Over 1,500 Singaporeans protest at rally against new online rules
Reuters/REUTERS - Protesters walk past a mock gravestone that reads "RIP Freedom of Speech" during a protest against new licensing regulations imposed by the government for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 8, 2013
Over 1,500 protestors turned up at the Free My Internet rally in Hong Lim Park on Saturday afternoon to protest against the Media Development Authority's (MDA) licensing scheme for online news sites.
The five-hour peaceful demonstration at the Speaker's Corner was organised by a group of popular social-political bloggers who felt that the new regime could severely curtail their freedom of speech.
Calling the protest "just the beginning" in a "sustained campaign for the withdrawal of MDA's regime", the organisers repeatedly demanded that the new regulations be revoked.
- Singapore Bloggers Protest Licensing Rules for News Websites - BusinessWeek
- Protesters rally in Singapore against new online rules - Phys.org
- Campaign by #FreeMyInternet against MDA scheme @ Hong Lim Park - Sgpolitics.net
Bloggers rally against Singapore ruling
Some 2,500 Singaporeans led by local bloggers staged a protest at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park Saturday, seeking the government to withdraw its new licensing requirement imposed on local news websites.
The peaceful rally was organised by a group of bloggers called #FreeMyInternet, who are against the licensing regime, which came into force on June 1.
The group believes this to be an attempt at censorship and an infringement on the rights of Singaporeans to access information online.
SPH & MediaCorp agree with TOC on crowd size!
And it’s a whooping 2,000++! Wah lan! Pigs can fly!
I had predicted when I read that TOC reported “ SPH and MediaCorp will report, “Less than 500 turned up at Hong Lim protest”. Err I was wrong: CNA reported “Some 2,000 Singaporeans …”, while ST reported that between 2,000 and 2,500 people turned up.
So why did our constructive, nation-building media report numbers that tally with that of TOC’s, and not come lower? One would have tot that it was in the interest of the perceived PAP-sream media to downplay the extent of the unhappiness. Getting 2,000 to 2,500 S’poreans out at very short notice (less than a week) is a very good achievement, no a great feat, on the part of the organisers. And shows the extent of the unhappiness with Yaacob’s regulation to make sure S’poreans get the “right” facts.
Hong Lim Park: Online protest goes offline
At one corner of Hong Lim Park is a tombstone marking the demise of freedom of speech. Death by regulation, it said. People took photographs of it – and by it. There was a carnival-like atmosphere with the smallish crowd entertained by Joshua Chiang and Patrick Chng, singing freshly-composed lyrics to old John Lennon and Tom Petty songs. A sample: “We want the truth.” “We won’t back down.” It was 4pm and baking hot. Sweat dripped from the brows of those who donned specially-produced black Free My Internet tee-shirts, sold for $10 at one end of the park.
But once the speakers got on, everything got serious. More people streamed into the park. The organisers did a physical count and claimed that at its height, there were 2,000 people. They were youngish people, quite different from the crowd at the May Day rally. Those who spoke were articulate people, a list of who’s who in the blogosphere.
Most of the arguments have been surfaced before although each added his own stamp of personality to what he or she said. Some were outright condemnatory: the regulations were described variously as “stupid”, “heavy-handed” and “arbitrary”. “Stupid” was the most common word.
Free My Internet: protest at Hong Lim Park Part 2
I’m grateful to the coalition of alternative media for organizing the FREE MY INTERNET protest at Hong Lim Park yesterday.
I’m also proud of my fellow bloggers who turned up in full force.
Thanks to MDA’s censorship, for that is what it actually amounts to amid all its mumbo jumbo, the world is once again reminded that Singapore is a de facto dictatorship.
Bloomberg, Himalayan Times, Japan Today, The Sun (UK) and others highlighted news about the protest.
