang of cronies albiet with evidently an altruistic motive to the betterment of all Singaporeans. That time has however, come to an end. LKY is now and old man and he has passed the political baton on; unfortunately it has been passed to a like minded, nanny type of leadership succession that continues in the same partonising and condescending manner as the grand old man himself. If Singapore is ever to mature, it must cut the strings and let the child run free, for better or worse and let a FREE and freely democratic politic prevail in the Republic of Singapore.

Will it happen? Not bloody likely.....

Anonymous said...

interestingly .....this phrase is true....spare the rod and spoil the child..........i rather be chained than to be free and then act like a stupid fool in front of the world......three cheers for PAP!

Matilah_Singapura said...

>"In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debate could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse, flush with rumors and distortions to mislead and confuse the public," Sadasivan said.

Dude, you can't cheat an honest man. People have their own judgement to believe or not believe what they hear. If they are so fucked up and hung up that they'd believe anything they hear... well in my case I make it a point to have fun with them :-)

... for my own selfish entertainment of course. I look at it this way: if I'm laughing, then there is one less unhappy person in a world, where IMO there is far too much unnecessary strife! Many of us know too that alot of comedy is laughing at other people's hang ups.

Since you are so hung up, rest assured, good sir, I'll be laughing at you, and your ilk. :-)

>the government's approach was to take "a light touch" in regulating the Internet,

Bollocks. Please use a "heavy iron fist" against crackers, phisers, terrorists, scammers and spammers. But IMO, for spectacular LONG TERM results, leave peaceful people ALONE.

Don't push seemingly docile people too hard. Some of them may fear you. Others might get angry, and become resentful or worse revengeful. Never stomp on someone "smaller" than yourself. You invite very very bad karma into your life. Mr B.S., ignore that at your peril.

>political activists have complained that the rules are too broadly defined, preventing an open debate.

No wonder political activists in sg continually fail. What is this "asking permission" shit? Are sg activists kindergarten kids or full grown, hopefully mature adults with at least half a semi-educated brain? I would like to believe it's beter than the latter. However most of the evidence proves otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Well done PAP! Our system is so transparent! Our politics is so fair! We've just shown the world what true democracy is! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Sg can never progressed with this sort of governance. the political leaders are like "little frogs living in a small well". they have yet to jump out of their small well to see the whole world! when will they do so??? The citizens of sg will suffer as a result.

antipathy said...

I am glad soci has made it clear that singabloodypore will not attempt to bend in any way.

As fellow internet-users we have to show solidarity and stop using the anonymous option. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

personally i think this small well is safe and humble.........well singapore is small....what you expect??? if we had the size of our neighbouring countries size for expansion.......we would be happy not to INVEST in any other countries..........if you look at the news comparing issues like transport.....for example.....look at my neighbouring country malaysia....horrible transport........transport that is always late.....buses that are old and unkempt........look at thailand's boycotts......look at the massive lost of income resulting from the loss in strikes.......poland's unemployed people.........i was happy singapore's pap had a mandate to curb all these things.........look at how big and international our airport is btw......and compare it to some other places.......such as australia......only to know just exactly how "small" the airport is in comparison to the "size" of its land........its like a perverse idea that a muscular guy has a small dick!

Anonymous said...

the leaders is materially rich but spiritually poor, have brains and no hearts, no loving-kindness and compassion.

I'm afraid real richness, wealth and happiness are not measured by external things. People could look poor externally but they are happy internally.

Anonymous said...

then i believe you must be the pauper in the streets who begs for his life......to that iron bowl that you beg for alms........i shall donate not money.....not food....not clothes .........but perhaps some comments about your life.

look at some materially rich countries.........like for example australia........look at how racist the country is btw for example.......look at how migrants and the less fortunate people are treated.........weren't the aboriginals the 1st people in the country???? they didn't even had much to consider when the white settlers trampled on them..........

so like in singapore......the pap rules with an iron mandate........you want to question them???? just who in the world are you???? the 1st settlers in singapore???? unless you are........maybe....if not.....be the last.....always the last to beseige a request!!!! .....we aren't giving the races a hard time.....unlike for comparison in australia.......where real race is really divided.......if only you have been there......sometimes its better to lead a sheltered life than a harsh and foolish one............if only i made the right choice to stay in sg and follow pap's mandate........now i rather stay in a well and be foolish than to be the bigger foolish going overseas to be treated like rubbish in the eyes of outsiders..........beware the wolf in sheeps clothing people.....

discern the true identity and purpose of the treacherous wolf outside waiting in hunger......don't be eaten alive......

Anonymous said...

i could empathise with whatever bad experiences you had during your stay in any foreign country, however, not everyone have the same bad experience just like you, as far as i'm concern. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so many who have migrated or who are going to migrate.

look at those movie stars and singers, such as elvis presly, cheung kor krong, etc - weren't they famous and rich and why did they still want to commit suicide? Can all the materials and possessions provide one with the ultimate happiness in life? However, I don't deny the fact that money and materials are essentials in life but not everything that can provide us with the real happiness.

