Breaking news: Government refuses to classify One Nation

July 17, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The Board of Film Censors (BFC) had refused to classify the film One Nation Under Lee (ONUL, here), a documentary made by Mr Seelan Palay about Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s oppression of Singapore.

Mr Martyn See, another filmmaker, submitted ONUL to the BCF in May this year for approval and rating. However, as Mr See reports in his blog, the authorities have declined to classify the film.

“It is probably the only video submission in BFC’s history that has been deemed unclassifiable,” Mr See writes.

The stated reason from the censors is that the video contains material from another film Zahari’s 17 Years (click here) produced by Mr See about the legendary Mr Said Zahari who was imprisoned without trial by Mr Lee Kuan Yew for 17 years.

Because Zahari’s 17 Years was banned and ONUL contains parts of it, the BFC is saying that Mr Seelan’s film is therefore unclassifiable.

This reason, if it can be considered one, doesn’t make sense. Why can’t the authorities make a decision on whether to approve ONUL and rate it accordingly based on its contents? The reference to Mr Said Zahari in the video is minimal and does not alter the film’s theme.

The real reason for not classifying the film, one suspects, is because to do so would be to allow it to be screened to the public at large. Sacre bleu! What would Mr Lee think?

But to ban it would be to draw more attention to the film. As it is, because of the Media Development Authorities’ seizing of ONUL when it was first screened, the film has attracted tens of thousands of viewers. Google and YouTube have removed the video because of “copyright” reasons. (See here)

And so the effort to control what Singaporeans watch continues – a sure sign of the nervousness of our undemocratic rulers.