Not Well Thought-Out
Recently, the Media Development Authority's (MDA) issued a licensing scheme for online news sites in Singapore. Angered by the new ruling, a five-hour demonstration took place on Saturday afternoon at the Speaker's Corner
Organized by a group of popular social-political bloggers, over 1,500 protestors turned up at the “Free My Internet” rally. I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t there because…well, I have no idea what this new licensing scheme is for
And I’m not the only one. Now if the MDA is saying that there need to be rules for internet websites like those for mainstream media; fine. I don't like it but I can understand it. However this new licensing scheme is not the solution.
Singaporeans are fed, up with censorship
Many have speculated about what is the true intent of the Singapore government’s recently announced new licensing regime for news websites. We of course got some insight from Minister Yaacob Ibrahim’s statement about the need for Singaporeans to read the “right” thing online. More important, but less widely reported, was his definition of what the “right” things might be. A more complete quote of what he said to the BBC is:
“We want to protect the interest of the ordinary Singaporean. As long as they go online to read the news I think it’s important to make sure that they read the ‘right thing’, insofar as if there’s an event yesterday it is reported accurately.”MDA appear to have re-iterated the point on accuracy and good intent in their emailed response to Mr Ngerng who blogs at The Hearth Truths. They wrote inter alia
At least we have options of colours for our flats under Workers’ Party
Looking at the new MDA licensing for internet, it means you have less options and perhaps only one option - the ‘right thing’ media. So, it is important to have strong oppositions in the Parliament to increase the options or best still a change of government.
There are quite a number of flats that need a fresh look under the Repair and Redecoration programme at Paya Lebar estate. The money, of course, comes from the sinking fund – part of the monthly maintenance fees that we pay to the town council
I believe this is the first time residents will have the options to select the colours of our flats. Under the PAP town council, decision was made under the group thinking of grassroots leaders, CCC, RC and MPs. They made decisions on our behalf and the contractors carried out the painting accordingly.
Singapore net curbs assailed
A man reaches behind a fake tombstone representing the death of free speech at the Speakers Corner on Saturday in Singapore. (AP Photo)
About 1,000 Singaporeans rallied on Saturday against a new government policy that requires some news websites to obtain licences and possibly remove offensive content.
The policy that took effect on June 1 has led to criticism that authorities are trying to enforce online media censorship.
Newspapers and television have long been tightly supervised in Singapore, and officials maintain the website policy is not meant to muzzle freedom of expression.
Singaporeans protest against new licensing law for news websitesProtesters rally in Singapore against new online rules
Around 2,000 Singaporeans led by local bloggers attended a rally Saturday to protest against new government licensing rules for news websites that they say curtail freedom of expression.
The peaceful, three-hour rally, held at a free-speech park called Speakers’ Corner, was organised by a coalition of bloggers called “Free My Internet” to oppose the regulations which came into force this month.
“The message today is that the government must trust us, and stop treating us like babies,” said Choo Zheng Xi, a spokesman for the group and co-founder of popular political news website The Online Citizen.
Singaporeans oppose new law for news sites
About 1,000 Singaporeans rallied on Saturday to protest against a new government policy that requires some news websites to obtain licences and possibly remove offensive content.
The policy that took effect this month has triggered criticism that authorities in this Southeast Asian city-state are trying to enforce online media censorship. Newspapers and television have long been tightly supervised in Singapore, and officials maintain the website policy is not meant to muzzle freedom of expression.
Websites that report regularly on Singaporean news and attract at least 50,000 visitors a month are now required to obtain annual licenses. They must remove any content considered objectionable by the government within 24 hours of notification.
‘Free My Internet’: Hundreds march in Singapore against website licensing regime
A protester stands with a placard during a rally at a free-speech park called Speakers' Corner in Singapore on June 8, 2013 (AFP Photo / Roslan Rahman)
In Singapore, up to 2,000 activists lead by local bloggers staged a rally against recently introduced licensing rules for news websites, including breaches of “racial or religious harmony”, which protesters see as an attack on freedom of expression.
A crowd with posters denouncing “internet censorship” gathered on Saturday in Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park to demand the withdrawal of the policy. The peaceful demonstration in the Southeast Asian city-state was organized by a group of bloggers called “Free My Internet.”
