On Freedom

International Media

1.      Freedom in the World 2006 ranked Singapore 5 out of 7 for political freedom, and 4 out of 7 for civil liberties (where 1 is the most free), with an overall ranking of “partly free”.

2.      In August 2006, the government announced a tightening of rules on foreign publications previously exempt from the media code. Newsweek, Time, the Financial Times, the Far Eastern Economic Review and the International Herald Tribune will be required to appoint a publisher’s representative in Singapore who could be sued, and to pay a security deposit of S$200,000. The move comes after FEER published an interview with Singaporean opposition leader Chee Soon Juan. [9] On 28 September 2006, FEER was banned for failing to comply with conditions imposed under the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act.[10]

3.      The Economist and the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), have been subjected to defamation suits and/or had their circulations “gazetted” (restricted). The sale of Malaysian newspapers in Singapore is prohibited; a similar ban on the sale of newspapers from
Singapore applies in Malaysia.

4.      In 2005, Singapore ranked 140th out of 167 nations by Reporters Without Borders in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index.

5.      In September 2004, “Economist” magazine paid US$230,000 in damages to President Lee Hsien Loong and his father, Lee Kuan Yew, and apologized “unreservedly” for an August article that noted “a whiff of nepotism” in the appointment of Lee’s wife, Ho Ching, as chief executive of a government investment company.

6.      MM Lee has won libel actions in the past against “The International Herald Tribune”, “Far Eastern Economic Review” and the Bloomberg business news wire. Each paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages or out-of-court settlements.

At home

1.      On 30 June 2006, blogger mr brown wrote an article, titled “TODAY: S’poreans are fed, up with progress!”, for his weekly opinion column in Today newspaper concerning the rising costs of living in Singapore. [6] Three days later, on July 3, an official from the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts published a response letter on the same newspaper calling mr brown a “partisan player” whose views “distort the truth”. [7] On July 6, the newspaper suspended his column.[8] Fellow blogger Mr Miyagi subsequently resigned from his column for Today

2.      Royston Tan‘s award-winning 15, a graphic depiction of Singapore‘s underbelly, was only allowed after over 20 scenes were cut.

3.      A short documentary called Singapore Rebel by Martyn See, which documented Singapore Democratic Party leader Dr Chee Soon Juan‘s acts of civil disobedience, was banned from the 2005 Singapore International Film Festival on the basis that it was a ‘party political film’ and See is being investigated for possible violations of the Films Act.

4.      On the other hand, Channel NewsAsia‘s five-part documentary series on Singapore‘s PAP ministers in 2005 were not considered a party political film. The government response was that the programme was part of current affairs and thus does not contravene the Films Act.

5.      Since they do not concern the politics of Singapore, films that call out political beliefs of other countries, for example Michael Moore‘s Fahrenheit 911, are allowed.

Here are some interesting facts for you to start your day. Courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

2 Responses to “On Freedom”
  1. discerning says:

    For the 1st point, do note that under the same category, China is given a 1, A very free status.

    Wikipedia, can sometimes be a problem


  2. Haha, that does put things in perspective.. Thanks for dropping by. =)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: