Government must end harassment of online news platform targeted over critical article

A news editor facing a criminal investigation over an article that criticized the Singapore government is the latest victim of an escalating crackdown on freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International said today.

Singapore police yesterday raided the home of Terry Xu, editor-in-chief of The Online Citizen (TOC) news site, and seized all his electronic equipment. Police informed him he was being investigated for criminal defamation over an article published on his website on 4 September. Authorities have also threatened action against the alleged author of the article, Willy Sum.

“The targeting of Terry Xu and Willy Sum is a callous attempt by the authorities to silence and punish peaceful dissent. They are being persecuted solely for daring to publish content critical of the Singapore government,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and South East Asia and the Pacific Regional Director.

“This is the latest example of the authorities coming down hard on independent media outlets who refuse to toe the line by publishing social and political views. The crackdown on freedom of expression in Singapore must end now, starting with this malicious investigation against Terry Xu being dropped.”

The government’s response to the article, which alleged “corruption at the highest echelons” in Singapore, is the latest in a series of attacks on independent media reporting.

In mid-November at least one other individual, Leong Sze Hian, was threatened with defamation charges unless he publicly apologized for sharing a critical article on his personal Facebook profile.

Tuesday’s raids follow a police report filed against the TOC, one of the few independent political news sites in the country, by the government’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

An IMDA spokesman said: “The Online Citizen article ‘The take away from Seah Kian Ping’s Facebook post’ made serious allegations that undermine the public’s confidence in the Government’s integrity”.

Terry Xu’s desktop computer, mobile devices and laptops were all seized at his home by five police officers. He was subsequently taken to the police station and interrogated until 11pm on Tuesday night.

He is being investigated for criminal defamation under Section 21 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 68.

Willy Sum has also reportedly had his electronic equipment seized by police but has not yet been interrogated. The article has since been removed from TOC website.

Attacks on the press and individuals by the Singaporean authorities have increased since the alternative news site States Times Review published an article linking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal.

The government has also increased its censorship of other news outlets that are critical of the authorities.

 

 YourSDP

Statement by Amnesty International.
.

*This article was updated on 22 November 2018 to reflect that Terry Xu has not yet been charged.

 

 

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12 Responses to “Government must end harassment of online news platform targeted over critical article”

  • HarderTruths:

    Amnesty International is funded by George Soros, so you can imagine that they have a motive of their own for their hit piece.

    Soros was mainly responsible for shorting the Thai baht in 1997-8 and causing the Asian Financial Crisis and later accused Dr M (who was PM at the time) of being a ‘menace to his country’ when Dr M successfully defended the Malaysian ringgit by closing down Malaysia’s capital accounts. Dr M has also his own colourful description of Soros – who he regards as a ‘moron’ among other epithets.

    ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ should be attempted with caution here. Whether AI want just the pappy out (which is very doubtful) or $G as a failed state (much more likely) is not yet known.

    If $G locals want the pappies out it is better not to enlist FT help as the consequences can be unexpected and unmanageable.

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  • RDB:

    Dictators need no reasons to lock up anyone lock up anyone they like. As simple as abc because they are absolute cowards.

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  • 鸟龙的人:

    “烂极”说他很清白的
    如果他没下台今天是无头公案
    无风不起浪啊!
    要改朝换代,今后你一切都能知道,哈哈

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  • Gifts:

    HarderTruths:
    If $G locals want the pappies out it is better not to enlist FT help as the consequences can be unexpected and unmanageable.

    If its not for the Americans whom liberated us during the WWII, some unfortunate women will still be “pros” and probably your heads rolled. The locals are overpowered, hence, You must be daydreaming.

    So, foreign intervention is not anything new or surprising or unacceptable. In fact, it should be welcome with both hands thankful as if gift from God. In fact it will see a more non chaotic situation by adding pressure from the TOP and ensure authoritarian abuses by the use of force against citizen, not ever to happen.

    If it’s not from them, you won’t be speaking English.

    We will need a second peaceful liberation.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    Controlling the media is always among the first steps of any dictatorship when they come to power. In Singapore, it was obvious that only PAP approved news can be disseminated. Anything to the contrary will be subject to review and litigation. That is how dictators work.

    For the future of Singapore, it is best to remove the PAP from the scene totally and completely and expunge the public service and GLCs of all traces of the PAP. The PAP has plateaued out of ideas for Singapore in the current situation and worse have no new ideas for the future of the nation except selling pipe dreams such as Vers.

    Singapore is beginning to deteriorate economically and will continue to do so, with the citizens being marginalised with no appropriate skills to face the future.

    For the sake of the country and the future of its citizens, the voters need to remove the PAP for good. Political parties should engage technology both to spread their message and also to review what the PAP is doing with election vote counting machines etc. There is an opportunity for them to engage in fraudulent practices using such technologies.

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  • LB Neo, true heir to SG throne:

    Long live See Kau Pua-死到破!

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  • rukidding:

    I don’t think our Government “dares touch” Facebook !

    Kudos to Mark indeed !

    Ang Moh…”tua kee” indeed !

    Pinky ,…”dare not” challenge ….”no balls” mah !

    Some more got Donald Trump to “back” him from behind…you think Pinky “dare” anyhow “humtump” ????

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  • PAP sure win: 32%:

    If you can find “STR” in facebook, then open your mouth.

    rukidding:
    I don’t think our Government “dares touch” Facebook !

    Kudos to Mark indeed !

    Ang Moh…”tua kee” indeed !

    Pinky ,…”dare not” challenge ….”no balls” mah !

    Some more got Donald Trump to “back” him from behind…you think Pinky “dare” anyhow “humtump” ????

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  • Bapak:

    First, they went after the print media, then they went after the voice and now they go after the online media. Very soon, there will be no alternative media & voice, just like North Korea.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Might as well END the PAP, easier. Like KBW said before “no PAP, no suing” hor?

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  • Bapak:

    Everyone has their own motive(s). We reserved our comments till 1MDB investigation is over.

    HarderTruths:
    Amnesty International is funded by George Soros, so you can imagine that they have a motive of their own for their hit piece.

    Soros was mainly responsible for shorting the Thai baht in 1997-8 and causing the Asian Financial Crisis and later accused Dr M (who was PM at the time) of being a ‘menace to his country’ when Dr M successfully defended the Malaysian ringgit by closing down Malaysia’s capital accounts. Dr M has also his own colourful description of Soros – who he regards as a ‘moron’ among other epithets.

    ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ should be attempted with caution here. Whether AI want just the pappy out (which is very doubtful) or $G as a failed state (much more likely) is not yet known.

    If $G locals want the pappies out it is better not to enlist FT help as the consequences can be unexpected and unmanageable.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • rukidding:

    @PAP sure win ???….another Otak Tak betul ???

    Why you asking about “finding” STR in facebook ???

    My comment was a general comment about how your G “fights”..ie “bully and intimidate locals” !

    If it was facebook instead of str…you think Pinky could do anything ?

    The case of the recent so “claimed” fake news..btw,..facebook didn’t take it down leh ???

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