The message of the gathering - “the government must trust us, and stop treating us like babies,” said Choo Zheng Xi, the group’s spokesperson. “It is an international embarrassment when governments around the world are working to deregulate the Internet, and Singapore, one of the wealthiest nations per capita, is going in the opposite direction," the activist told AFP.
The real reason behind online crackdown
Lee Hsien Loong in his first national day speech in 2004 as prime minister invoked Chairman Mao’s “let the hundred flowers bloom”.
He added “… we are going to do is to open up the Speakers’ Corner where you can go and make any speech you like and we are going to say, ‘Well, if you want to go there and have an exhibition, go ahead.”
And now, less than a decade after his speech, not just a hundred flowers have blossomed, cyberspace and Hong Lim Park have merged into one gigantic political force never seen before in Singapore’s history. This certainly was not what he anticipated.
Singapore struggles to control cyberspace
One of the most wired countries in the world looks set to implement new media regulations seen by some as a bid to stifle independent news and information.
According to the law, websites that frequently report on Singapore news will have to apply for a license under the Media Development Authority.
They will be required to pay a deposit of 50,000 Singapore dollars ($39,500) and will be subjected to government content regulations that demand objectionable content be removed within 24 hours.
MDA new rules: The Hong Lim event
Approximately 1,500 people showed up. Not bad if the number is correct but the number seems many times more online. Naturally.
In other pics, I see many middle aged and older folks. That is quite unexpected. Were they care free retirees? More there to observe than to stand up for this cause?
What happened to an aerial shot which they had in previous gatherings? May be that would suggest that far fewer than 1,500 people
Free My Internet: protest at Hong Lim Park
At his swearing-in ceremony after the last general election, the Prime Minister asserted, “Our politics cannot remain static either. More interest groups and alternative views have emerged, competing for support. Our political system can and must accommodate more views, more debate and more participation.”
The duplicity is crystal clear.
He also said, “…the Government will engage all segments of society – young and old, students, workers and retirees. We will reach out online and in the real world. We will listen carefully to different voices, understand the day-to-day difficulties and strains facing Singaporeans, address their concerns and be open to inputs on what Government can do better.”
Singapore's Websites Call for Saturday Protest
Asia Sentinel, 7 Jun 2013
More than 160 Singaporean websites are calling for concerned citizens to assemble Saturday in Hong Lim Park, the site of the city's Speaker's Corner, to protest stringent new licensing requirements imposed by the Media Development Authority (MDA) on bloggers and other websites last week
The bloggers have launched a campaign using the Twitter hashtag #FreeMyInternet to spread the word about the campaign. Online commentators have expressed concern over the breadth of the definition of "online news sites," warning that it could sweep in blogs that discuss a wide range of issues, and websites that enable users to discuss online content. Full story
MEDIA ADVISORY – #FreeMyInternet protest at Speakers’ Corner, 8 June 4-7
An advance of the protest by #FreeMyInternet at Speakers’ Corner (Hong Lim Park) tomorrow, 8 June from 4.00pm to 7.00pm, the following are some details. List of speakers:
Visakan Veerasamy - http://www.visakanv.com/
Leong Sze Hian - http://leongszehian.com/
Jewel Philemon - https://www.facebook.com/
Roy Ngerng - http://thehearttruths.com/
Choo Zheng Xi - http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Biddy Low - http://publichouse.sg/
Richard Wan - http://tremeritus.com/
Donaldson Tan - http://newsasiarepublic.com/
Damien Chng - http://
Ravi Philemon - http://raviphilemon.net/
Speakers will not all be seated on stage – they will only take to the stage when it is their turn to speak. At other times, they will be mingling with the crowd, so feel free to interview any of them at any time.
The Day of Reckoning – 8 Jun 2013
Today will be a day to test the strength and unity of the Singapore blogging community.
Never in the history of Singapore has so much been pitted against so little. It is worse than a case of David versus Goliath!
Why in heaven’s name do the Men in White provoke a massive protest against itself when there was hardly a need to do so?
