Why the rationale for the rules on internet broadcasting are not convincing Part II
The previous post was a draft letter to the Straits Times and Today. I shall further explain my viewpoint.
Generally, if we ever need to advance rules against freedom of speech ( as Germany does with Nazi symbols and salutes- doing the Hitler salute in Germany can land you in a couple of years of jail!), the position we need to start from is that the benefits and necessity of freedom of speech are so overwhelming, that the reasons needed to control it need to be strongly compelling, and that the measures taken be no more than neccessary.
Mad right wing punditry is one thing. Having press laws that would place me in possible criminal liability if I go ahead to strongly criticise either only the PAP's election manifesto or only the Worker's Party election manifesto between now and May 6th is another. For that might be construed as "party campaigning"!
It also makes
No wonder this election will inevitably see in Sembawang GRC, an automatic 25% of the vote for the SDP simply because no one during this period ( apart from PAP candidates of course) can criticise the SDP for its unneccessary and unhealthy advocacy of "martyrdom" politics. Conversely, there will probably be many voters in that contested GRC who may be under the illusion that the job of a member of parliament is nothing more than being a glorified city councillor. Not being able to publish critical reasoning on the issues has a detrimental effect.
Take for example this whole quibble about whether
So there are real problems with these slew of restrictions on internet publication. You throw out intellegent commentary together with rubbishy commentary. Is that really what we want? Worse, what is available for legal publication is to my mind, often very insipid. And so we continue to get stupid letters from writers like Raymond Ng being published in our most respectable national newspaper. To show you how silly these letters can get, I am reproducing Raymond's letter in full below. As someone who is currently pursuing a university degree in
TV forum with MM Lee shows English-educated S'poreans are westernised, lack Asian values. Fix the school curriculum
I refer to the recent televised forum with Minister
When you remove all
There are several conclusions we can draw from this forum.
Firstly, some of our young, especially the English-educated, are not just modernised but also westernised. They lack knowledge of Asian values which older people acquire as they get older and wiser.
Like our children, most of them do not understand their parents, take everything for granted and rebel when they get nagged. Most of them get over this phase when they grow up and settle down with children of their own.
Secondly, no matter how mature a society is, especially a diverse one like
I think the present government's policies are already in place insofar as the
Chinese culture with strong Asian values are inherent in the Chinese language itself. In my opinion, most of the Chinese-educated are more likely to have a stronger feel of Asian values.
Raymond Ng Chay Boon
There are many things that are very, very wrong with this letter. I will just deal with two issues. Firstly the whole notion that there exists a set of values called "asian" values. As opposed to what? Decadent western notions of freedom and liberty? African values? Suffice it to say it is a very debatable point.
One might even say that Mr Ng has painted a completely misleading picture of many societies where there there is a bias towards individual freedom. In my stay in
Indeed there are animal rights protesters making a lot of noise in the middle of my university town every week and guess what Mr Ng? Most people's lives are not really affected!
This is not to say that Europe does not have its problems- it was somewhat eerie and depressing to observe a depopulating east German town like
The point still stands however, that letters published in the Straits Times are not necessarily the font of wisdom. As already has been demonstrated, the opinions expressed in the above letter are the font of stupidity. In
I will end by concluding the following:
1- The current rules as they stand totally deter
2- What sort of action am I advocating? One thing that is clear is that I don't approve of breaking the law. What I am approving, and it is the only thing that I am affirmitively approving in my two posts, is for members of parliament passing a bill in parliament to CHANGE THE LAW in a constitutionally approved manner i.e. in a session in parliament.
3- As I have already explained, I think the reasons that are given for the law are on the first level, not convincing enough on their own grounds to curtail freedom of speech. Even if one agrees that some level of control is desirable, the general scaring off of all political comment whatsoever DOES show that the effect of such laws has been disproportionate to the aims that it is trying to achieve.
My name is Koh Jie Kai. Don't tell me I'm hiding behind the anonymity of the internet to "mislead the public". The public can jolly well make up its own mind as to whether I am making sense or not.