The Online Citizen

TOC dismayed by apparent reversal of 'light touch' approach to internet regulation

February 21
12:44 2012

~Editorial~

February 2012 will be remembered as the month in which defamation lawsuits, or at least their threat, made their unwelcome return to Singapore’s political landscape.

First, lawyers acting for Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam wrote to Mr Alex Au of yawningbread.org, requesting that he remove certain comments made by Mr Au (see: HERE). Mr Au has complied.

Then, just days after Mr Richard Wan identified himself in public as one of TR Emeritus’s editors for the first time ever, lawyers acting for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong served a letter of demand on him, demanding that TRE take down a specific article; publish an apology for a period as long as that article had remained on the site; and disclose the identity of the writer (see: http://journalism.sg/2012/02/20/hard-landing-tremeritus-welcomed-into-the-open-with-defamation-threat/). TRE has removed the article, and Mr Wan has said that TRE will apologise as well.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif

We at TOC are dismayed by these developments, not least because they fly in the face of the Government's promised 'light touch' approach to Internet regulation. Defamation lawsuits by political figures are likely to have a chilling effect on speech by legitimate actors who try their best to stay within the law, while being ineffectual in stopping others (frequently anonymous) who are not so concerned from spreading the allegedly defamatory statements. While it is not possible to ascertain if the former has materialised, the latter is certainly already happening.

Retractions and apologies resulting from defamation lawsuits, or the threats of such lawsuits, are clearly useless in convincing people as to the truth. The allegations that the Prime Minister complained about, and defamation lawsuits in response, have been repeated on-and-off over the past decade. Ten years later, and people are still saying the same things.

Furthermore, after all these years of going online, our leaders should have learnt by now that the sheer multiplicity of online media and its resourcefulness means that such legal actions will stoke the fires more than extinguishing them. The lawyer's letter to Mr Au, for example, probably got many citizens curious enough to hunt for the rumours referred to by Mr Shanmugam's lawyers.

The above is not to say that these allegations are true; rather, it simply shows that defamation lawsuits and lawyers’ letters are useless as tools for convincing people as to the truth. Sadly, our leaders have seemingly not yet learnt this important lesson.

A better way to respond to defamation in today’s world, is to directly rebut the claims. While this can be difficult if one is seeking to prove a negative, it is still much more effective than lawsuits and legal letters. Tell your own story, openly, frankly and candidly. An authentic and honest response will always ring true, and people will be able to tell your sincerity for what it is.

But then, old habits do die hard.

 

  • kampong boy

    Another flip flopping by the ruling party. How can I trust thee?

  • kampong boy

    Another flip flopping by the ruling party. How can I trust thee?

  • need info

    so, who are funding tre and sdp websites all these years ?

  • need info

    so, who are funding tre and sdp websites all these years ?

  • Damn

    Hey people, we should not be too surprised these threats were issued, should we?! This practice is and will always remain the norm in our country! "Light Touch"?? To quote kampong boy's words.."HOW CAN I TRUST THEE"??!!

  • Damn

    Hey people, we should not be too surprised these threats were issued, should we?! This practice is and will always remain the norm in our country! "Light Touch"?? To quote kampong boy's words.."HOW CAN I TRUST THEE"??!!

  • iAMaZOOsurfer

    didn't the editor of yawning bread was invited by the present presidente for lunch in botanical gardens?
    so mr presidente..why don't you used your INFLUENCES to sweepthis case under the carpet?
    afterall you are the NUMERO UNO man in singapoor votedby the peasant$ for the pheasants…

  • iAMaZOOsurfer

    didn't the editor of yawning bread was invited by the present presidente for lunch in botanical gardens?
    so mr presidente..why don't you used your INFLUENCES to sweepthis case under the carpet?
    afterall you are the NUMERO UNO man in singapoor votedby the peasant$ for the pheasants…

  • yawn

    Those people are humans like you and me. TRE has been consistently vicious (TOC ain’t no saint so you guys may as well also watch out), and the letters appear to be from frustration.

    It is like dealing with petulant brats, you try to ignore them but they will carry on spending their hours to soil your good name. Instead of getting personally involved and wasting more time especially with insidious bloggers, a call to the lawyers does the trick. Why not?

    Do you really think PM Lee or Shanmugam care what TRE or insidious bloggers think? They are just fed up. Shanmugam was simply serving a mild warning and Alex Au is a reasonable man whom they know will comply but help set the record straight that they are not closing their eyes anymore.

