Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Media_a defamation lawsuit in Singapore

Just came across the story on "Singapore briefing June 2005" in the UK_based "Economist". I quote it here:

" Defamation lawsuits in Singapore usually involve ruling-party politicians and their opponents. But in May, a government agency used the threat of legal action to force a university student into shutting down his online journal or “blog”. Chen Jiahao, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, apologised for his “Caustic Soda” blog, which criticised Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*star). Mr Jiahao's web journal had gripes about the agency (which had awarded him an academic scholarship) and its chairman. A*star said the student's remarks went “way beyond fair comment”.

The agency's behaviour brought a rebuke from the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which accused A*star of using lawsuits to “chill commentary on the internet”. Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Singapore only one place ahead of Iraq in its worldwide press freedom index, said the case underlined the limits of free _expression in the city-state."

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