A critical Singaporean blogger continues to suffer financial and legal pressure because of a blog post that allegedly accused the city-state's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, of corruption. The episode is part of a disturbing pattern of government legal and financial pressure on critics, but it is also a lesson in how censorship can backfire.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This week, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demanded an apology from a critical blogger who has allegedly accused him of corruption. Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, who is also a healthcare worker, has frequently posted critical commentary on the ruling People's Action Party on his blog, The Heart Truths.
Singapore's Internet community is in backlash since the government announced on May 28 a new licensing scheme for "news websites"--a term it did not define--arguing that digital news platforms ought to be regulated on par with offline media. The government said the scheme would take effect June 1.
New York, January 26, 2011--In a concerning move against political commentary in advance of upcoming general elections, the government of Singapore has ordered a journalistic website to register as a political association, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Online Citizen says it has complied with the order, and has announced a January 29 "celebration" of its new status and invited the prime minister to attend.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.