Monday, October 11, 2010

Stop the harrassment of Dr Joseph Ong

Having previously worked with Fung Chee Yuen of Singapore Enquirer and briefly with Eugene Yeo of Temasek Review, I can't help but feel this crack down on Joseph Ong is a tad bit vindictive (as evident in the personal attacks on the forums).

To be honest, I too was never sure who i was dealing with in Wayang Party, SG Enquirer or Temasek review, but it did not matter to me then and now. I never met them face-to-face so for all i know, Dr Joseph Ong could be all of them.... heck, he could even be Santa Claus. But i knew his anonymity allowed him to do and say many things.

To this i end with an article from SDP voicing support for Temasek Review and Dr Joseph Ong.

SDP: Stop harrassment of Temasek Review
Sunday, 10 October 2010

Singapore Democrats

The report in The New Paper (TNP) about the Temasek Review and Dr Joseph Ong Chor Teck is a desperate attempt by the authorities to shut down the popular website and to curb growing dissent on the Internet.

Temasek Revew, or TR, has been gaining traction among netizens who find the website a channel for them to bring up issues and discussions that would otherwise not see print or broadcast in the state controlled media. The portal has in the recent past become a centre for breaking news in the socio-political sphere to the extent that the mass media has been forced to cover sensitive stories.

It also carries analyses and opinion pieces of writers who remain largely anonymous. This anonymity allows a wide range of articles to be published which are crtitical of the ruling regime, often focusing on matters that are embarrassing for members of the PAP and the cabinet.

Obviously, the Goverment is beginning to feel the heat of the growing discontent of Singaporeans who are turning to the Internet for news and bypassing the traditional media. Theouting of Dr Ong is the PAP's way of curbing online dissent. The leaking of the information and the front-page story run by TNP is a clear sign of nervousness of the ruling party.

The move must be seen in the light of the coming general elections where more Singapreans are expected to turn to cyberspace for the "other side" of the story.

The newspaper also revealed that Dr Ong has been questioned by the police for posting up unflattering flyers of PAP MP Lee Bee Wah who had attracted much scorn from the Internet community for her involvement and remarks over the Singapore Table-Tennis Association saga a few months ago. TR says that Dr Ong is not part of its editorial team.

The Internet is the latest and boldest frontier which Singaporeans are using to resist the authoritarian control of the PAP. The ruling clique is busily trying to figure out how to contain the growing influence of e-samizdat. The police questioning of Dr Ong and leaking of the information to the press is but the latest sign of the Goverment's effort.

Given the nature of the beast the PAP will not succeed in stopping discussion of issues on the Internet. The hydra-like qualities of the technology, coupled with the increasing frustration of Singaporeans in wanting to see a transaparent and accountable government, will see more pro-democracy portals be set up. For every TR the authorities manage to close down, ten more will emerge.

In this day and age where free speech is crucial to progress, suppression of free and open debate in cyberspace must be resisted.

To this end, the Singapore Democrats call on the authorities to leave Dr Ong and TR alone regardless of whether they are related or not.

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