Singapore

Singapore parliament passes ‘Online Falsehoods Bill’ despite civil society concerns

The ‘Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill’ to combat fake news was submitted to parliament in April 2019 and has been tabled for a second reading in May despite concerns it could stifle freedom of expression. Activist Jolovan Wham was sentenced to a fine or days in prison, in February 2019 for organising an ‘illegal assembly’ and for contempt of court in April 2019. Singapore has remained ranked at a dismal 151st spot out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index released in April 2019 Read more

Singapore parliament passes ‘Online Falsehoods Bill’ despite civil society concerns

Increasing use of judicial system in Singapore to silence critics

In January 2019, Jolovan Wham, a human rights defender was found guilty by the Singapore District Court for organising an ‘illegal assembly without a police permit’ in violation of the Public Order Act, and for refusing to sign a police statement Read more

Increasing use of judicial system in Singapore to silence critics

Singapore cracks down on critical news websites to silence dissent

In November 2018, Singapore blocked a critical news website and is investigating another on charges of defamation. Read more

Singapore cracks down on critical news websites to silence dissent

Fake news law proposal, another tool to crackdown on critics

In September 2018, a parliamentary Select Committee on” deliberate online falsehoods” made 22 recommendations to halt the viral spread of fake news including the adoption of laws Read more

Fake news law proposal, another tool to crackdown on critics

Singapore Public Order Act used to restrict or criminalise expression and peaceful assembly

Civil society groups believe the Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Act 2018 passed by the Parliament in March 2018 poses an additional threat to fundamental freedoms in Singapore. Read more

Singapore Public Order Act used to restrict or criminalise expression and peaceful assembly

Prosecution of activist Jolovan Wham reinforces climate of intimidation against dissent

Human rights activist Jolovan Wham was charged by the authorities in November 2017 for his involvement in several peaceful protests. There are concerns about a proposed bill to curb 'fake news' that could be used to further regulate and curtail online space. Read more

Prosecution of activist Jolovan Wham reinforces climate of intimidation against dissent

Expression

All traditional media are owned by companies linked to the government, and are seen as biased towards the ruling party, particularly around elections. Read more


Peaceful Assembly

While the Constitution appears to guarantee the freedom of assembly, in practice the state keeps a tight grip on public gatherings, which require police permission. Read more


Association

Constitutional provisions on the freedom of association are undermined, and the autonomy of civil society is limited, with no ability for registered CSOs to comment on issues that are deemed political, and peak bodies such as the National Trades Union Congress effectively co-opted by the state. Read more


Singapore-Overview

Civil society in Singapore operates in a constrained, tightly-regulated environment in which economic development is prioritised above all else, the ruling party and state are closely entwined and there is little state tolerance of the expression of dissent. Read more