Withdraw online licensing policy, media groups urge Singapore
FOUR independent media organizations in Asia on Friday urged the government of Singapore to withdraw its newly issued “draconian” licensing policy for online news websites, citing measure’s “potential to curtail the rights to the freedom of expression and information online.”
In a joint statement, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), the Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media (SEACeM), and the Think Centre called the new policy “highly regrettable” in light of already “strict controls” that to this day govern the traditional media in Singapore. The statement was issued simultaneously from Bangkok, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore, where the four regional media groups are located.
Singapore is ranked 153 (Not Free) in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press 2013 report and 149th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.
Singapore's Websites Call for Saturday Protest
More than 160 Singaporean websites are calling for concerned citizens to assemble Saturday in Hong Lim Park, the site of the city's Speaker's Corner, to protest stringent new licensing requirements imposed by the Media Development Authority (MDA) on bloggers and other websites last week.
The bloggers closed down their sites Thursday for 24 hours to protest implementation of the new laws
The bloggers have launched a campaign using the Twitter hashtag #FreeMyInternet to spread the word about the campaign. Online commentators have expressed concern over the breadth of the definition of "online news sites," warning that it could sweep in blogs that discuss a wide range of issues, and websites that enable users to discuss online content.
Singapore once had a free press
It wasn’t always this way. The media in Singapore wasn’t always state-controlled. We didn’t always have the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA). Our newspapers were not always run by a behemoth, monopolistic publisher whose key senior appointments are government-approved people and the biggest stakeholders are government-linked.
Our press once comprised a spectrum of independently run newspapers that presented different points of views and different communities—which stood up for what they believed in.
The NPPA, which requires publishers to obtain and renew licenses to publish and controls ownership of publishers, came into being in 1974. Singapore Press Holdings was established only 10 years later, in 1984.
It is not about the Internet alone. We need to free the media as a whole
Singapore has come some way since the days of near absolute information control and a pervasive climate of fear. As a teenager in the 1980s, I remember clearly the oppressive political environment within which alternative voices and opposition politicians were operating. Even when engaging in coffee shop conversation, there was a tendency amongst many of us to speak less audibly when it came to politics (or not at all) or to cast glances at possible undercover ISD officers.
This was especially so in the wake of the arrests and detention of alleged Marxist conspirators in 1987. There were many that believed in the official version. There were many that didn't. But, one thing was for sure. We knew that Big Brother was watching.
From the time that JBJ broke through in the Anson by-election in 1981, there arose a certain excitement and expectation that more alternative voices would enter Parliament. In the years that followed, there was a growing interest in opposition politics and alternative news. Those days, with absolute control of the print media being exercised by the state, there was very little by way of alternative sources. Many of us read in between the lines to make up our minds. Newspapers that appeared to display an independent streak quickly disappeared. I managed to get much of my independant information from foreign publications or books available across the causeway.
FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE REASSURES USERS THAT THEIR INFORMATION IS NOT GIVEN FREELY TO THE GOVERNMENT
America's tech giants continued to deny any knowledge of a giant government surveillance programme called Prism, even as president Barack Obama confirmed the scheme's existence Friday.
In a blogpost titled 'What the…?' Google co-founder Larry Page and chief legal officer David Drummond said the "level of secrecy" around US surveillance procedures was undermining "freedoms we all cherish."
"First, we have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers. Indeed, the US government does not have direct access or a "back door" to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called Prism until yesterday," they wrote.
Human rights group urges Singapore to pull web licensing scheme
An international human rights group has joined calls for the Singapore government to drop a new licensing regime to regulate online news sites.
In a statement posted on its website on Friday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that “the new rules will further discourage independent commentary and reporting on the Internet in Singapore”.
Announced by the Media Development Authority (MDA) on Tuesday last week, the scheme requires online news sites with significant reach and that regularly report on Singapore to apply for individual licences. Under that type of licence, the sites would have to post a S$50,000 "performance bond" and take down objectionable content within 24 hours of being ordered to by the media watchdog.
Internet Code of Conduct
– Breakfast Network: More youth and hopefully, more maturity
– The Grand Moofti Speaks: Another protest rally in Singapore – what else is new?
