Thursday, January 13, 2011

Online Media Rules

The PMO (Prime Minister's Office) statement reads thus: "As a website that provides coverage and analysis of political issues, TOC has the potential to influence the opinions of their readership and shape political outcomes in Singapore." Then, almost as an after thought, it goes on, "It has been gazetted to ensure that is is not funded by foreign elements or sources."

The Singapore Press Holdings publications also provide "coverage and analysis of political issues". So one plausible reason why it is not gazetted is because it does not have the equivalent "potential to influence the opinions of their readership and shape political outcomes in Singapore". Ouch! Looks like quite a few editors manning political desks will be dragged to the woodshed for a bollocking by their management. Reporting on the development, Reuters reminded the world that Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 133rd among 175 countries in its 2009 World Press Freedom Index.

Of course the issue is not about funding by foreign elements or sources. Do you actually think the foreigners who have been welcomed ashore with open arms, and a S$10 million party, will contribute a cent to a maverick website? Can you imagine any of the foreigners who scored straight A's for their O Levels writing a single negative word about the system in their essays?

A prescient Garry Rodan of the Asia Research Centre penned this years ago:
"Political competition in Singapore operates within tight strictures. Periodic refinements are meant to keep it that way and take the risk out of elections for the ruling People's Action Party. Adjustments include fine-tunings controls over electronic media. The PAP is accustomed to conducting election campaigns with media that promotes rather than question or scrutinise its message. That is not about to dramatically change." ("Singapore Tightens Grip", The West Australian, 30 June 2001)

In July 2001, similar notice was served on Sintercom.com to register the website as a political entity. Founder Tan Chong Kee shut it down instead as he felt the arbitrariness of political terms within the Class License could entrap him in liability for civil and/or criminal action, regardless if comments at his website are not made by him. ("Sintercom founder fades out of cybespace", ST Interactive, 22 Aug 2001). Need we be reminded that we are living in a country where "piss on your grave" can be interpreted by legal academics as a death threat?

4 comments:

  1. How should Singaporeans view the close relatioship between Sin and the US? And the often claimed intimate personal and family relationships between our rulers with foreign politicians? Liked Sin Ruling Family with Brunei, Johore Royal Families.
    The claimed brother-like friendships between old parliamentarians with former Indonesian strongman Suharto?

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  2. "As a website that provides coverage and analysis of political issues, TOC has the potential to influence the opinions of their readership and shape political outcomes in Singapore." This is the best endorsement the PAP government can ever bestow on any rival.

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  3. There is nothing to prevent the government from pushing its agenda through the MSM. But since it does not carry the ground well and is insecure about its continued existence. It has to resort to prevent oppositions from pushing their agenda. That's not democracy.

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  4. Remember LKY once sought aid in the form of defence training from Israel, Taiwan, Brunei, Thailand, Australia, etc. Until this very day, the US has been regarded as a very close ally.

    If these foreign countries provide such aid to Singapore, how sure are we that these foreign countries do not harbour false intentions towards Singapore ?

    We all know for a fact that aid can come in different forms. Now pray tell me, how is it possible that our PAP govt can accept such foreign funded aid in the form of defence facilities from such foreign countries and then have the moral grounds to dictate that other political organisation can't be foreign funded ?

    Looks more like it that the 'foreign funded element' is a red herring to justify our PAP govt's high handed actions. Only hypocrites will do this sort of thing.

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