Friday, September 29, 2006

PAP govt bans FEER; FEER responds

Here's a statement from Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) in response to the news that the PAP government has banned FEER from being sold or distributed in Singapore...........

Statement of the Far Eastern Economic Review
September 28, 2006

The Singaporean government today announced that it has banned the Far Eastern Economic Review from the country. It has explicitly warned that not only is the Review Publishing Company forbidden from importing or distributing the Hong Kong-based monthly, but Singaporeans will also commit a criminal offense if they import or reproduce the magazine for distribution.

In its September issue, the Review urged the Singaporean government to reconsider its decision to impose punitive regulations on the Review. These retroactive regulations furthered the interests of individual members of the government and harmed the magazine financially, but were never justified by the government under the applicable law. Today’s statement shows that the government has refused to reconsider its repressive approach toward the media.

We regret that this action infringes on the fundamental rights of our Singaporean subscribers and further restricts the already narrow scope of free expression in Singapore. The Review will publish a more complete response to the government’s actions in the next issue of the magazine to appear on October 6.
Do read my earlier posts regarding the PAP govt's hit job on FEER:

Pathetic LEEs are at it again - Target FEER

PAP takes aim at FEER after it publishes article on Chee Soon Juan & S'pore
politics

"A colour revolution for Singapore" - FEER talks to Chee Soon Juan (The real reason behind the ban on FEER)

Singapore bans Far Eastern Economic Review magazine

by Sara Webb

SINGAPORE, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Singapore's government said on Thursday that it had banned the sale and distribution of the Far Eastern Economic Review, a monthly magazine owned by Dow Jones & Co. , as it failed to comply with its press regulations.

On Aug. 3 the government ordered five foreign publications -- the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), Time, Newsweek, Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune -- to post bonds of S$200,000 ($126,000) and appoint representatives in Singapore.

Later in August, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, both filed defamation suits against FEER's publisher and editor over an article that it published in July about opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, according to court documents.

The Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Arts said in a statement on Thursday that it had revoked its approval for FEER's sale and distribution in Singapore because the magazine had failed to comply with the government's conditions.

"It is a privilege and not a right for foreign newspapers to circulate in Singapore," the ministry said, adding that it was now an offence for any person to sell or distribute, import, or subscribe to the Far Eastern Economic Review.

The Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review said it was unaware of Singapore's decision.

Singapore's leaders have won hefty damages in the past from media groups including the Economist, the International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg and FinanceAsia.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Singapore 140th out of 167 countries for press freedom, slammed the government's decision in August to issue restrictions for the five foreign publications.

"The authorities are looking for effective ways, including fear of prosecution and heavy fines, to intimidate these publications into censoring themselves," the media watchdog said at the time, as the S$200,000 bonds would serve as security in any future government lawsuit for alleged defamation.

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