SDP leader invited to UNESCO conference

Singapore Democrats Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan has been invited to speak at the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2005. The conference is held to remember and celebrate the principles of press freedom and is organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Government of Senegal. The theme of the conference is Media and Good Governance and will be held in Dakar, Senegal.

Unfortuantely Dr Chee will not be able to attend the conference because of scheduling problems. He is presently in Santiago, Chile to attend the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies. Nevertheless, Dr Chee will send the text of his speech to be read out at the session Media and Human Rights.

Dr Chee will draw international attention to the abysmal state of the media in Singapore and will call on the UN to pay closer attention to the continued abuse of human rights by the PAP Government. He will remind participants at the conference that the Singapore Government, like many other authoritarian states, will spout the rhetoric of upholding democracy and the rule of law while ensuring the dissenting views remain tightly censored by the media.

The United Nations Millennium Declaration is the strongest statement to date of UN Member States in support of democratic and participatory governance. The Declaration states that Member States will spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law and goes on to resolve to strengthen the capacity of all countries to implement the principles and practices of democracy and respect for human rights…

As Chairman of the ARDA (Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia), Dr Chee will also highlight the fact that as a region, Asia lags behind in terms of respect for press freedom. Media freedom ensures that many ills in society, including corruption and despotism, are checked.

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