Push for media freedom important

Singapore Democrats

The SDP has fought for our fellow citizens’ right to freedom of the press. This is because without a free media, the public is often misled by those who rule over them.$CUT$

For decades, the PAP has controlled the print and broadcast media and, as a result, been able to shape public opinion with little debate. This has led to the problems that society encounters today from high housing prices to unsustainable population growth to unaffordable  healthcare.

Presently, the Government is stepping in to regulate the Internet through the Media Development Authority (MDA) by requiring websites to post a $50,000 bond.

Internet bloggers and users are concerned by such a measure and have taken to protest against it over the weekend — and rightly so. Our right to information is not an esoteric subject. Access to media free from government control allows our people to make informed choices during elections.

In other words, without our rights we are unable to protect our well-being — including our material well-being.

This is where the effort to roll back the control of the media in Singapore — starting with the regulation of online websites — is crucial. Singaporeans must continue, even step up, the effort to establish a free media, both traditional and the new. Something as important as the future direction of our nation requires the kind of debate that only an open and pluralistic media can provide.

The SDP acknowledges that there are people working in Mediacorps and the Singapore Press Holdings who also want to see the media moving out from under government control. It is important that they, too, contribute to the effort, even in their limited capacity, to achieve this goal.

Our political rights and civil liberties — matters that the Singapore Democrats have been advocating — form the basis upon which we build our lives and our nation. Freedom of the press is an integral part of those rights.

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