The latest announcement from the Government to ban podcasting and videocasting during elections is aimed squarely at the SDP’s efforts to harness the new technology to advance its platform in the upcoming general elections.
The PAP has spared no effort to crush the traditional media and today controls every Singaporean newspaper, TV and radio station.
The Internet has surfaced to challenge the PAP’s grip on information dissemination in Singapore. The Singapore Democrats saw this potential and quickly moved to set up a podcast in August 2005. We will also be using videocasting, or vblogging, to help carry our message to the voters.
However, the PAP has again reared its ugly head of despotism and introduced an unjust law specifically designed to curtail the free flow of information and stymie the SDP’s most effective weapon to reach out to voters.
In 1996, when the SDP produced a video to present its platform and alternative policies, the PAP Government banned the video and amended the Films Act to prohibit future production and dissemination of "political videos”.
Of course, the definition of what constitutes a political video is left entirely up to the PAP. Hence while it bans videos featuring oppositionists such as Mr J B Jeyaretnam and the undersigned, it freely airs programmes lionizing PAP leaders.
The SDP was going to depend heavily on the use of podcasts and vblogs in this election in order to by-pass the state-controlled media that have always played the role of the attack dog against opposition parties, especially the Singapore Democrats.
The latest move by the PAP deals a crushing blow to the SDP’s strategy. The party will consult IT experts to see what can be done to salvage its plans.
We call on Singaporeans and the international community to voice out strongly against such repressive tactics and to allow the people of Singapore to have ready access to information from all political parties contesting in the elections.
By its latest action, it is clear that the PAP is running desperate and taking measures to curtail something that will be beyond its control. The autocrats in the regime still do not understand that at the end of the day they cannot stop the tide of democracy and free information flow from coming ashore.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
(4 Apr 2006)