7 Jul 2006

Singapore Newspaper Suspends Internet Blogger's Column

From Playfuls.com
A regular column by a well-known internet blogger called "Mr brown" was suspended on Friday after the Singapore government criticized his piece about the high cost of living, said editor-in-chief Mano Sabnani.

"It is the decision of the editors of Today," he said, five days after the state-owned free tabloid published the government's blast.

"As for the column, I cannot say ... how long it will be suspended," Sabnani said in an e-mail to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The columnist, whose real name is Lee Kin Mun, a 36-year-old writer, said in his June 30 column that increases in taxi fares and electricity tariffs had come after the recent elections and at a time when a government survey showed a widening income gap.

"Singaporeans are fed up with progress," was the title.

In a response which Today published on Monday, K Bhavani, press secretary to the Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts, said the views "distort the truth" and offered no solutions.

Opinions widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards, Bhavani said. "It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the government."

The suspension triggered hundreds of responses to Lee's own blog, or web log, predominantly critical of the suspension of the column.

While renowned as an economically advanced country, Singapore's restrictions on press freedom and free expression are among the strictest in Asia.

Bloggers and podcasters were even warned against participating in political discourse during the campaigning for the May 6 general election.

Within the city-state, political observer Tan Tarn How said he did not support Today's decision.

"If you believe that pluralism is good, this is an unfortunate case of mass media censorship, or self-censorship," The Straits Times quoted him as saying.


Anonymous said...

Please suspend all the Pro PAP Journalists as well for being partisan and politicised.

There are train loads of them. Everyday churning out Pro PAP news until like PAP is God.

They paint Opposition like demons so they are partisan as well.

Please be fair in implementing laws(if any) and policy.

I can name some for you: Chua sisters, Loh Chee Kong, Aaron Low, Nicholas Fang etc.

Please suspend all of them as well.

Anonymous said...


July 7, 2006
'Study mamas' gather outside China embassy to air grievances

By ST Interactive Reporter, Ng Kai Ling

ABOUT a hundred 'peidu mama' or study mamas from China gathered outside the Chinese embassy in Tanglin Road on Friday morning to highlight their grievances.

The women showed up at the embassy at about 9am, and dispersed about two-and-a-half hours later without incident. Police officers maintained a quiet presence in the area.

Five representatives from the group went into the embassy to speak to officials.

One of them, who only gave her name as Madam Li, told STI after the meeting that the women felt it has become harder for them to find work in Singapore after the recent murder of a China 'study mama' who ran a massage parlour in Ang Mo Kio.

She said the publicity surrounding the murder has tarnished the image of Chinese nationals, causing people to associate China women with vice.

'We want to get back our integrity. Not all peidu mama in Singapore engage in illegal activities. Not all China women do those kind of things,' said Madam Li.

The 38-year-old mother of a ten-year-old boy who is studying in Primary 2 also wants the embassy to convey their message to the Singapore Government about difficulties they face in finding work.

'The Singapore Government has said that we can work after one year but why don't they give us the opportunity?' she asked.

Madam Li and her group were referring to the recent government move to put hundreds of unlicensed massage parlours in the heartland which have sparked concerns of vice under closer scrutiny.

These parlours, which are usually run by China women, claim to offer foot reflexology or Chinese 'traditional' massage. In reality, many offer sexual services.

The China women employees are also breaking the law because only Singaporeans, Singapore PRs and Malaysians are allowed to work in massage centres.

By claiming to offer Chinese 'traditional' massage, these heartland parlours are exempted from getting a licence.

The police also announced two other changes: Masseuses, reflexologists and therapists in licensed massage parlours will have to pass annual medical health screenings; and outfits which exclusively offer body tanning services no longer need a licence if they satisfy certain requirements. But they also need to register with the police.

Anonymous said...

Here's the picture of the protest