Activists tell UN that racial harmony here is a media myth

April 23rd, 2010

Singaporeans For Democracy has told the visiting UN Special Rapporteur on Racism that the situation here is less harmonious than the government makes it out to be. The group, spearheaded by activist James Gomez, said that the lack of freedom of expression was denying citizens the chance to discuss problems openly.

Its 22 April 2010 written submission to the Special Rapporteur Githu Muigai included this section on discussion on race relations:

“The PAP government constrains discussion of race issues by legislation. Instead it uses its access to media to run one sided information campaigns marketing Singapore as a model of racial harmony. In actual fact, the PAP government legislates prohibitions, such as the Sedition Act, against its citizens engaging in any public discourse of race and religion. For example even at Speaker`s Corner public discourse on race and religion are outlawed and “infringements” prosecuted. Additionally, it employs negative campaigning (via the media) against groups and individuals who highlight and raise race related issues. As a result, there is little critical debate and discussion on racism, inter-cultural tension and disaffection in Singapore. Some of this discussion is shifting onto the Internet however it is still not mainstreamed.”

The statement was also signed by Martyn See, Rachel Zeng and Seelan Palay.

For SFD’s full report, click here.

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