back to article Singaporean 'net rules rile giants

Facebook, Salesforce, Google, eBay and Yahoo! have put their voices together to criticise Singapore's proposed Internet news and blogging rules. The all-but-authoritarian city-state has been ruled by a single party for fifty years and its largest local businesses maintain close ties to government and the military, which has …


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  1. Old Handle

    Or else what?

    I know Singapore is famous for it's rather... old school punishments, but I'd like to see them try to flog a corporation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or else what?

      Old school punishments? LOL.

      Singapore's reputation as a city with a fine tagged against just about everything you do that's even 1% sinful is long gone and the ruling party certainly has lost its iron grip of the law over the years. Which I actually find quite sad. The laws in Singapore don't seem to have progressed much in the past two decades and as such many white collar crimes carry far lighter sentences than one might expect.

      Take a very recent case of a doctor taking advantage of a wealthy client from a royal family in a neighboring country and charging said client 24,000,000S$. The fine in question was 10,000S$ and a three year suspension. The local news is also perpetually filled to the brim with stories on drunk drivers murdering innocent civilians and getting away with a jail term measured in weeks (and lets not even talk about the pitiful monetary fines which go along with it).

      Yes, some laws such as drug trafficking are tough. Which I respect. They need to be. It does seem however that the ruling party has its priorities in the wrong order though if they are rushing out new laws to suppress media freedom long ahead of putting a stop to the innocent killing of civilians on the roads.

      The government does do an excellent job in many areas...

      ...the law however is no longer one of them.

    2. LarsG

      The more these kind of authoritarian countries use censorship the more likely they are to promote dissent.

  2. Gray Ham

    I doubt the government will notice ...

    Since most regional countries are more-or-less equally bad at media censorship, it is unlikely that Singapore risks losing its reputation as a good place to do business - it has the infrastructure and a reputation of being non-corrupt (however justified that may be).

    The Government probably feels it can safely ignore any protests about these rules.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...from dictators.

  4. Rim_Block

    All those companies apart from Yahoo are owned by either Singapore Press Holdings or MediaCorp.

    Mediacorp are Government owned and SPH have very close ties with the SG Government (Former Chairmen have moved to high / top Government positions). Question is, do the individual sites incur the deposit or the underlying company.

    To get a license to sell DVDs, CDs, VCDs (remember those) and other media, companies also need to pay a bond to stop them selling uncensored / sanctioned material.

    Saying that I have never had any imported DVDs or Blurays stoped and examined (unlike in the UK) and the general rule of thumb is that a blind eye is turned to most minor infractions unless officially reported or political.

    It is, for the most part, safe, clean and I can happily do everything I have wanted to do over the 6 years I have lived here. I have not been arrested, caned or hung even once.... yet.

  5. JaitcH

    What's this "all-but-authoritarian city-state" you are talking about?

    Singapore in just a small version of China, with a guy well past his Best Before date telling the government how to run things. The big difference is Singapore has a good PR department but otherwise it is just as crooked as most any other country.

    Little wonder Singaporeans are emigrating by the thousands - all air, except China's, smells fresher.

    The old bond / deposit trick is a favourite with the Singy government. Singapore is the new 'dirty money' capital of the world that Switzerland used to be.

    All domestic interNet connections are monitored and many web sites cannot be accessed.

    Singapore is good, only, for making money. The Vietnamese owner of the office building in Ho Chi Minh City, who has a work permit for Singapore, where my company rents some space, always seems to be in back home.

    When I asked him why he spent so much time here when he lives in Singapore, he replied: "I come back to VietNam to enjoy the freedom!"

  6. h3

    Read William Gibson's none fiction work on Singapore.

    From what I know it is fairly close to what it is actually like.

    (My Cousin works there quite a bit. I knew someone at university whose father was British who because of that got out of conscription which other people have to do).

    If you are high up in the corporations I think it is quite good to be there. (There really is two sets of rules).

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