    PM Lee is the same – he is not suing for damages, he is simply asking bloggers to be valid, not vile. And he’s probably had enough.

    You guys make money from readership, donations and advertising, those people are just trying to do their jobs without needing to have their private lives dug open by cretin.

    TRE deserves it. TOC is round the corner.
    No one is asking you guys to not criticise, but don’t do it to pump up readership and don’t pen things that are untrue or distort facts.

    People are watching. And they are the ones with money. Your supporters will forget you in weeks when you’re gone. Don’t count on them.

  • David

    Talking about defamation, PAP press took the cake to defame all PAP opponents!  Now what! is our courts partial, or because PAP is above the law that it thinks its has the entitlement to hurl everyone to courts without needing to prove anything?  What different does it make of PAP compared to loanshark who put "hell money" in other people letter box as a form of threat.

  • iSurfTOC

    Yaw Shin Leong should have then taken the opportunity to sue TRE for allegations against him which have yet to be provided by TRE. 
    I really wonder who's side the new TRE is on now ? Why did their old guards left and abandoned the old domain? Anyway, I've stop reading them ever since.

  • Not surprised

    Not surprised by this.  Remember fascist LKY said he will not hesistate to use knuckledusters on any opposition

  • kampong boy

    I guess YSL will not stoop as low as the pap.

  • Johnny Can Dance

    TOC is going to be next!!!!

    Can’t wait!!!!

  • Damn

    @Not surprised
    I think that person also mentioned he had a hatchet in his bag too!

  • http://www.newagedentists.com Chan JY

    Well, they watched and listened to what we had to say. Then it's back to the old normal.

  • Win The Battle And Lose The War

    It is very foolish for the PM and Shanmugam to threaten the social media and/or any individual as many people associate themselves more with the latter than with the PAP leaders. They may win the battle but lose the war in 2016. 
    The govt is at the losing end if it decides to come head on with the social media.  What is to stop any social media from highlighting the slightest mistake that can be attributted directly or indirectly to the govt simply out of spite? Who then wins?  Also, are the PAP going to sue every article that is not true, and if not, are we to assume that the article is true? 
    I would suggest that these small people with small minds re-think their strategy to shut the mouths of the common people., which is clearly their aim.  Why not just refute the allegations through clarifications in the state-controlled main media and leave it as that?  The days of threats are over.  The people's detest for such cheap acts will be manifested in the 2016 elections, more so when the person threatening is the PM himself.    
    In my view, it is demeaning for the PM and Shanmugam to resort to such low-class threats. One would have expected national leaders to hold themselves above the fray.
     
     
     
     

  • Just be responsible

    To be frank, MIW have allow many harsh criticisms to be directed at them w/o and lawsuit. I believe if the posters are responsible, there shd not be any worries of being sued. It is all those who make baseless allegations that have to be careful. Since space is given, use it responsibility. Light touch does not mean you can say whatever you want!

  • Win The Battle And Lose The War

    It is very foolish for the leaders to threaten the social media and/or any individual as many people associate themselves more with the latter than with the PAP leaders. They may win the battle but lose the war in 2016.

    The ruling party is at the losing end if it decides to come head on with the social media.  What is to stop any social media from highlighting the slightest mistake that can be attributed directly or indirectly to the ruling party simply out of spite? Who then wins?  Also, are the PAP leaders going to sue every article that is not true, and if not, are we to assume that the article is true?

    I would suggest that the ruling party  re-think its strategy to shut the mouths of the common people., which is clearly their aim.  Why not just refute the allegations through clarifications in the state-controlled main media and leave it as that?  The days of threats are over.  The people's detest for such cheap acts will be manifested in the 2016 elections, more so when the person threatening is the head himself.
      
    In my view, it is demeaning for the leaders to resort to such low-class threats. One would have expected national leaders to hold themselves above the fray.
     

  • The law of Karma

    Ligh touch does not mean you can go and make claims online that can be seen as defamatory. Light touch does not mean you can cast off one segment of Singapore society (how about "foreigners"?) and spend your time stirring public opinion against them. How about organizing a witch hunt against a Chinese teenager for comments he posted online about Singaporeans when online forums are full of insults again PRCs?  You misuse your freedom, your problem. At the end, blame your double standard not the government.

  • Chanel

    The single biggest problem with MIW is that they must be in control. They are control freaks. MIW newspapers love to interview and quote so-called "experts". MIW newspapers have "experts" in every field imaginable. These "experts" invariably have good or very gppd things to say about MIW govt.
     
