8 May 2006

Blogging during elections: considerations

CNA claims:
Impact of Internet on General Election likely to be studied after polls

SINGAPORE : The impact of the Internet at this General Election is likely to be looked at by the relevant ministry after the polls.

Information Communications and the Arts Minister Dr Lee Boon Yang said this is to assess the scale at which the new media, like blogs and podcasts, were used to influence views and shape opinions.

As Mr Wang says, "Okay, here it comes."

To counter the flimsy arguments to prevent bloggers posting entries about political issues, we can look to international law where Singapore is a signatory, to consider how the blogosphere should respond proactively to an expected ban on blogging and the invitation of selected bloggers to sign up as political websites.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Singapore is a signatory)
Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.


The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 25:
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:

1. To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
2. To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;
3. To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.


In 1996 we have the General Comment No. 25: The right to participate in public affairs, voting rights and the right of equal access to public service (Art. 25) : 12/07/96.

Again, a UN document, adopted by the committee at its 1510th meeting (fifty­seventh session) on 12 July 1996.
8. Citizens also take part in the conduct of public affairs by exerting influence through public debate and dialogue with their representatives or through their capacity to organize themselves. This participation is supported by ensuring freedom of expression, assembly and association.

25. In order to ensure the full enjoyment of rights protected by article 25, the free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censorship or restraint and to inform public opinion. It requires the full enjoyment and respect for the rights guaranteed in articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Covenant, including freedom to engage in political activity individually or through political parties and other organizations, freedom to debate public affairs, to hold peaceful demonstrations and meetings, to criticize and oppose, to publish political material, to campaign for election and to advertise political ideas.

Your turn, Dr Lee Boon Yang and your relevant ministry.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

singapore is not a signee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eugene Wee said...

Well, on a technicality there are no signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Anonymous said...

http://www.unac.org/rights/question.html

"
Q: Who are the signatories of the Declaration?

A: Since the Declaration is not legally binding technically, there are no signatories to the Declaration. Instead, the Declaration was ratified through a proclamation by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948 with a count of 48 votes to none with only 8 abstentions. This was considered a triumph as the vote unified very diverse, even conflicting political regimes. "

Anyway, violating the Declaration of Human Rights is putting Singapore to the same leage as for instance mainland China stays.

I think The Haeg is the place where every citizen can sue their governments if they cannot find proper legal representation in their own country.

All the people whom got bankrupted previously on false and conceptual judgements could sue the Singapore government in The Haeg.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised this post is getting less attention than the previous, where certain individuals are just hurling insults and accusations.

Anonymous said...

"I'm surprised this post is getting less attention than the previous, where certain individuals are just hurling insults and accusations. "

That's because somebody had been arrested by the police. Somebody who can still be enjoying his life in Sweden if he had not come back to join in the GE for the love of his country. Think, and maybe you will find out that it takes a lot of courage to become a member of an opposition party. Perhaps there should be more humanity in your heart and feel more for a person.

Anonymous said...

I think you have seriously mis-read my comment. Why not give it another go?

But since you're on my case, I have something for you as well. I agree that you need to feel really strongly for a cause to step into the open and stand as an opposition candidate. I shall not go into a debate about whether we want to call it courage or not, or if it is a cause worth fighting for; let's leave it for another day.

Just because it is not easy to stand as an opposition member, does it mean that our sympathy should lie with them? Do we then cast sympathy votes for the opposition? If we do, then it is an insult to this country's system (of course some of you will jump at this and say what the PAP is doing is an insult as well), an insult to us as voters, and an insult to the opposition.

If or when I run for the opposition, I don't want to be voted in because the people sympathise with me. Call it idealistic if you want. I want to be in because I deserve to.

Speaking of which, it takes a lot of courage for ANYONE to go into politics. Give credit to where it's due.

Anonymous said...

I think nobody said anything about voting for him. People are very concerned about the arrest of a person. It is a very human issue.

Anonymous said...

I see this discussion is going nowhere, since we do not seem to be engaging on a common platform.

Go ahead if you think you are more humane than I am. I can live with that.

Anonymous said...

No, I do not think you are any less humane than me. My apologies for the misunderstandings both ways. I had only wanted to articulate why I think many people are very concerned about the matter, more than this article which we are commenting under. That was a concern that you had raised.

Anonymous said...

I can understand the concern, and from your comments I can tell you are a thinking individual, probably even more so than I am.

I think you will agree with me that calling our founding father (with all due respect) names will not help the cause at all. Quite a few of the comments are mere venting of frustration, some even potentially divisive. Of course, since this is a public forum (of sorts), we should all take it with a pinch of salt.

But as we have seen over the past few weeks, it is possible to rattle the PAP. The ingredients - a good plan, a good leader, a good team, a heart to serve, guts among other things. If there are enough people who feel so strongly for the cause, they need to engage PAP on PAP's platform. Nobody said politics is fair, so that's just the way it is.

So what irks me is not just the mindless comments and insults, but also why people are backing Gomez so strongly now. What about Tang and the rest? The list goes on, but why only now? And why only for Gomez? Which is stronger, their desire to see justice done for Gomez, or their detest for the PAP?

In any case, please accept my apologies too. I came on too strongly in my earlier posts.

Anonymous said...

What use is "a good plan, a good ledaer, a good team, a heart to server, guts", when soon after the elections, you get to spend some time at Changi chalet?

Anonymous said...

is PAP clean ??? as MM lee said

Anonymous said...

