Curbing online dissent in Singapore: MDA regulates online media

That the Media Authority of Singapore (MDA) has cracked the whip in forcing online news media to be regulated like the traditional media comes as no surprise to me for two reasons.

One, for months the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Yaacob Ibrahim had been expressing his irritation over online socio-politico sites.

Two, this is a repressive regime in a all but in name one-party state which passed laws in Parliament to place severe restrictions on freedom of speech and political and civic freedoms.

In short, the latest action is consistent with the ruling PAP’s core value of repression. Political parties like humans are shaped by their core values and beliefs.

As customary with all repressive regimes, there’s a sinister motive behind the MDA’s move. It’s to stifle the online dissent and sharing of information that contributed much to the PAP losses in the 2011 General Election.

Behind the smokescreen of protecting our multi-racial and multi-religious society (as if we are the only such society in the world), in MDA’s cross hairs lie popular socio-politico websites like TRE, Online Citizen and others.

Reporters without Borders ranks Singapore a lowly 149 out of 179. I won’t be surprised if it crashes right to the bottom by the next report.

This is what Wiki has to say on the state of media freedom in Singapore: “The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts is the government’s regulatory body that imposes and enforces regulation over locally produced media content. It also decides on the availability of published media from abroad.

In 2012/13, Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 149 out of 179 countries in the Press Freedom Index,[3] making it the worst country among other developed economies based on the Human Development Index, moving down 14 places from the 2011/2012 ranking.

Most of the local media are directly or indirectly controlled by the government through shareholdings of these media entities by the state’s investment arm Temasek Holdings, and are often perceived as pro-government.[4] William Gibson’s Disneyland with the Death Penalty described Singapore’s newspapers as “essentially organs of the state”,[5] while political scientist and opposition politician James Gomez has studied the role of self-censorship in restricting expression in Singapore.[4]

In 2011, 56% of 1092 respondents to a telephone poll agreed that “there is too much government control of newspapers and television”, and 48% felt that “newspapers and television are biased when they report on Singapore politics, political parties and elections”.[6]

The PAP regime is merely chasing shadows.

The Internet was designed precisely to counter threats to freedom of communications. When one door closes, another opens. That’s the beautiful thing about the Internet, the bane of all authoritarian states like Singapore.

As word spreads of this latest curb on freedom of speech, netizens are up in arms.

They are now even more resolved to remove the PAP regime.


2 Responses to “Curbing online dissent in Singapore: MDA regulates online media”

  1. […] plan – Blogging for Myself: MDA new rules on websites – Spotlight on Singapore: Curbing online dissent in Singapore: MDA regulates online media – The Heart Truths: Letter to MDA: Feedback on New Licensing Framework for Online News Sites […]

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