    MIW newspapers think that S'poreans listen to "expert" opinions.!!! If that was true, S'poreans are really really DAFT!

  • Jaded

    you people really thought they would change? Fat chance… 

  • Edwin

    You missed the point. The lawsuits are not meant to rebut the claims. THey are meant to prevent future profligeration of these allegations or others similar nature. I think if there is no proof, it is underhand of anyone to make an allegation. So I think this is correct regarding what Shanmugam did, because now I can't remove the doubt in my mind anymore that there was something between him and Foo (haha). For Ho Ching, she is very quiet for someone occupying such a big seat. My perception is that she has the anti-Midas touch, everything she touches turns into dust. And I think maybe she herself should come out and state her own record.

  • Peter Sellers

    Instead of applauding TRE's move to put a public face on it, the government has once more revertesd to type with its heavy -handed and knee-jerk reaction (albeit not as heavy-handed as in the past).
     
    Will the PAP never learn that such action only drives dissent (and comment) underground? As the Drew & Napier letter says "the internet being what it is, we have not been successful (in tracking down Scrooball)". The internet is  like the hydra: cut off one head and two will grow in its place.
     
    For the PAP, the lesson is: reform or perish.

  • lim

    The ToC should realise that this is already the "light touch". In the old days, nobody would wait for a retraction. Sue first, stamped by court, collect money then can talk but by then, no need to talk.

  • I want the truth

    I beg to differ. The lawsuits were issue only because the information presented was false. If the posters were so convinced of their own cause, then why should they retracted when confronted? It only shows that most people post rubbish on the internet while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, but they are scared off once they are identified and proven wrong.

  • This is democratic

    Its the right of every citizen of Singapore, be it ordinary citizens or ministers, to seek vindication when slandered or defamed in public.
    Perpetrators is responsible for whatever they alleged and has the onus to defend their allegations made.
    This process is fair and democratic.
    Minister Shanmugam should have proceeded with the lawsuit instead of stopping at an public apology.  This would have sent a clear message to especially 'naive' bloggers being mis-led by the opposition camps leveraging on their naivety to score political mileage.
    I hope that PM Lee will raise the warning alarm by sueing TR Emeritus to remind bloggers of the risk in fallacious defammation and to be weary of becoming unwitting foils of desperate and naivete opposition politicians.

  • mice is nice

    this is like the NKF saga, lots of allegations, but in the end its big gun vs small gun. the big gun (SPH) won the small gun (NKF). as for cataput vs small gun, cataput dun stand a chance.

  • BK

    Catherine Lim is right, they are not capable of changing.

  • Jack

    A leopard cannot change its spots.
    They will never change.
    Better for Singaporeans to vote for change instead.
    Out with the old and in with the opposition parties.
     
     
     

  • Rodolfo

    To be fair, the Govt has allowed a fair bit of freedom compared with the past.
     
    It is time for netizens to honour our end of the bargain, post responsibly and earn some respect.

  • Jack

    Lawsuits here. Lawsuits there. Lawsuits everywhere.
    Sadly, many foreign talent are scared to death of becoming a Singaporean.
    They must feel that there is every chance of them being suit if they became a citizen.
    Can't blame them then for waiting to rush back home once they have made their fortune.
    Probably many foreign universities might reconsider why they made the decision to set up an overseas campus here.
    Can't blame them too if they pack up and leave.
    The simple fact is that Singapore doesn't exist alone in this world.
    Many countries, even in this region, are opening up and allowed their citizens to speak up without fear of being persecuted.
    Sadly, the opposite is true in a few countries.
    And that means the citizens of those countries will try and flee as the earliest opportunity possible.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • message

    Perish one TRE, but a thousand more will bloom.
    I heard there will be plenty originating from Australia, NZ, Malaysia and China…and there is a new one based in Shanghai:)
    The only way forward is to be frank, engage, explain, tell the truth and do the right thing.  

  • Rules of Game

    Above the belt punches please.
    No slander or libel.
    Just foillow law.
    All's fine.

  • jack lee

    sad times for singapore. i m disappointed in our PM and his party. very very very disappointed.
     
    also, at the same time, i dont understnad why TR Emeritus gave out the name of the contributor – i am also deeply disappointed by TR Emeritus. it felt the site editor was like a frightened kid when they received the lawyer's letter from the PM

  • ngpy

    Is  critizism tantamount to defamation, anyone to define on question.
    Can critizism be implyed as defamation if one consider it is so, and take legal action because they have the power and money.  But to have a genuiene critizism and was taken badly, now who is to give fair judgements pertaining above.
    Can there be another case of the Durai Saga where legal action was taken. The rest are history. 

