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Strict censorship and a tame press

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  • CPJ
    Singapore Strict censorship and a tame press continue to characterize the press freedom climate in the city-state, which in October promulgated regulations
    Message 1 of 62 , Jan 24, 2003
      Singapore

      Strict censorship and a tame press continue to characterize the press
      freedom climate in the city-state, which in October promulgated
      regulations designed to keep a range of prohibited information from
      reaching its citizens by the Internet. Using the threat of costly
      lawsuits, harsh national security legislation, and decades of
      indoctrination, Singapore's ruling People's Action Party, which has
      been in power since independence in 1959, has fashioned a predictably
      bland media culture.

      Singapore Press Holdings Ltd., a private corporation with close ties
      to the government, controls all general-circulation newspapers. The
      government-linked Singapore International Media PTE Ltd. has a
      virtual monopoly on broadcasting. Satellite dishes are banned with
      few exceptions. The government has successfully prosecuted numerous
      domestic and foreign journalists in the past, and as a result of
      previous run-ins with the government, many foreign publications have
      their circulation strictly controlled by the government. Such is the
      case with The Asian Wall Street Journal, the Far Eastern Economic
      Review, and Asia Week, the three leading regional news publications.

      The new Internet regulations allow unhindered access for commercial
      users while preventing private users from having access to a wide
      range of sites. The Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) requires
      Internet service providers to block sites the government identifies
      as taboo because of their political or sexual content. The SBA also
      requires political and religious societies to register their
      Singapore-based websites. Singapore's government has set a goal of
      becoming a regional center for both on-line commerce and Internet-
      control technology. The government considers its Internet controls to
      be a success and an example to other nations in the region, but the
      tightly regulated environment for the press at all levels in
      Singapore is anathema to the promise of unhindered information flow
      promised by the Internet.
    • SDP
      Any one these days can promise the havens and the earth......but delivering on the promise is another thing altogether. Some examples of unfulfilled
      Message 62 of 62 , Mar 8, 2003
        Any one these days can promise the havens and the earth......but delivering on the promise is another thing altogether.

        Some examples of unfulfilled promises....;

        JUDGE MY GOVT BY ITS RESULTS: PM Goh Chok Tong

        The Rhetoric

        "The price of a good government is $34 million a year - just $11 per
        Singaporean a year - or the cost of five plates of char kway teow per
        citizen."
        - Straits Times, July 1, 2000

        "A million dollars for a minister seems a lot when compared with the
        salary of a worker. But $34 million for all the ministers and
        political office-holders is a tiny drop when compared with the
        increase in GDP that a good government can produce..."
        - PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, July 1, 2000


        The Reality

        The Singapore economy contracted by 2% in 2001 (Singapore Department
        of Statistics). Singapore has undergone two recessions in three
        years - 1998 and 2001. December 2001 figures show that 101,800
        persons are unemployed.
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        SIZE DOES MATTER

        The Rhetoric

        "GLCs added only 12.9% to the Singapore economy, says BG Yeo. Smaller
        companies need not worry about being edged out."
        - Straits Times, February 24, 2001

        "...there is a perception that GLCs dominate our economy...This is
        not correct."
        - MTI Minister George Yeo, Straits Times, Feb 24 2001

        The Reality

        "The government external economy constituted more than 50% of the
        total external economy in 1998. If one takes into account the GLC-
        owned external economy, then the government share balloons to some
        60%. Foreign MNCs accounted for 29% whereas the local private sector
        (excluding GLCs) owned 11%. It is therefore clear that if the
        government and GLCs fail to secure a good return on their external
        economy, the performance of the economy overall would be adversely
        affected."
        - Morgan Stanley report "Singapore's Investment Abroad 1997-1998"

        "GLCs have evolved into major economic institutions that account for
        over 60 percent of Singapore's GDP."
        - US Embassy in Singapore economic report Sept 2000

        "GLCs estimated contribution to GDP in 1998 of 12.9 per cent was not
        insignificant."
        - Singapore Department of Statistics, March 2001

        --------------------------------------------------------

        LABOUR CHIEF WANTS TO LOWER YOUR WAGES

        The Rhetoric

        "A worker in Singapore will cost $1000 per month or more, but there
        is a bountiful stream of workers in China who will gladly work for
        $100 per month ... that is why we should lower our wage costs."
        - Labour chief Lim Boon Heng, Straits Times, June 17 2002

        The Reality

        "Singapore ninth most expensive city in the world."
        - Economic Intelligence Unit, Jan 2001

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        A tale of two salaries

        The Rhetoric

        "This stingy government of ours is paying me only RM16,000 a month to
        do two jobs."
        - Malaysia's Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
        Straits Times, 25 Nov, 2002

        "A million dollars for a minister seems a lot when compared with the
        salary of a worker. But $34 million for all the ministers and
        political office-holders is a tiny drop compared with the increase in
        GDP that a good government can produce."
        - PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, July 1, 2000

        The Reality

        "Malaysia's economy expanded by by 5.6 per cent in the third quarter."
        - Straits Times, Nov 28, 2002

        "Singapore may face its second recession in two years."
        - Straits Times, Nov 19, 2002

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        FATHER & SON ON JBJ

        The Rhetoric

        "If you are Singaporean, you should stay on and fight and argue your
        case and persuade more people to believe you and one day change the
        policy, not opt out and leave because no policy is set in stone
        forever."
        - DPM Lee Hsien Loong praising J.B. Jeyaratnam as an example of
        a "stayer", Straits Times, Oct 3 2002.

        The Reality

        "Look, Jeyaretnam can't win the infighting. I'll tell you why. WE are
        in charge. Every government ministry and department is under our
        control...I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for
        mercy."
        - Lee Kuan Yew on JB Jeyaratnam, 1981, as related by ex-President
        Devan Nair in this article

        During a 1986 inquiry into whether he had violated the Parliamentary
        Privilege Act by questioning the integrity of judges, Jeyaretnam
        asked Lee, "So you think I have to be destroyed?" Lee
        replied, "Politically, yes."

        --------------------------------------------------------------

        ONE FAMILY?

        The Rhetoric

        "We all are one family."
        - PM Goh Chok Tong, August 9, 2001

        The Reality

        Between 1998 and 1999, the average household monthly income of the
        poorest 10 percent of the population decreased by nearly 50 percent
        from $258 to $133. In the same period, the incomes of the richest 10
        percent increased by 2.6 percent from $15,053 to $15,451.

        The following year, the average household income of the poorest 10
        percent fell by another 54 percent from $133 a month to $61. In the
        same period, the incomes of the richest 10 percent increased by
        another 8.8 percent.

        ---------------------------------------------------------

        CHU MEI-FENG AND LEE KUAN YEW

        The Rhetoric

        "I believe we've got a responsible press. They are not ashamed of
        what they are doing.."
        - Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the press in Singapore.

        The Reality

        "Mediacorp TV has been fined $10,000 for airing "sexually suggestive
        and offensive" footage from the sex-scandal video of Taiwanese
        legislator Chu Mei-feng."
        - Straits Times, Feb 23 2002

        "Our dear opposition "rebel" Chee gets sued for defamation for asking
        about the 10-billion dollar loan, is denied the right to speak up in
        support of the Malays in the tudung issue, and gets only a few
        minutes to speak on TV. Instead the current Miss World Wh*** Chu Mei
        Feng got a whole half-hour slot on Channel U on Friday to highlight
        her arrival in Singapore AND WAS GIVEN THE RIGHT TO PERFORM on stage.
        What a joke Sillypore has turned out to be."
        - A (pissed-off) forumner on the Internet

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