Singapore's Stand On Press Freedom

Singapore's Stand On Press Freedom

Who: Law Minister Mr. K Shanmugam 

When: October 2009 

Where: New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) 

What: Speech on Press Freedom 

Key Issues:

  • Surveys that ranked Singapore low on press freedom 
  • Do these surveys truly provide an objective assessment – Comparing Singapore to 3rd World countries with rampant crime 
  • Pervasive feeling that the Singapore Government is out to silence the press  
  • No / Limited Freedom of Speech 

Singapore Government’s Stand on Press Freedom:

  • The press can criticise the government and government policies
  • Government has no problem with tough debate and criticism of policies
  • But the government demands the Right of Response
  • To be published in the Journal that published the original article
  • Government doesn’t accept if Publisher refuses to publish the Right of Response
  • The debate must avoid untrue statements and scurrilous personal attacks
  • Untrue statements will be draw a suit / Government will sue
  • It is possible to be critical without allegations of corruption or personal attacks 

Difference between International Press Freedom & Singapore Press Freedom:

  • True Editorial Independence – The Editor shouldn’t be forced to publish the Right of Response, they should have the ability to choose if they want to publish or not