  • Harry Li

    Light touch? My foot.. This kind of legal threats can and will never stop more dirts to be dugged out from the PAP lockers. 

  • iSELLkimCHI

     
    Rodolfo21 February 2012

     
    It is time for netizens to honour our end of the bargain, post responsibly and earn some respect
    ………………………………….
    what BLOOMIN respect you demand? hav you been educated? recite your DEMOCRATIC oath…SHOLE!
    is your surname KIM and do you eat kamchi as stable veggie?

     

  • DavidLKSee

    Hard-hitting HARD TRUTHS for PAP Muddle-headed Million-dollar Ministers:
    (1) "People with INTEGRITY counter accusations with the TRUTH, not lawsuits!"
    — from an Internet post by a young S'pore Netizen
    (2) "My view is that a politican must accept all the opinions for or against him as normal. They go with the job.
    I am leery of POLITICIANS WHO SUE THEIR CRITICS.
    This is A COWARDLY MOVE and in fact proves that the criticisms are fully justified."
    — Dr Mahathir Mohamad 14 Jun 2010
    (3) "When the People are afraid of the Government, there is TYRANNY.
    When the Government is afraid of the People, there is DEMOCRACY"
    — Former US President Thomas Jefferson
    (4) "There is nothing wrong with OUR COUNTRY.
    There is something wrong with OUR POLITICS that we need to fix."
    — Current US President Barack Obama
    (5) "POWER corrupts. ABSOLUTE POWER corrupts absolutely."
    (6) "The PAP Govt may fool SOME People SOME of the time, but definitely not ALL the People ALL the time!"

  • angyongguan

    the author of above article is naive, when u open up a holes u will find more holes. So when u are in power, just tell them to shut up and if they do under fear of been sued u can made others beleive what is say is untrue without further exposing to more rumors .

  • Lou Ja Boh

    If TOC don't even allow people to post here what has she got to question the minister for sending lawyer letters?
    Shame on TOC, your eyes sight is already fixed.
     

  • Winston Cheng

    'A better way to respond to defamation in today’s world, is to directly rebut the claims. While this can be difficult if one is seeking to prove a negative, it is still much more effective than lawsuits and legal letters. Tell your own story, openly, frankly and candidly. An authentic and honest response will always ring true, and people will be able to tell your sincerity for what it is'.
    My question to the above – if Pinky is to tell it honestly….what can he say??????
     
     

  • Varma Junior

    Shorty danabalan proclaims that at first the appointment of ho ching reporting to the the prime minister which was her husband was circumvented by he standing in the middle in between to liaise the hustings of the familee's agendas. The shorty's rationalization shamelessly is to dish out a mee-goreng and expect the people to buy it.. Can the papigs produce the exact CV of ho ching (in the name of transparency for all to see) for her to deserve sitting as a director of Temasek Holdings other than the daughter in law of lky. As if there are no better Singaporeans for the post.
    WORST IS THE AUDACITY OF LHL TO SUE THOSE WHO HIGHLIGHT THIS FLAGGRANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO THE DUMB SINGAPOREANS.

  • Your_Fath3r

    If you are as creditable as U always claim to be, you should not be afraid to put your word to the test. TRE has been proven time and time again to run articles base on false information and rumors. It's about time they start cleaning up their act

  • Peter Sellers

    @ I want the truth
     
    In a civilised society, the correct response would be to post your own article, refuting the charges. Readers can then judge for themselves which version is more plausible.
     
    Alex Au was not hiding behind a cloak of anonimity and he had not made any alleagations but merely refered to rumours. If the rumours are not true, just say so. End of subject. The world moves on.

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  • Lisa Asil

    You don't earn RESPECT thru FEAR, you earn RESPECT thru ADMIRATION.

  • Robert Teh

    Punching above your weight – convince people you are clean and you have leadership quality and talent.
    Punching below the belt – cannot convince people you are clean and turn to use your power to end all argument.

  • jurong porter

    so will our govt please help the nation,SG,to sue those FTs who passed  defamatory remarks at the nation or is personal face-savings of prior concersn rather than that of the nation?
     
    i fail to comprehend.

  • kampong boy

    Sigh!