– Political Writings: The Lost Art of Protest
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: SPH & MediaCorp agree with TOC on crowd size!
– Everything Also Complain: Freedom of speech dying from regulation
– Article 14: It is not about the Internet alone. We need to free the media as a whole.
– Sgpolitics.net: Martyn See’s observations about the Hong Lim rally
– Ravi Philemon: MDA should not have unfettered power to act against citizens
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Limpeh endorsed by URA – WTF?
– Rachel Zeng: #FreeMyInternet – Media statement issued at the end of the protest
– Small steps for Social PR: Stay Calm And Keep On Blogging #FreeMyInternet
– [FB] Lim Jialiang: Be Proud.
– TOC: Free My Internet protest by bloggers draw a crowd at Hong Lim Park
– Yahoo: YOUR VIEW: Can’t ‘checks and balances’ be done moderately?
– Musings From Singapore: #FreeMyInternet: My statement at Hong Lim Park
– DKSG: #FreeMyInternet at Hong Lim Park
– Spotlight on Singapore: Free My Internet: protest at Hong Lim Park Part 2
– Wall Street Journal: Singaporeans Protest New Internet Rules
Pakistan Daily Times - 1 hour ago
SINGAPORE: Around 2,000 Singaporeans led by local bloggers attended a rally Saturday to protest against new government licensing rules for news websites that they say curtail freedom of expression. The peaceful, three-hour rally, held at a free-speech ...
RT - 2 hours ago
In Singapore, up to 2,000 activists lead by local bloggers staged a rally against recently introduced licensing rules for news websites, including breaches of “racial or religious harmony”, which protesters see as an attack on freedom of expression. A crowd with ...
Gulf Today - 1 hour ago
SINGAPORE: About 1,000 Singaporeans rallied on Saturday to protest against a new government policy that requires some news websites to obtain licences and possibly remove offensive content. The policy that took effect this month has triggered criticism ...
CTV News - 6 hours ago
SINGAPORE -- About 1,000 Singaporeans have rallied to protest a new government policy that requires some news websites to obtain licenses. The policy that took effect this month has triggered criticism that authorities in this Southeast Asian city-state are ...
Aljazeera.com - 7 hours ago
A new policy aimed at regulating websites in Singapore has drawn criticism and revived censorship debates. Heather Tan Last Modified: 08 Jun 2013 14:37. Email Article. Print Article. Share article. Send Feedback. More than 1,000 people rallied against the ...
Bangkok Post - 8 hours ago
SINGAPORE — About 1,000 Singaporeans rallied on Saturday against a new government policy that requires some news websites to obtain licences and possibly remove offensive content. The policy that took effect on June 1 has led to criticism that ...
Livemint - 10 hours ago
Protesters walk past a mock gravestone during a protest against new licensing regulations for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore. Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters. Also Read. BJP youth activists clash with police in capital · Singapore breaks into ...
Channel News Asia - 10 hours ago
Some 2,000 Singaporeans led by local bloggers attended a rally at the Speakers' Corner on Saturday to protest against the new licensing regime for local news websites. PHOTOS; VIDEOS. People gather to listen to bloggers making speeches during a rally ...
Ynetnews - 11 hours ago
About 1,000 Singaporeans rallied Saturday to protest a new government policy that requires some news websites to obtain licenses and possibly remove offensive content. The policy that took effect this month has triggered criticism that authorities in this ...
BBC News - Jun 2, 2013
Singapore's government is set to tighten regulations for news websites - a move that has drawn accusations that the authorities are trying to control blogs that post anti-government comments. But press censorship is nothing new, and in countries around the ...
Chicago Tribune - 21 hours ago
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch said on Friday that Singapore is undercutting its status as a financial center by expanding media censorship to the web and urged the city-state's government to withdraw the new licensing requirement for online ...
Times of India - Jun 7, 2013
SINGAPORE: Human Rights Watch urged Singapore to drop new licencing rules for news websites, saying the "onerous" regulations would limit access to independent media. The new rules, which require popular news websites to obtain an annual licence, ...
