Monday, January 24, 2011

Looks like governments are the same all over the world - big crybabies

Singapore political blog site The Online Citizen (TOC) had its wings clipped by the Singapore government after being reclassified ("gazetted") as a "political website" and therefore subject to "rules that govern other (normal) political organisations—like parties". The Economist reports in its AsiaView blog site.
Under the Political Donations Act, TOC will be subject to a cap of 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,900) in accepting anonymous donations and banned outright from receiving funds from foreign donors. The government’s registry of political donations has already asked TOC to identify clearly all its owners, journalists and anyone else associated with the site. It was given two weeks to comply. And this is but one of the new rules to which the site will be subject. No specific reasons have been given for why the government wants to take this action, and at this particular moment in time. All the government has said, through its registry of political donations, is that “As a website that provides coverage and analysis of political issues, TOC has the potential to influence the opinions of their readership and shape political outcomes in Singapore. It has been gazetted to ensure that it is not funded by foreign elements or sources.”

Though often critical of the Singapore Government, TOC owners claim that they do not engage in "partisan politics" and merely tries to live up to encouragement coming from the Government that Singaporeans be more "unconventional" and "spontaneous".

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