    These pap ministers and the prime one are using the millions of dollars they earned from citizens to sue citizens.

    Sigh!

    Shake head, shake head.

    What else can we citizens do other than shaking head?

  • Devagi

    What better way to find the truth is going to Court. Both parties can present their case openly and convincingly for everyone to hear and see. What is the point of hiding under a skirt and take pot-hot at the victim anonymously? This should be the transparent and democratic way for Singaporeans to allege and defend themselves publicly if there are truth in the allegations; otherwise liars can make all sorts of untruth and unfounded allegations. The time has come for Singaporeans to be truthful and liars will be taken to task no matter how they hide. Cheers!

  • son of s

    Defamation suits are an industry unto itself. Those with the deepest pockets always win in any court in any country.. These  people with million dollar salaries will outlast any fellow writing in these forums. Moreover the suits will be heard in Singapore Courts. There is no ghost of a chance that the fellow will survive with his pants on.
    If the  6 million Jews who were burned in chimneys ever acted in concert, they would not have been reduced to soap and other industrial products for the Nazi Regime.
    If the 3.5 million Singaporeans stand in a phalanx against these defamation suits, the suits will be dismantled. We have to dismantle this mouth locking device wielded by those in Power.
    The threat of defamation suits will serve to stifle the sense of injustice in the citizenry. Sooner or later, there will be dead silence in the realm.Everything that comes to the mind of the ruling elite will be implemented and this will be a lost country.

  • son of s

    @Devagi. Will the defamation suiters agree to hold the tcase in an International Tribunal? If not the conclusion predictable to 100% accuracy.

  • PMETs made JOBLESS

    so,can singaporean PMETs forced to be jobless by unfair FT POLICY practices ask their MPs to sue the policy-makers?
     
    you see,we were not paid  by the millions and we have ntohing much left except for a few dollars.

  • Quanxi

     LHL n his ministers may need to read this for proper understanding of the frustrated citizens:Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset’s , ‘The Revolt of the Masses’.
    Using a lawyer to sue others smack of cowardice 

  • Jimmy

    @ Devagi
    While we can agree with you on your general comment,  there is little comfort if past judgements of similar cases are anything to go by, especially those involving senior government officers. Unfortunately, the foreboding conclusion is already being made by most. Afterall, we are talking about Singapore, the country that most of us know best.  
    Lastly,  the transparent and democratic way for Singaporeans to allege and defend themselves publicly (those involving powerful institutions who make the rules) is not through the courts (rule by a few judges) where deep pockets are needed but through public opinion (rule by the majority) .

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  • Jack

    Citizens have a right to free speech and not be intimidated by politicians desperately clinging on to power.
    A simple way to ensure that right is for citizens  to vote for politicians or parties that care for the people.
     

  • Marko Ramius

    To Jack, the right to free speech has to be secured by responsible citizens who do not subvert the country through irresponsible yapping.  
     
    Anyway, I do like the legal hammer to be back.  There is just too much unsubstantiated statements online.  I shudder what this does to our young Singaporeans.

  • adam

    The big stick and knuckle duster syndrome

  • adult

    To Marko Ramius
    The young will feel cheated & cynical when they grow up to be adults if what they find out or discover is the exact opposite of what they have been told when young.
     
     

  • son of s

    Nobody should be allowed to spread lies about the ruling elite's doings in Singapore..Bringing the defamers to Court is the right thing to do to prise open the truth. But Who do you meet in a Singapore Court? Read the records of what went on in Court for cases against the Ruling Elites and you will see what is waiting for the defamers. To get to the bottom of the matter, stage the hearing in an International tribunal. But this the political elites will never want .Therefore nothing will be revealed in a Singapore Court but a knuckleduster, the emblem of the Ruling Elite.

  • son of s

    If you ask why the Ruling Elites will not hear their defamation charges in an International tribunal, they will trot out their self exemptions and exceptionalism. 
    My fellow citizens, by cowering for half a century  we have brought upon ourselves a death-trap.

  • son of s

    In the geological time of the PAP hegemony, this episode of TOC and TRE in bid for freedom of speech is a blip in the geological strata.. Business as usual in Singapore..

  • hangman

    Should PM reply to an open letter concerning his wife's appointment as CEO of Temasek Holding?
     
    http://utwt.blogspot.com/2012/02/open-challenge-to-pm-lee-hsien-loong.html

  • Fed Up

    The FEAR tatics is coming back. Who dare to fight them when they have the whole machinery behind them.Even if the truth is spoken it can be twisted by them as at the end of the day they can change things overnight.
    We need change and this can only happen in 2016.
     
