Declan McCullagh on Sat, 20 Jul 96 05:18 MDT

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

nettime: Singapore officials censor U.S. newgroup posting

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 1996 13:00:31 -0500
From: Declan McCullagh <>
Subject: Singapore officials censor U.S. newgroup posting

This move by Singapore to censor a newsgroup posting is a good example of
the overbreadth of government censorship. It's a bait-and-switch maneuver:
say you're going after porn but censor "offensive" speech.

Of course, this gives the lie to the Singapore government's assertion
that "we are not censoring discussion groups."

Some excerpts from the recent regulations requiring the registration of
political or social groups: "Political and religious organisations are free to
conduct discussions provided they guard against breaking the law or
disrupting social harmony.

The regulations ban contents that "tend to bring the Government into hatred
or contempt," are "pornographic," or "depict or propagate sexual
perversions such as homosexuality, lesbianism, and paedophilia."

I have more information on the regulations at:



Singapore Internet Regulators Take First Action, Censor Posting

July 19, 1996
AP-Dow Jones News Service

SINGAPORE -- In its first action since assuming powers this week to
police the Internet, the Singapore Broadcasting Authority has yanked
off a newsgroup's posting that criticized some lawyers, a newspaper
reported Friday.

The SBA acted on a complaint by an unidentified law firm, which said
the contents of the anonymous posting defamed some of its lawyers in
Singapore, according to a report in the Straits Times newspaper Friday.

The newspaper said the posting on the newsgroup was apparently made by
a disgruntled client who claimed he lost a case even though his lawyers
told him he could win it. The client also questioned the ability of the
lawyers who belongs to one of the oldest firms in Singapore, the
Straits Times said.

Under new SBA regulations that came into effect Monday, the government
agency has the power to ask Internet service providers to remove
material that it considers objectionable. A government-appointed panel
of prominent citizens decides what is objectionable.

The Straits Times said the posting is believed to have been made from
the U.S., which means the SBA, in keeping with its own rules, will not
be able to take action against the offender.

The SBA says its rules are mainly directed against pornography,
anti-government or seditious views, racially motivated slurs and
articles that could inflame religious passions.

Since Monday, Internet providers, political parties that maintain Web
sites, groups and individuals who run discussion sites on politics and
religion, and on-line newspapers are deemed to have become
automatically licensed. This means refusal to follow the SBA rules will
result in fines. The amounts are yet to be determined.


*  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
*  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
*  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
*  more info: and "info nettime" in the msg body
*  URL:  contact: