Breaking news: Did YouTube censor film on PAP?

July 5, 2009
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

Singapore Democrats

When one clicks on the link to YouTube’s One Nation under Lee, a film made by activist Mr Seelan Palay, the following message appears:

“This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions” (e.g., see here), or “Skipped to the next available video. One or more videos were no longer available” (e.g., see here).

 

Copyright? As far as anyone knows Mr Seelan has not complained about copyright problems. In fact, the filmmaker wants to spread the message in the film through the new media such as YouTube.

Perhaps the website is concerned about the use of the music in the video. But if that’s the case, then half of the posts on YouTube would be blocked as well.

Obviously something else is at work. Was YouTube acting on its own policies or did it come under pressure from certain quarters in Singapore?

Apparently, YouTube contacted the uploader of the video and mentioned that it violated the copyright of the Universal Music Group. It just seems strange to me that this happens 1 week after my police interview.

– Seelan Palay

 

One Nation under Lee has chalked up 50,000 views before its removal a few days ago (see here). We believe that this is the first time that YouTube has blocked a video in Singapore. It was recently submitted to the Singapore authorities for clearance.

The film, a 45-minute video documenting Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s oppressive tactics, also features interviews with prominent opposition figures such as the late J B Jeyaretnam and Mr Francis Seow (see review here and here).

It was launched in May 2008 at a private screening in a hotel during which Government officials forced their way in and seized the video (see here). Mr Seelan was subsequently called up for questioning (see here). It has since been screened around the region (see here and here).

And now it seems that YouTube is also in on the act to censor the video by blocking its viewership.

Fortunately, the film can be found elsewhere on the Internet. Readers can watch the film at this URL (or this) until, that is, it is removed because of “copyright” problems again.

Editor’s note: At press time, only the full-length version of the film on YouTube is affected. Those that are posted in parts are still available (e.g., see here).