Thanks to a heads-up, regarding ZDNet.
Lets get ready to rumble...Balaji Sadasivan.
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.