Posted on November 3, 2006 by jeremy
Illegal protest, IMF Meeting, Singapore, September 2006
Image source: t3htarik
There is an excellent piece in the October edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review – recently banned (again) by the Singapore government — by Australian academic and Singapore watcher, Garry Rodan. Among other things, the article (pasted below in the event the link is broken) discusses the capacity of the PAP to insulate itself from an increasingly robust political opposition within the blogosphere. Interestingly, it is is not organised opposition (the PAP has legislated to contain this) but individuals who are challenging what Rodan refers to as the PAP’s “foundational myths”. The recent furore over the ill-considered blog posting of the daughter of MP Wee Siew Kim is a case in point. Is it possible that after four decades of social control in Singapore, we are finally witnessing the emergence of a genuine civil society?
Filed under: Singapore | Tagged: blogging, freedom of speech, Garry Rodan | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 4, 2006 by jeremy
Shi Tao (Chinese journalist)
Image source: http://www.irrepressible.info
Wired Magazine reports this week that a study has revealed about a third of big companies in the United States and the UK hire employees to read and analyse outbound e-mail to “guard against legal, financial or regulatory risk”. To protect your privacy, therefore, it is probably wise to send any risque jokes, love notes to your spouse, or any other details relating to your personal life via your private email account. Unless of course, you happen to have a Yahoo account. In China this can be extremely detrimental to one’s personal liberty; like 10 years in gaol, for example, in the case of journalist Shi Tao if you happen to email material in support of the pro-democracy movement. This might have been avoided had Yahoo shown themselves to have more of a backbone and not surrendered information to the Chinese authorities. If this sort of thing worries you, please consider pledging your support for Shi Tao at www.irrepressible.info.
Filed under: Human rights | Tagged: censorship, China, freedom of speech, privacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 8, 2006 by jeremy
Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Image source: Channel NewsAsia
In the so-called knowledge economy, where the source of international competitive advantage is creativity of thought fuelled by the free exchange of ideas, the PAP Government in Singapore seems intent on remaining firmly ensconced in the 20th century. The latest public pronouncement on freedom of speech might easily have come out of China or North Korea rather than a country that aspires to the ‘Intelligent Island’. Speaking in the Singaporean Parliament, Balaji Sadasivan (Junior Minister for Information, Communications, and the Arts) declared on Monday that political debate on the Internet could fuel “dangerous discourse” in Singapore, warning that people who post political commentary on Web sites could face prosecution. “In a free-for-all Internet environment where there are no rules” says Balaji, “political debate could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse, flush with rumours and distortions to mislead and confuse the public.”
Apart from the insinuation that Singaporean voters cannot be trusted to make their own choices, it is a statement that is hardly conducive to the promotion of a culture in which people will be encouraged to take risks, to think outside-of-the-box, and to contribute to the free flow of ideas that are so essential for the formation of a vibrant, innovative economy.
Thanks to Before I Forget for the FT story tip off. The full story from Reuters is cut-and-pasted below.
Filed under: Human rights, Singapore | Tagged: blogging, freedom of speech | Leave a Comment »