Nothing is static, life changes, so do policies need to change accordingly to conform to this present world at large. Just as what LKY himsef admitted that his style of ruling in the past is no longer applicable in this present time. Obviously, he knew time has changed.

but what we're discussing now abt our sg policy is what we hope to see some changes or improvements of the existing ones that are not so beneficial or perhaps need improvements in order for the betterments of everyone in the future.

Moreover, we are not puppets or so-called "prisoners" but we are social beings of the present time and not in the 60s or so anymore. We wish to live a better and happier but less restrictive life. Iron-fist style of ruling is not plaudable for most people in fact. but i believe each and everyone has their ideals in life.

antipathy said...

to the anonymous writer who typed with many iterations of dots and question marks,

You are raising many what if questions, and presupposing that you would be materially rich in Singapore.
Are Singaporeans materially rich? We have the largest Gini index for all developed countries and higher than many developing countries
(0.61).
This means there is a great dichotomy between the rich and poor. Does ownership of home mean you are materially rich? Is bare survival good for society? Shouldn't the quality of a society so determined toward "meritocracy" be garnered toward social mobility? USA has stats that are openly available that show the social mobility of a population in the last 40 years, why can't Singapore release it?
I am glad you are using a computer and an internet connection. Can i conclude that you are a wo/man of some means?

PAP wins by appealing to the ignorance of the faix populi. Their argument is always centred along their "proven track record".
The Opposition might actually lead Singapore to better economic prospects, we shall never know, because we never elect them in office. THus the circular logic remains.

Anonymous said...

nope as a matter of fact i am a MAN......i command good english even though i look chinese....often CURSED for being
"incompetent" in english in australia due to my strong chinese looks...and to all those that want to look the skin before the tongue......so shall the hate be reversed back to you.........yeah i like DOTS and QUESTION MARKS......they scar and vandalise this website....thanks lot... perhaps you might like to experience what harsh ordeals that i went through as an overseas student.......would you like to be sprayed with water in the middle of the night walking back home after meeting someone........would you like to be stared at rudely and in repulsive disgust at your looks......having a child to stick out the tongue at your looks........being SHOWN a FIST in REPULSIVE HATE..........dunno.....maybe you can call it racism.......yeah....and now i decide to reverse the pain back to your people here.......have a taste of you own medicine!

ted said...

TO the last anonmynous, if you don't know how to fight back when you get spit on, you don't deserved to be called a man.

Anonymous said...

fight back??? you mean punch or reverse the pain on others.....yeah maybe spray water back at the aussies at my own home.......yeah.......fight back as i could also interprete it as simply being BRUTISH and CRUDE .......we just smile at the twisted and contorted face when we catch aussies and ENSNARE them in the most VILE and vicious manner......you want to see the lecturer that was almost shish kebab??? well i had almost "killed" him verbally for the most foul and vile manner of treatment.....want to see his webpage??? almost less a bit of evidence that was lacking .....from a prideful subject coordinator to a stupid project IT manager......hahahaha want to see how i verbally punish him??? serves him right......like a trapdoor spider.....will rear up to you in the most vile manner and sting you vicously so that you remember the sting and the pain i inflict.....serves you right

Matilah_Singapura said...

>f you don't know how to fight back when you get spit on, you don't deserved to be called a man.

That's so right. One's attitude toward excessive and reasonable force of the state is the point.

You might lose, but you don't let them take your dignity from you.

antipathy said...

To the anonymous writer who types with iterations of dots and question marks,

I am sorry that you have encountered bad experiences in Australia. But clearly, your experiences e.g. being sprayed with water, being stared at rudely and having someone stick out a tongue at you hardly qualifies as excessive racism.
And i can see that you have your own ideas about how to deal with racism. By being a racist yourself.

Anonymous said...

sorry??? don't have to be!!!!!! don't need and DON"T WANT a sorrie from another WHITE. you will say sorry to those people WHOM I VICIOUSLY TRAMPLE..... save it for them!!!

ted said...

It's ok everyone. Very obvious this guy is a loony. We should pity his soul for being so tainted by his experiences.

Anonymous said...

loony is not the right word to use dude....its reverse racism you CRETIN! and i remembered when i stared hard at a WHITE in my country he was giving me all the hard looks.....feel pain......good.........serve you with some more of my goodies........

analogous to the treatment received....you shall have it back equal if not more.......this i promise...........we have ABSOLUTELY no COMPASSION when it comes to trampling the weak and single WHITES.......

simon said...

opps....sorrie...shouldn't have used this word WHITE so liberally.....sorrie..my apologies on behalf of all those who read my thread.....it should be more specifically aimed at the australians instead.....

and when i remembered the nite where i STARED hard at that ANGLO looking guy.....he was so quivered through his looks which gave him away instantly.........don't worry.....i won't KILL any australians indiscriminantly.......just play around like a cat who wants to claw and play with the mouse until they tire out mentally.......mental fatigue for them is a punishment which i endeavour to see with delight.......probably that might calm my nerves and bring me back to my normal self........

sorrie dude.......blame it on your white settlers in australia who are mere brutes.........don't have to say anything anymore....you can think i am loony or whatever.....i am JUST HAPPY DOING WHAT I DO BEST........REDIRECTING MY PAIN on others and dwelling in their PAIN makes me HAPPY

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