NETIZENS UNDER THREAT: BLOGGER MAY BE INCARCERATED FOR ANTI-JESUS CARTOONSDuring the Singapore General Elections of 2006, one of the major issues with regards to political coverage was the prevalence of the internet community: i.e Forummers, bloggers and an assortment of netizens, who may or may not be responsible for the ruling incumbent's (PAP) decrease in its share of votes.
There was talk, chief of all from Straits Times (a media vehicle of Singapore Holdings), that rules and regulations existed which would imply some form of governance on political postings on the net, but fortunately for most (especially bonafide anti-PAPpies like me), we were largely left to our own devices, although I was actually approached via email for an interview, which I did not grant, to an SP reporter (For those of you who wish to know why, email me).
Inevitably, however, our conservative powers-that-be, led by some mentally-challenged minister, couldn't find solace with that kind of freedom. You see, folks, freedom is contagious, and highly toxic, in the eyes of oppressive government.
45 yrs of authoritarian rule has left a indelible mark of sorts in our history books. A single-party government, so dominant that it takes 87 out of 89 seats in parliament (Minus the NMPs), a spick-and-span nation, a nation that seems to achieve the upper echelons of perfection in the eyes of a deluded populace (i.e pro-government Singaporeans).
And to achieve that, we have sacrificed a huge part of our freedoms. Even in the age of the internet, freedom of speech has to be regulated, via a host of strangely archaic, vague rules that seems more at home with regimes such as Burma (military rule), China (authoritarian communism), and to a certain extent, the Bush Administration (i.e not the entire United States, since they haven't exactly overwrite the US Constitution yet, but they are getting close), chief of which are "The Internal Security Act" and "The Sedition Act".
And so, once again, to remind Singaporeans that one cannot hide behind the anonymity of a blogger nickname, a Singaporean blogger faces persecution for something that is as "criminal" as:
Hold your breathes, ladies and gentlemen..........
Drawing cartoons depicting Jesus in a bad light!
SMILING JESUS: DON'T BE FOOLED BY HIS FRIENDLY DEMEANOUR. THIS BLOKE PACKS A TOUGH LEGAL PUNCH. LITERALLY.
Jesus cartoons could draw jail for Singapore blogger
Thurs June 15
A Singaporean blogger is under investigation for posting cartoons mocking Jesus Christ and could be jailed up to three years, the police said.
A police spokesman declined to give details about the suspect, who was described by the Straits Times as a 21-year-old office worker with his own blog site. His race and religion were not disclosed.
The blogger, who described himself as a "free thinker," had first posted a cartoon depicting Jesus Christ as a zombie biting a boy's head in January, the Straits Times said.
He ignored an online message asking for the cartoon's removal and went on to post more caricatures of Christ to spite the sender.
"I never thought anyone would complain to the police because the pictures were not insidious," he told the newspaper, adding the cartoons have already been removed from his site.
He was called in by police in March and the investigation is ongoing.
"It is a serious offence for any person to distribute or reproduce any seditious publication which may cause feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes," said a police statement sent to AFP.
Singapore, a multi-racial island nation, clamps down hard on anyone inciting communal tensions. Two ethnic Chinese men were jailed last year for anti-Muslim blogs.
Ethnic Chinese make up 76 percent of Singapore's resident population of 3.4 million with Malay Muslims accounting for 13.7 percent followed by ethnic Indians, Eurasians and other racial groups.
Under the Sedition Act, offenders may be liable to imprisonment of up to three years or a fine not more than 5,000 Singapore (3,144 US) dollars or both.
Censors last month barred viewers below 16 years of age from watching "The Da Vinci Code" because they were afraid some children might see it as a factual movie.
The blockbuster film poses the explosive idea that Jesus Christ married his follower Mary Magdalene and started a blood line that still exists in secret.
Gasp! You see, ladies and gentlemen. Depicting Jesus as a zombie is indeed criminal, ladies and gentlemen. So much so that we have to jail this ruckus of a young fool, blood gushing through his brains and all, so that other bloggers would be reminded of the need for censorship.
So, depicting Jesus in a bad light is wrong. But showing films to minors above the age of 16 depicting Jesus's marriage to a purported prostitute is fine.
Which brings up the issue of the Sedition Act, which states that:
3. —(1) A seditious tendency is a tendency — (a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government; (b) to excite the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore to attempt to procure in Singapore, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established; (c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Singapore; (d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore; (e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore.
"Raising discontent or disafffection" = Sedition?