25 Sep 2006

FEER Misses Deadline For Singapore Representative, Bond

Monday September 25th, 2006 / 8h00

SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- The Far Eastern Economic Review, which is being sued by Singapore's leaders, hasn't complied with a requirement to appoint a legal representative in the city-state and pay a S$200,000 bond, a government spokeswoman said Monday.

"FEER has yet to comply with the conditions," said Krishnasamy Bhavani, communications director of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts.

The deadline was Sept. 11. The magazine can be stopped from circulating in Singapore if the conditions aren't met.

The Dow Jones & Co Inc. (DJ) owned publication and its editor Hugo Restall are being sued for libel by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father Lee Kuan Yew over an article about local opposition politician Chee Soon Juan in the July/August issue of FEER.

Restall declined to comment.

A note from the editor in the September issue of the monthly journal said the publication hopes Singapore will reconsider the bond and legal representative requirements.

"Whatever they decide, we will continue to publish well-reasoned analysis of the country free of fear or favor. More on this in our next issue," the note said.

In August, Singapore imposed tighter restrictions on foreign publications, including FEER, Newsweek, Time, the Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune.

The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts said FEER would be reclassified as an "offshore newspaper" and must comply with legal provisions governing such publications.

Under Singapore's Newspaper and Printing Presses Act, an offshore newspaper must obtain a permit to circulate in Singapore. It also must appoint a person within Singapore to accept any notice or legal process on behalf of its publisher, and submit a S$200,000 security deposit with the government.

For the other foreign publications, the exemption from the requirements was lifted effective expiry of their current permits.

Ruling party leaders have successfully sued several opposition politicians and publications for defamation over the years. They said they sue to protect their reputations.

But domestic and international critics - including the U.S. State Department and London-based rights group Amnesty International - have accused Singapore's rulers of using defamation lawsuits to stifle opponents.

In addition to this and other newswires, Dow Jones publishes The Wall Street Journal and its international and online editions, Barron's, MarketWatch, Dow Jones Indexes and the Ottaway group of community newspapers. Dow Jones is co-owner with Reuters Group PLC (RTRSY) of Factiva and with Hearst Corp. of SmartMoney.

-By Stephen Wright, Dow Jones Newswires; 65 6415 4151; stephen.wright@dowjones.com
-Edited by Paul Baylis


Capt_Canuck said...

So, why does an offshore publication that has to be censored in what they say out of fear of being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars want to publish in a country of only 4.2 million people? wouldn't the expense, difficulty and problems be greater than the amount of money they would pull in?

Wonder what would happen if all publications (especially the economic and financial ones) stopped looking at researching Singapore and left the world completely in the dark. Would you, in charge of a multi-million or billion dollar company looking to invest or move money around, want to invest it in a country that the only financial information is the prime minister, or their own financial magazines/research groups strapped by censorship, saying "sure, we are a great organization, trust us". After about 5-10 years of no money investing in Singapore, wonder if the country might consider an ease on offshore publications.

If there is no ease, then Singapore officials have finally gotten what they are seemingly striving for. A country in the dark about the world around them so that they will be happier because the pupulous won't know what they are missing in the way of freedom.

sapmme said...

Hey! Great idea!!!
reminds me of a certain korean nation...
That's the way the LEEs like it I guess....

Anonymous said...

Bhavani again!

After attacking Mr Brown, next is FEER!

What nexT?

LuckySingaporean said...

The foreign media trying to poison our minds again!!!

Singaporans are so lucky to have laws in place to protect us from the foreign media. They have to be stopped from spreading information contradictory to the interest of our system which as to be preserved.

Singapore will be a safer better place is FEER is banned.

lee hsien tau said...

So what's our Ronald MacDonald going to do about it? Charge the postman?

The Other Version said...

FEER is so gonna get it!


The Other Version

Matilah_Singapura said...

Private citizens and private businesses should never bow to arbitrary government regulation. In fact, all govt regulayion could be seen as arbitrary.

Governments tend to be very "anti consumer", but it is the consumers' demands which make a market happen. Government only gets in the way of the relationship between consumers and producers.

Lets say you want guns, pornography or drugs, and you are a responsible person. The govt (staffed by humans) will quickly evaluate that no one can be trusted with guns, pornography or drugs — everyone is "the same" so to speak, and by allowing guns, porno and drugs in a society will "destroy" the society. The producers of guns, porno and drugs are quite happy to sell consumers their products, such that the wants of consumers are satisfied.

However the consumer-producer relationaship is usurped by an uninvited and unwelcome 3rd party — the state.

This is the basis of ALL government interference or "regulation". The government unilaterally decides what is good or bad for the citizenery — but wait... with such absolute powers in place, wouldn't a government natuarally BAN anything that it evaluates as a threat to its own omnipresent, and omnipotent governmental powers?

Private citizens and businesses should resist any state attempts to control their existence.

"When laws become unjust, I become an outlaw" — Robert Heinlein.

Teck Soon said...

What an interesting piece of news! Perhaps the prestigious FEER is calling a bluff by the Singapore government. If FEER is banned in Singapore, I have a feeling that there will be an increase in articles therein critical of Singapore. The Lee family certainly doesn't want more criticism, so what can they do? This may be a sign that their power to control foreign publications is actually quite limited. FEER would rather have integrity and quality journalism than cave to such a small market as Singapore. This defiance could spread to other publications, and if banned, the sour taste left by Singapore will linger in editors' mouths. Singapore will lose its well-known "right of reply" and the onslaught of criticism will severely damage Singapore's reputation.

Jay Shah said...

Did Bhavani get a promotion? Seems she's made director of communications from press secretary.

Anonymous said...

There are outright accusation of nepotism, corruption and even coverups by the great one in so many foriegn papers. One should just read the Malaysian and Indon papers this few days to know the extend of defamation and yet there is no need to protect one's honour overseas. I wonder why. Guess a king needs to hold "court" in his own country only.