Sunday, July 09, 2006

No freedom after speech when power is concentrated in one party

Media Release: Stop harassing Mr Brown and let him speak freely
Singapore Democratic Party
9 Jul 06

The worst of the PAP’s pubescent mind has surfaced yet again with the latest silencing of Mr Lee Kin Mun and the removal of his newspaper column. It is an act worthy of a regime insecure and untrusting of its own citizens.

It is confirmation, as if more is needed, that the PAP governs from a political fortress isolated and under siege. It dictates that criticism and dissenting views are unwelcome, and moves swiftly to eradicate them. The arbitrariness and top-down-we-couldn’t-care-less-how-the-people-feel approach is wielded with increasing frequency.

The treatment of Mr Lee aka Mr Brown is not unlike that of Dr Catherine Lim in years past. This is testimony to the fact that under the PAP – whether it is Mr Lee Kuan Yew or Mr Goh Chok Tong or Mr Lee Hsien Loong as prime minister – the wrapper may change but the package remains decidedly antiquated.

Dr Vivian Balakrishman then fans the flame by saying that "if someone says something which we disagree with, we will say so. If someone says something which is unhelpful we have a right to say it is unhelpful.” The minister ignores the fact that citizens, in whatever capacities, have just as much right to tell the Government what we disagree with and find unhelpful about policies that affect our lives.

Such disagreements between the governors and those governed are bound to exist. The attendant debate and their resolutions must, however, be carried out in an open manner through the mass media – not shut down with Communist-like excuses that no one understands, much less believes.

The Singapore Democrats call on the Government to stop harassing Mr Lee Kin Mun and to restore his rights as a citizen to freely express his views. It goes without saying that this can only be done if the PAP desists in its unconstitutional control of the media.

The PAP needs to catch up in its development with the rest of the Singapore.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party

This news report by the other government mouthpiece, Channel News Asia, is a classic study as to how a former critic of the PAP government ends-up falling hook, line & sinker for the ruling party by joining the party, imbibing the party bullshit while being a Minister, among other things.

Mainstream media has role in ensuring quality of debate: Dr Balakrishnan
By S Ramesh,
Channel NewsAsia

July 8, 2006

Singapore's mainstream media has a crucial role in ensuring the quality and standard of discourse and national debate, says Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

And he says as long as everybody understood their respective roles and respected each other, Singaporeans can have a useful dialogue going forward.

Dr Balakrishnan made these remarks when asked to comment on reactions by the foreign media to a recent decision by MediaCorp's TODAY newspaper to stop publishing a column by "Mr Brown" who was one of its regular columnists.

A recent article by the columnist about the cost of living in Singapore had drawn a sharp rebuttal from a government spokesperson.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "I am not at all concerned at all about what the foreign media thinks. We are not here to fulfil their agenda. Let me put it to you this way. We are all entitled to express our opinions.

"But we also have to be accountable for our opinions and to be prepared from time to time to stand by them or be called to answer them and from time to time to be rebutted. So I see this as part and parcel of the consistent position which the government and people of Singapore have taken."

He added that what is important for Singaporeans, particularly on serious issues, is to have an honest constructive debate with no extraneous agendas involved.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "If you feel there is a problem with cost of living, say so, let's collectively explore solutions. But don't in the name of humour distort or aggravate on an emotional level. That sort of discourse does not generate solutions. It generates more heat than light.

"So we should put this in its proper context. If someone says something which we disagree with, we will say so. If someone says something which is unhelpful we have a right to say it is unhelpful. We have a right to remind everyone that at the end of the day, this is not a fight.

"We are in search of solutions and by working together and by engaging in an honest constructive dialogue we can do so and we want our newspapers to be a part of that process and also to be aware that, the mainstream media in particular. You are not an internet chat room." - CNA/ch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, while you are there, do watch The Decider clip....