This is a diary of the case in which the Attorney-General’s Chambers accused me of “scandalising the judiciary”, to make it easier for friends to follow what’s going on. As with court cases, the technical details can sometimes be hard to grasp; I will try to make it digestible here. Since this has a diary format, from time to time, I will be adding to this, unlike other essays on this site which generally are finished by publication date. Continue reading ‘AGC versus me, the 2013 round’
Archive for the 'media' Category
A year ago on 26 November 2012, around 170 bus drivers for SMRT, a public transport company, refused to report for duty. This eventually led to new censorship rules restricting online news platforms hurriedly introduced in June 2013.
It was a friend (I am not sure if he wants to be named) who suggested this cause-effect relationship a little while back. The more I think about it, the more I think he is right. Continue reading ‘From bus drivers’ strike to the Yahoo Licence Rules’
Over the Deepavali weekend, nineteen (according to Yahoo) websites of government departments were offline. These included the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore Police Force. “Scheduled maintenance” was the cryptic official explanation though no one reported seeing any prior notice. Deepavali (also known as Diwali) is a major Hindu festival. Considering that a significant number of IT engineers are of Indian ancestry, it seemed a strange choice to pick this particular weekend to do IT work, and to “maintain” 19 government websites simultaneously.
Maybe the Stompers best represent our beating heart. There was a passing mention in a Facebook post that 87% were happy with the hacking of Straits Times’ blog website. Schadenfreude is a totally legitimate emotion.
“Stompers” is the name we give to mostly anonymous readers and contributors to the Straits Times wild wild west site Stomp where digital natives can post anything they think newsworthy — mostly pictures and videos of bad behaviour, overflowing drains and women with cleavages.
Today newspaper’s story about the prosecution of the officer behind NParks’ Brompton folding bikes purchase merely hinted at the origins to the case. It said that there had been “questions over whether the agency got value for its purchases.” By comparison, the news story carried more words about National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan ordering an audit last year, and how the ministry “said it had uncovered some discrepancies suggesting the possibility of bias in the procurement”.
Reading it, I became concerned that the real history of the case was being erased in preference to a new version that gave more credit to Khaw’s alertness and intervention and to the ministry’s internal rigour, than was deserved. Continue reading ‘Brompton bikes, before the real story gets erased’
I discontinued my online subscription to the Straits Times earlier this year. The habit wasn’t easy to break. At first I found myself buying the print version about twice a week. Weekends, I often bought the Sunday Times — mostly for its Sudoku and two or three comic strips that I liked (most I didn’t). But lately, I’ve gone for perhaps two months without missing it.
Then a few weeks ago, I happened to leaf through a copy of the Sunday Times at a cafe and discovered that they had halved the Sunday comic strips. Sherman’s Lagoon was gone.
Well, that’s that, then.
Several Facebook ‘friends’ recently shared a news article from the Straits Times, with comments along the lines of “Here we go again, a minister scolds citizens for criticising the PAP government and not helping them out”.
Following the link, I was led to a fairly prominent article which reported a speech made by Tan Chuan-jin to his own civil servants at the Ministry of Manpower:
Singaporeans who are not happy with the country should try to improve things instead of running down the country, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said on Monday. Continue reading ‘Did Straits Times misreport Tan Chuan-jin?’
The People’s Action Party government has essentially given up on engagement. This change of tack is becoming clearer by the week as more and more instances arise where ministers and members of parliament go out to bash citizens trying to raise issues or comment on current affairs. Staircase railings, face masks and who-knows-what small thing emerging tomorrow are considered serious enough issues to roll out the government’s big guns.
The impression one gets from recent events is that they have concluded that engagement is a “been there, done that and it’s brought us nothing but grief”. Continue reading ‘Re-introducing the climate of fear’
A few days ago, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) issued a letter of warning to filmmaker Lynn Lee for “having committed contempt of court”. It asserted that two video clips released by her, featuring interviews with former bus drivers He Junling and Liu Xiangying, “amounted to contempt of court by creating a real risk of prejudice to criminal proceedings which were pending then”. Choo Zheng Xi and Andrew Loh, writing respectively at The Online Citizen and Andrewloh.com, have criticised this move by the AGC, albeit from slightly different angles. Both however are concerned that this represents a usurpation of judicial power by an executive branch.
I can imagine a retort that the AGC’s warning is just that: ”rather than proceedings in Court to commit Ms Lee for contempt of court” (words from the AGC’s statement), it is a warning that prosecution will occur if she repeated her act. That said, the opening sentence in the statement itself — “for having committed” — would undermine such a rebuttal; it sounds like passing judgement. Amazing how AGC lawyers can’t even write clearly! Continue reading ‘Home Affairs hits out at filmmaker for ‘contempt of court’’
Channel NewsAsia quoted Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim saying: ”It’s about making sure that our regulatory framework is consistent — that’s the most important thing. At the moment, whether we like it or not, Singaporeans are receiving news both from mainstream media and online sites.
“Our mainstream media are subjected to rules, you know… Why shouldn’t the online media be part of that regulatory framework? Continue reading ‘Parity’s a good idea’