Thursday, 24 March 2016

Former TRS editor jailed 10 months for sedition

Update 22 April 2016: RSF - Singapore Press Freedom worsen to 154th because of TRS and Roy Ngerng


Reporters without Borders (RSF) yesterday (April 22) published a damning report on Singapore’s press freedom with specific reference to the political persecution of The Real Singapore and defamation suit against Roy Ngerng. RSF lambaste Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Devlopment Authority (MDA), and the country’s oppressive censorship laws for repressing journalism in Singapore. You may view the official statement here.

“The Media Development Authority Act, the Films Act and the Broadcasting Act empower the Media Development Authority (MDA) to censor journalistic content, including online content. In April 2015, this government agency ordered the closure of The Real Singapore (TRS) news website because of content regarded as overly critical. Two of its alleged contributors were accused of “sedition,” which is punishable by 21 years in prison. Defamation suits are common in the city-state and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has personally brought prosecutions against bloggers.”

Earlier this year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was awarded S$150,000 in damages for a defamation lawsuit he won in a default judgment against an online blogger who criticised him and his wife for conflict of interests. Lee Hsien Loong is both the Prime Minister and Chairman of the country’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) company, GIC Pte Ltd. His wife, Ho Ching, is the CEO of Singapore’s other SWF company, Temasek Holdings. The two SWF companies borrow the country’s CPF fund at cheap interest rates as low as 2.5% under legislation approved by the Prime Minister himself, while reaping undisclosed profits from their investment returns.


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TRS co-founder begins 8-month jail sentence
The Real Singapore co-founder Yang Kaiheng arriving at the State Courts yesterday morning to serve his sentence. He was given eight months for sedition.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The co-founder of socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS), Yang Kaiheng, began his jail term yesterday.

Yang, who was unaccompanied, surrendered himself at the State Courts at about 10:15am.

The 27-yr-old, who started the now-defunct TRS with his wife Ai Takagi, 23, was sentenced to 8 months in jail last Tuesday for deliberately sowing discord between Singaporeans and foreigners through a series of online articles.


Ai Takagi, who is 8 weeks pregnant, jailed 10 months for sedition

Ai Takagi, the editor of The Real Singapore (TRS) website, was sentenced to 10 months’ jail on Wednesday (March 23) on four charges of publishing seditious articles which had the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Singapore.

Before she was sentenced, the 23-year-old, who is eight weeks pregnant, apologised to the people of Singapore for the harm she had caused by posting content to her website.

Takagi, an Australian of Japanese descent, said she was not fully aware of the level of sensitivity needed when dealing with topics related to racial and religious issues here.

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Pregnant convicted Australian has no regrets

An eight-weeks pregnant Australian woman sentenced to jail in Singapore for publishing seditious articles says she doesn't regret setting up her website The Real Singapore that attracted 134 million page views in nine months.

"Regret would be the wrong word", 23-year-old Ai Takagi told Fairfax Media shortly before she was sentenced to 10 months jail, the stiffest ever sentence imposed in the city-state.

"If I could have, I would have liked to have a bit more editing of content to avoid risks", she said. "It would have probably made everything easier but in terms of setting up a website where people can air their grievances, I don't think there is anything wrong with that still."

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Singapore jails Australian for provoking anti-foreign hatred

A Singapore court has sentenced an Australian woman to 10 months in jail after finding her guilty of provoking hatred of foreigners in the city-state by posting fictitious accounts of obnoxious visitors on her website.

Law student Ai Takagi's sentence is the harshest ever imposed under the Sedition Act, used to deter inhabitants from promoting hostility in the multicultural nation. Before her sentencing Wednesday, she had pleaded guilty to four counts of sedition and apologized to Singapore's people.

A representative of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade expressed regret Thursday over the sentence and said Takagi, an Australian of Japanese descent who is eight weeks' pregnant, will continue to receive consular assistance, Channel NewsAsia reported.

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DFAT breaks silence on Singapore's sedition case against Australian

The Turnbull government has criticised Singapore's jailing of eight weeks pregnant Australian publisher Ai Takagi for publishing seditious articles as the 23-year-old defended her hugely popular website The Real Singapore.

"We regret that Ms Takagi was given a custodial sentence, given she is young, pregnant and had issued an apology," a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a rare comment on a judicial case in another country, except in matters involving a possible death sentence.

The statement came as Takagi, who has been sentenced to 10 months' jail, told Fairfax Media the website that attracted 134 million page views over nine months allowed Singaporeans to share their views.

related:
Pregnant Australian sentenced for sedition
Convicted Australian has no regrets

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Australian student Ai Takagi sentenced to jail in Singapore for sedition

An Australian website editor facing 10 months in a Singaporean jail after being convicted of sedition is resigned to her fate but stands by her actions.

Former University of Queensland student Ai Takagi faced a sentencing hearing on Wednesday morning over four charges of sedition, stemming from a website she ran. She described the charges as "a bit political".

That site, the mostly crowd-sourced The Real Singapore, was shut down in May last year after Takagi published four articles likely to "promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different groups of people in Singapore".

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Former TRS editor Ai Takagi jailed 10 months for sedition

Australian Ai Takagi, the former editor of The Real Singapore (TRS) website, was jailed 10 months on four charges under the Sedition Act on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old had been charged with seven counts of sedition for articles published on TRS between October 2013 and February last year, which were alleged to have promoted ill will and hostility between different races or classes in Singapore.

Facts about how she ran the news portal as an owner and chief editor emerged in court two weeks ago, as she pleaded guilty to four of the seven counts.


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Former TRS Editor Expected to Plead Guilty to Sedition; Husband to Claim Trial

One of the two editors behind the now-defunct sociopolitical website The Real Singapore (TRS) has indicated that she will plead guilty to all her eight charges, which include seven charges under the Sedition Act.

Ai Takagi, 23, indicated her intention to plead guilty in court on Monday (March 7) at the start of the trial for the duo. But her husband Yang Kaiheng, 27, is still claiming trial, maintaining that he was not involved in the distribution and proprietorship of TRS.

The seven charges they each face under the Sedition Act involve seven articles the prosecution called “particularly egregious”. They include one article, published on Feb 4 last year, which claimed that a Filipino family had caused an incident between the police and Thaipusam participants after the family complained about the playing of musical instruments during a Thaipusam procession.

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Full Coverage:
Australia 'regrets' TRS website editor Ai Takagi's jail term
Ai Takagi: DFAT breaks silence on Spore's sedition case against Australian
She peddled hate out of sheer greed
Former TRS editor Ai Takagi sentenced to 10 months' jail for sedition
The Real Singapore's former editor Ai Takagi sentenced to 10-months jail
Ex-TRS editor jailed for demonising foreigners
Ai Takagi sentenced to 10 months' jail for sedition
Singapore jails Australian for provoking anti-foreign hatred
Singapore jails Australian journalist Ai Takagi for 10 months for sedition
Pregnant convicted Australian has no regrets
Australian Woman Jailed in Singapore for Publishing Fake Stories Online
Australian woman jailed for sedition in Singapore over fake news stories
Australian jailed in Singpore for sedition over website
Australian student Ai Takagi sentenced to jail in Singapore for sedition
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ai takagi Archives - The Middle Ground

Couple behind The Real Singapore charged with sedition
The duo behind The Real Singapore, Ai Takagi (right) and Yang Kaiheng (left) arriving at court on Apr 14, 2015. Photo: Wee Teck Hian

About two months after they were arrested, a couple behind website The Real Singapore were today (April 14) charged with sedition for publishing content that could incite hostility between Singaporeans and foreigners.

In addition to the sedition charges, the couple also face one charge each under the Penal Code for not producing accounts and bank statements for mobile and online advertisements to the police.

Among the seven charges they each face under the Sedition Act, Singaporean Yang Kaiheng, 26, and Australian Ai Takagi, 22, were accused of falsely asserting in an article and Facebook post on Feb 4 that a Filipino family had caused an incident between the police and Thaipusam participants, by complaining about the playing of musical instruments during a Thaipusam procession. The other charges related to articles published between Oct 2013 and last year that could incite ill-will and hostility between various groups in Singapore, according to court documents.

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