     

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  • wtf

    TOC talk c*** lah. B4 you want to b******* some more, start by stopping yourself from censoring comments which are detrimental to the opposition parties.
     
    And pleaselah ! TRE report is not true. That is why the report has to be taken down and the public apology is needed. The same goes with the reports here on TOC. All told half truths mixed with a lot of lies. Expert spin doctors both in the reports as well as the comments. Pleaselah want to bluff who !

  • Wild Wild west

    Singapore is the only place were these Particular  Type of Politicans can SUE it's own Citizens if they speak up.Shame on  their parents who gave birth to them.

  • Damn

    @hangman
    Thanks for sharing that post.
    But how likely will LHL give a response?! I t think he'll just shrug his shoulders and LOL, you know, his usual annoying expression when he could not provide any answer??!!

  • helloyellow

    Actually, I think LHL and Shanmugam are suing on a personal level – not a government vs. person level; especially since the comments made were more personal than political.
    Every individual is entitled to sue for personal attacks no?
    The thing is..if there is basis for what TR and Au said…they can always confidently take it to court. But I believe they retracted and gave apologies because there was no basis for their comments.

  • The Truth Will Come To Light

    The article is well-written and makes plenty of sense. Unfortunately the ministers didn't grasp the negatine fallouts.
    Instead they chose their high- positioned convenient way out resort to lawsuits, their only and often used weapon,  to scare the alternative media and the online public.
    There is a common idiom "No smoke without fire".
    For many of us, the lawsuits would only reinforce us to seek out the news and follow up on the scandals. And make our own judgements.

  • wtf

    So may I ask —
     
    Is TOC a  "NO HOLDS BARRED"  site where anything goes ?
     
    The comments here sure look that way. What about the guys behind TOC ? Tell us your position.

  • JayF

    @ Son of S.
    Since when was defamation part of international law? Maybe you're the type who brings traffic violations to the Family Court?
    Which standards regarding defamation should an "international tribunal" use? American standard where the defamed has to prove the defamer wrong or the British and common law standards where it's the other way round? 

  • SINGAPORE SLANG

    do our gahMEN PREFER to listen to pleasantries or do our gahMEN WANT TO HEAR THE TRUTHS?
     
    the TRUTH is the 'truth hurts,so said some wise men of old.
     
     i say MSM is full of self-serving FTs who simply spin lies and half-truths to please our gahMEN.
    So,it's back to our gahMEN?
    DO YOU WNT TO HEAR THE TRUTHS?

  • son of s

    It is very dangerous for any society where its citzens must have their mouths shut tight, even if mouths are glued because of the strict application of the Law. The British have brought their defamation Laws to a fine art and many rich people earn a living through suing other rich people for defamation.  Winning defamation cases iin Britain s a fine art  and needs a lot of money to get the art to perform at its best. Needless to say  in such contests  of the endurance of vast wealth,  the truth is beside the point..Of course British Law will be applied in our Singapore Courts as it is so advantageous to the defamed.
    There are some people in Singapore who are against the political elite and voicing their views are  attacked by defamation laws by the ruling elite. That the conclusion of the latest defamation suits are forgone conclusions are widely appreciated. They will come out of the Courts naked of their worldly belongings.
    We as a society must work against this tide of the ruling elite using the defamation laws to suppress and oppress the populace. You don't  bring Mubarak, Gadhafi, Pol Pot , Milosevic etc to courts in their own countries  for criminal acts againt the citizenry. These personages are beyond mere criminality.Here in Singapore, mercifully,  we have a much scaled down version of Human Rights abuse, but abuse nontheless.The continuing stream of defamation suits heard in Singapore Courts for the ruling elites against ordinary citizens who voice their concerns at their antics, is farcical to all but the victims. We have to seek the help of the UN Human Rights Council to stem the tide of the deadly farce.

  • Devagi

    @son of s
    @Jimmy
    Please tell me how to settle the disputes/contentions between 2 private indivduals in Singapore and bring them to the International Tribunals? It seems you do not know how the criminal/civil justice system works in Singapore and in the world and anyhow talk for the sake of talking. Get your facts right before opening your big mouth. Talk sense, please!