Register - Jun 6, 2013
Over 130 Singaporean web sites blacked out their home pages yesterday in protest at new government licensing regulations which critics claim will lead to greater online censorship in the city-state. The participating web sites and blogs, which some sources ...
AsiaOne - Jun 6, 2013
Singapore's first online blackout protest officially ended at midnight with many bloggers and website owners returning their sites to normal. The final count of sites that joined the protest against new Media Devolopment Authority (MDA) licensing rules stood at ...
Reuters - Jun 6, 2013
By Eveline Danubrata. SINGAPORE, June 7 | Fri Jun 7, 2013 12:06am EDT. SINGAPORE, June 7 (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch said on Friday that Singapore is undercutting its status as a financial centre by expanding media censorship to the web and ...
AsiaOne - Jun 6, 2013
SINGAPORE - The Government's new licensing framework for news websites is not a "fundamental shift" in policy and is in line with its "light touch" approach to regulating the Internet, said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on June ...
Businessweek - Jun 6, 2013
Singapore's new rules licensing news websites undercuts its status as a financial hub, Human Rights Watch said, urging the city to withdraw regulations it says discourage independent comment. The rules introduced June 1 cast a chill over the city's “robust ...
Straits Times - Jun 6, 2013
More than 150 Singapore websites and blogs blacked out their content yesterday in protest against the Government's controversial new rules for licensing online news sites. Under rules announced by the Media Development Authority (MDA) last week, sites ...
Business Recorder - Jun 6, 2013
Over 130 Singaporean bloggers blacked out their homepages Thursday to protest new licensing rules for news websites they say will muzzle freedom of expression. The 134 participants, including individual bloggers and community-based blogs, replaced ...
Independent Online - Jun 6, 2013
The 134 participants, including individual bloggers and community-based blogs, replaced their homepages with black screens featuring the words '#FreeMyInternet'. Related Stories. Internet proposals spark fierce debate · Iran unblocks Google email · Google ...
Bangkok Post - Jun 5, 2013
SINGAPORE - Over 130 Singaporean bloggers blacked out their homepages Thursday in protest at new licencing rules for news websites they say will muzzle freedom of expression. A person browses through media websites on a computer in Singapore on ...
AsiaOne - Jun 5, 2013
At midnight on Wednesday, over 100 Singaporeans sites and blogs went dark as part of a coordinated protest against the new MDA licensing scheme. RELATED STORIES. MDA: Bloggers not affected by new rules · New MDA licensing scheme for news ...
The Star Online - Jun 5, 2013
Singapore is not the only country tweaking the laws governing traditional and online media, Communications and Information Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday. New Zealand and Britain are also reviewing their regulatory approaches and ...
Straits Times - Jun 5, 2013
A person browses through media websites on a computer in Singapore on May 30, 2013. Yahoo Singapore indicated yesterday that it will comply with a controversial licensing framework for online news sites, though it does not deem the new rules necessary.
Business Times (subscription) - Jun 5, 2013
Yahoo! has gained popularity as an alternative news and opinion source in Singapore, where the mainstream media is widely seen as pro-government - PHOTO: AP. [SINGAPORE] Yahoo! Singapore said on Wednesday that new rules requiring the licensing ...
Times of Oman - Jun 3, 2013
Singapore: Singapore bloggers are planning a rally and an "Internet blackout" this week to protest controversial new rules they say will muzzle freedom of speech, organisers said Monday. A coalition of 34 prominent bloggers called "Free My Internet" will ...
Channel News Asia - Jun 5, 2013
Yahoo! has broken its silence on the new licensing rules for online news sites in Singapore, which kicked in on June 1. The response came in a posting on its webpage by Alan Soon, Yahoo!'s country manager for Singapore and managing editor for ...
ZDNet - Jun 5, 2013
Summary: Singapore government's online licensing rule is too broad and unnecessary when mainstream media, thus far, have given no reason to warrant the need for more regulation. Eileen Yu. By Eileen Yu | June 5, 2013 -- 10:33 GMT (03:33 PDT) ...