"why people are backing Gomez so strongly now. What about Tang and the rest? The list goes on, but why only now? And why only for Gomez? Which is stronger, their desire to see justice done for Gomez, or their detest for the PAP?
"
Perhaps it's due to the power of the internet. And perhaps the building up of frustrations on seeing the number of scapegoats build up over the years. Perhaps the people have finally become more politically knowledgable, and realised that this has got to stop. Perhaps people have finally found that hidden sense of justice. Humans are complex beings, and the reasons for their actions propelled by many different reasons and past experiences, and thus cannot be easily dismissed with a simple answer.

Anonymous said...

all u bloggers are going prison soon. u all cost pap their 75% win, and make PM malu with his mediocre win over newbies. be assured heads will roll.

Anonymous said...

It is true, the Internet is like a pair of x-ray specs. You can see a lot of things. The trouble is that more people need to wear these spectacles. To see the enlightened numbers rise bit by bit over the years is something that I do not have patience for. It is the dawn of our adult lives, and I detest having my best years dragged through the dusk of fascism.

Anonymous said...

Crackdown?

That simply means that we all need to get seriously educated about web privacy. Don't give the boys at NexLabs too much credit.

We're going underground.

Anonymous said...

I do not idolise any politician. The heart is right at home. My founding father is my own father, just like all of your fathers who toil for their sons & daughters to make a country.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps it's due to the power of the internet. And perhaps the building up of frustrations on seeing the number of scapegoats build up over the years. Perhaps the people have finally become more politically knowledgable, and realised that this has got to stop. Perhaps people have finally found that hidden sense of justice. Humans are complex beings, and the reasons for their actions propelled by many different reasons and past experiences, and thus cannot be easily dismissed with a simple answer."

I totally agree that humans are complex beings, I am just disgusted how people do not realise the hypocrisy in the things they say.

And to the changi chalet poster - please stop misreading my comments or taking them out of context. We complain about our bad media, but we are often guilty of taking things out of context as well.

Anonymous said...

"flimsy arguments"??? oh god, look at what comments the useless son of lky makes! now THAT's what you call flimsy.

Anonymous said...

Propaganda no. 100001: STI up after strong mandate.
Truth: All around the world their indices was up following Dow Jones, which closed 138 up, on last Friday. This is normal because the entire world will react to US markets movement, since they are the no.1 economy in the world. If SGX were not to react after Dow Jones means, it is dump market. And just 25 points up is no big deal because the SGX is on up trend since last year, so does the world indices. We must know the differenes between coincidence and reality. Would you think French & german market reacting to our self proclaim strong mandate? Or the Nikkei 225 for it's case ? Or more better, HK Hang Seng and Indian stock market? All are up today ! WOW just can't believe their stories.

After hearing the local news, I just can't stop laughing. No wonder journalism is shameful career in SG. may be cannot blame them, because they report to ....

Talk about strong mandate: I don't thing it is true. Logically looking at the margins compared to the previous GEs this time they scored very poorly. And, i thing most of the young voters would have voted for the opposition. This is purely my opinion.

I am very new to blogging, but believe this will show the world what is real and fake. I also will encourage my friends to view and contribute their views, using blog, and the power of internet.

It's a free man's world!

Anonymous said...

"I totally agree that humans are complex beings, I am just disgusted how people do not realise the hypocrisy in the things they say."

Are you referring to the previous comment, or otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Your apologies are accepted, let us shake hands and share ideas in this vast universe of the internet! Erm, I hope the remark that you posted about people not realising their own hypocrisy was not directed at my comment that humans are complex beings. If it is, can you please elaborate?
I think having discussions like this is one of the most meaningful activities that the internet has provided for us, bringing strangers together. Singaporeans hardly talk to one another on the streets, except at the rallies!

Anonymous said...

I see there is quite a fair bit of confusion here, considering we all post as anonymous entities. I wish one day we can look back on all these and see the lighter side of things.

I am enjoying this discourse every bit as well, and it provides a good opportunity for some of us to talk about things close to our hearts.

My comment about hypocrisy was in reference to people getting worked up about Gomez, when he is already not the first opposition member to be sued by the PAP. A tad harsh perhaps, but I'm not going to take it back. I can only blame my own idealism.

If any of you are familiar with Stanley Milgram's psychological experiment for obedience to authority, one of his findings were that subjects will choose obedience first, conformity second, and autonomy last. Now if we make an analogy about our political situation, voting for the PAP will be synonymous with obedience. I do hope, however, that when people vote for the Opposition, it will be more for the sake of autonomy rather than conformity.

I digress.

- Impassioned Singaporean

Matilah_Singapura said...

I say, embrace yourself as fully human - warts and all - and give the same considerations to others.

Fuck the UN, fuck the international court of justice, fuck the state and fuck any group, organisation, religion or movement that purports to look after "your interest".

Fuck them all, and be the unique you - the individual.

Say what you like, need or want to even if people disagree with you. If they get offended, it is their problem, not yours. They are human too, so embrace them as "imperfect".

And definitely, never trust anything which spews from the mouth or a politician or religious leader.

They are ALL, full of shit. No exceptions.

Matilah_Singapura said...

...P.S.

and for your own sake, listen to GOOD music. Bad music will fuck your head up, and kill your soul.

The censorship dept bans stuff which "poison" society. Yet, they allow that woeful acoutic vomit to pollute the nation, and kill the souls of its inhabitants. You hear fucked music everywhere.

It'll eat your soul. These non-playing, non-grooving commercial, soul-less motherfuckers who need to be euthanased ASAP, and go to hell immediately, so that they can "go suck Lucifer's cock". (Reference to the great, but sadly late Bill Hicks)

Thank you Steve Jobs, for iPods!

Anonymous said...

*Yawnz*

- Impassioned Singaporean