  • GoonDoo

    So long as there is no FREEDOM OF INFORMATION Act i place, its easy to file defamation law suits.  I think the WP had it spot on as a MAJOR ISSUE in their manifesto.
    To those who admonish alternative news websites for 'spreading rumors'… til today, the YSL matter is based purely on conjecture and rumors.  NO ONE KNOWS for a fact that the affair took place.  Yet the MSM reported it like as if aliens landed on earth!
    The PAP cannot change its spots – this is proof of itself.  So stop the whinging and exercise your VOTE wisely….

  • tiredsingaporean

    sad days for the less fortunate ppl here in singapore as more and more rich and powerful are suing anyone they wish these days.

  • Honest

    This is a ridiculous article. Whoever write a comment will have to be responsible for his/her own words. If the source are baseless that you should be taken to task. How about I say TOC is this and that without any actual fact.

  • We are the 99%

    I venture a guess, this writer must have had high hopes, positive thinking, snensing that in recent years PAP is lossening up.. Yes I believe very slowly and gradually.
    But, thats it. I am afraid, slowly gradually into the next 20 years. Futher than that, you are jokingly kidding yourself with fat hopes, pipe dreams, and what Charles Dickens wrote, "Great Expectations".
    Perhaps it could be your stupid naievity, pardon me.. Yes you are stupid enough to bait, to buy into PAP's tricks amd booby traps a plenty.. Have this thought vaulted into your thick skull, the PAP is the same 40 years ago, 20 years ago, now and the enxt 30 years.. Frame this up and set up in your working desk facing you veryday every minute.
    Finally, dIdnt you read about Cat Lim recently remarked, the PAP is INCAPABLE of change…
    I wish you speedy eyesight and brain reversal recovery quickly to cope for the next 30 years. And dont forget, never never hope for your CPF to depend on come 30 years or sooner.

  • sc

    just sue la
    u see obama. his own ppl kb him say he not us citizen.
    he say he is, even ll release his own birth cert, people also say he doctered his cert etc and come up with some conspiracy theories. 
    at the end of the day, like it or not, rebut is sounds gd only. u think people will believe or be persuaded meh?
    u see the taliban ppl. they also believe 911 is started by the u.s. 
    at the day of the day, i think it's better to stop it altogether right at the beginning, especially when the stuff said have no basis at all.
    we all know that rumors and gossip kills. 
    fan ke yi luan chi, hua bo ke yi luan jiang.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • sc

    and yes, one can argue that total freedom of speech is better because everyone has access to all information and therefore can find out the truth and any justifications. 
    but that's based on a flawed assumption that everyone will bother to do their own research. some people just believe what they hear, and even go around spreading those lies because they thought it's the truth. 

  • wtf

    May I ask a short and simple question. Is it wise for scroobai to post on TOC ? Something easy for all to understand.

  • Samson

    Freedom of speech is not suitable for Singapore. If someone makes a small comment about a race or religion, the police will step in. Singapore is too small and insecure to be a full democracy.

  • political cost

    The whole wide world is seeing all the nasty suing, not until all votes start to swing and the people’s real swaying begins when the rainbow starts to play.
    As for now, thanks to the 40% who had, at the very least, caused some to take thirty-nine steps before the next political run-for-you-life comes.

  • Actually hor

    Actually, it is PAP that is too small and insecure to be a full democracy.
     
    And, mind, Singapore <> PAP.
     

  • iVOTEdavinderSINK

    Devagi
     It seems you do not know how the criminal/civil justice system works in Singapore and in the world and anyhow talk for the sake of talking
    …………………………………..
    you meant if you want the singapoor justice court to act..you must first pay a $20,000 court fees?
    now who shakin and who talkin? you want legal aids to handle your case? in your dream ole kileng….

  • Eugene

    In the interest of this nation I have send emails about  the various repression methods meted out by the papigs to Singaporeans.
    I have emailed to UN Ban Ki Moon, Obama and Cameroon. Urge others to do so. Sufficient emails will turn their attention on the papies. This will disallow the papies to boast about punching above thier weight.

  • Devagi

    @son of s
    @Jimmy
    It seems both of you do not know how the political system work in Singapore and just anyhow hantam buta. Please go and read the Singapore Constitution first and then post your comments to make sense.
    If son of s can arrange for the International Tribunal or any Court outside Singapore  to hear the civil suit cases occurring from Singapore, the Singaporeans involved in such cases are willing to pay son of s millions of dollars.  Please go and try first instead of anyhow shouting from the hip! Talk sense and not nonsense in this forum.
     

  • Kampong boy

    A description of Singapore:

    Lawsuits here, lawsuits there, lawsuits everywhere.

