Foreign journalist slams Singapore’s soft repression and self censorship

November 24th, 2009

BEN BLAND on his year-long sojourn in Singapore:

While the governments of Burma, China and Iran tend to arrest troublesome foreign reporters or expel them without delay, Singapore’s more media-savvy government prefers a subtler approach to repression. The non-renewal of a work visa is their preferred method for getting rid of foreigners with minimal fuss or attention. Last month, after applying to renew my visa following a successful year in Singapore, I received a one-line letter informing me that my application had been rejected.

Some news organisations are put off by the government’s bipolar approach to the media. But many are still attracted by the well-developed infrastructure, good transport connections and generous tax breaks and other financial inducements offered by Singapore’s inward investment agency. It is a great testament to the unique brand of soft authoritarianism honed by Lee Kuan Yew and his People’s Action Party that they are able to convince so many journalists and media organisations to slip into voluntary restraints.

For the full article at Asia Sentinal, click here.

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