[IRP] FW: more on the TOC chill effect incident in Singapore

Michael Gurstein gurstein
Wed Jan 12 19:41:53 EET 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: David Sadoway [mailto:bigbluearth at gmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:08 AM
To: Michael Gurstein
Subject: Fwd: more on the TOC chill effect incident in Singapore

Begin forwarded message:


TOC, gazetted

Posted by theonlinecitizen
<http://theonlinecitizen.com/author/theonlinecitizen/>  on January 12, 20113
<http://theonlinecitizen.com/2011/01/toc-gazetted/#comments> Comments

by Christopher Ong from The Kent Ridge Common
Source: wqow.com <http://wqow.com/> 
The Government has sent shock waves across Singapore by ordering The Online
Citizen, one of the country's most popular socio-political websites, to be
gazetted as a political organization. This gazetting means that The Online
Citizen (TOC) will not be able to use any of its new media platforms during
the upcoming General Elections to voice its support for any political party
or personalities, according to the TOC website.
If successful, The Online Citizen will be the first blog not only in
Singapore but perhaps in the world to be classified as a 'political
organization'. The reaction towards this political gazetting of one of
Singapore's most successful socio-political blogs has been largely critical,
with many also believing that it is the first step before several other
socio-political blogs are classified too as 'political organizations'. What
then, many may fear, is a complete blackout of alternative news sources and
forums during the period of the General Elections.
The Online Citizen's proud history over the years include touching on topics
such as the mandatory death penalty, the situation of the homeless in
Singapore, Mas Selemat's escape from a high security prison, to its
extensive coverage of the AWARE incident and everyday bread-and-butter
issues confronting the common man on the street. Most recently, it organized
a highly successful forum, Face2Face - in which a member of the ruling
People's Action Party (PAP) was invited but did not show up - that brought
together key figures of the opposition parties in Singapore such as Chee
Soon Juan, Chiam See Tong, Low Thia Khiang and Kenneth Jeyaratnam together
for the first time in many years.
The vitriolic response to what many see as an attempt to control The Online
Citizen threatened to boil over with hundreds of frustrated comments left on
several other popular blogs and forums in Singapore, such as the
Hardwarezone forum and Temasek Review, that provided coverage of the event.
Most urged The Online Citizen not to back down in the face of a possible
gazetting as a political association, and encouraged it to continue its
operations. Some suggested far-fetched ideas of mirroring The Online Citizen
to a foreign server, in order to bypass this mandatory registration.
For Singaporeans, most felt for the first time, today, a very real fear of
losing their source of free speech and thought on the Internet.
In the eyes of many, the justification of the political gazetting of The
Online Citizen, because it "has the potential to influence the opinions of
their readership and shape political outcomes in Singapore", is a terribly
weak one. Given this line of argument, should not other instruments such as
the REACH website, The Straits Times or even the NUS Political Association
for that matter be similarly considered as independent political entities,
and not be allowed to pledge any form of support for any one party or
personality using their respective platforms during the General Elections?
To read more, click here <http://kentridgecommon.com/?p=9504> .


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