    But not a place to think and speak.

  • justoneperson

    @Markos Ramius
    I also think there should be responsible comments. One can disagree but no need to be rude. Legal action is not the best choice, but does rebutting work judging by the slams one gets when you try to. As an eg. the tone in TOC is clearly different from that in TRE. I hope it stays this way.

  • seesee

    freedom of speech does not mean only one party is entitled to give their views and do not allow the other party to respond. everyone has freedom of speech including the Lee family

  • iVOTEahBENGs

    Devagi
    Please go and read the Singapore Constitution first and then post your comments to make sense.
     
    ………………………………………………
    what singapoor constipalation are YOU mubblin ere? you meant the act protect every singapooriums? or protectin the nazi pap party?

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  • Tom

    I am 50 years old, proud to be Singaporean and proud of my country. I hope I will live to see the day when I can be proud of our judiciary. An independent judiciary providing equal justice to all. Where decisions can be reached without fear of recrimination and retaliation. I pray that such a day will come during my lifetime.

  • mice is nice

    the rumours have been going on for a very long time. they certainly are not something new, makes me wonder if the lag in issuing lawyer's letter itself casts doubt as to why it took so long before action was taken?
     
    do police not find it suspicious if a person delays reporting a crime or lose of personal items like credit card for too long?
     
    maybe that is why products have guarantees that mostly last a year or 2. beyond that, few offer lifetime warranty. once a product is bought, the warranty period starts counting down. after a few years, even if its never used, the product is found to be "dead on arrival" (when want to use) the manufacturer is no longer liable.

  • Varma Junior

    "To those (leaders around the globe) who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" – President Barrack Obama.

  • eaglefly

    TABLE A NO CONFIDENCE MOTION,
     
    MAYBE GET ANOTHER REFERENDUM OR ELECTION

  • kampong boy

    A thought suddenly dawned on me:

    If I praise the pap, will they sue me for telling lies?

  • mice is nice

    dear eaglefly,
     
    lol, would you trust people to vote wisely with fear being renewed recently, with many older folks who may still believe the status quo were what they were decades ago, & MSM's Press Freedom ranking at #135 which would influence a large part of older generation who rely on papers as the main source of "credible" info?

  • Alovera

    February is call a suing month cos it has 3 law suits.may be one is coming also,this one is very ‘ chr luck’ I think can put you behind bars,even if you engage a queen’s counsel,you think got justice,equality,demoncracy.even the last President election puts me off,also wants to sue.there are remours few years back,no smoke without fire.whether u believe or not is up to you.also don’t ‘pot calling the kettle black’ the turtle laughing the torties got no tails.think best is talking with your kaki’s in the kopitiams or whispers softly,so no one can sue you.if you write sweetly in the forums your comments will be publish,otherwise straight to the dustbin.come 2016 please wake up

  • Basil

    I have friends of friends and relative who ventures out of S’pore. And doesn’t WANs to return.some are ph.holders,honors degrees ,and a scientist(who’s family sold their property)to pay for the fine,cos they break their bonds.how many did not return to S’pore. After completing their studies.So don’t say we have no talent, and no merit.those who returns are also pressure by their family to return,after few years studying and working aboard.some denouce S’pore citizenship.no wonder these PR after working and buying properties in S’pore stay for several years uproots and sold their properties,making a profit and return to their motherland.I know of a FT a doc.came here and act ‘Big’ cos our currency is higher,these type of FT shouldn’t be promoted,act high and mighty only

  • TIMM

    Tan Kim Lian will also sue anyone if he can just like the PAP. So I dont understand why TOC will support him unless this TOC is own by him. Better dont support TOC is Tan Kim Lian is being supported by TOC. Tan Kim Lian and PAP is about the same kind.

  • Jonathan Toh

    The Internet is the ultimate free press, but press freedom must be accompanied by quality and responsible journalism.  
    These days, people write biased and one-sided stuff on the Internet.  The editors of TRE and TOC are guilty of that, based solely on the way headlines are worded and articles are selectively picked. 
    Quality journalism must be free and fair.  However, these so-called alternate to mainstream media is far from free and fair.
    When the Government's achievements are ignored or discredited, and their mistakes highlighted, have the TRE and TOC editors wondered what is their contribution to nation-building?
    Have these websites developed into "public toilets" where people pour their emotional trash?  Have they become websites for self-radicalization by people to become anti-Government extremists?
     

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