Complaint lodged against MediaCorp for showing political films

August 30, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Internet activist Mr Yap Keng Ho has lodged a police report to complain against the production and/or screening of political films regarding PAP leaders.

Mr Yap made the report at the Tampines Neighbourhood Police Centre today, citing that two films, Success Story which portrayed Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Up Close which featured five PAP ministers including Mr Lee Hsien Loong, were screened on Channel News Asia in 2002 and 2005 respectively.

The complaint comes at a time when the police are investigating Mr Martyn See for making a film about Dr Chee Soon Juan, which the Media Development Authority has said is “political” in nature and therefore a violation of the Films Act.

Mr Yap said in his report that the screening of the political documentaries of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP ministers likewise contravened the Films Act and has asked the police to investigate the matter.

The Government will of course say that it is all right for films to be made and screened about Government officials but not opposition leaders. It is the same kind of explanation that the Attorney-General gave when it ruled that PAP ministers had not done anything wrong when they illegally entered polling stations during the 1997 general elections.

These are stark examples of the abuse of power and the misuse of laws to protect the PAP’s power. In other words, there is no rule of law in Singapore.

The PAP has once again thumbed its nose at Singaporeans, thinking that the people are too afraid to do anything.

Singapore filmmaker surrenders tapes, camera to police

AFP
30 Aug 05

A Singaporean film maker who could be jailed for making a documentary on an opposition politician has surrendered his video camera and tapes to police investigators.

Martyn See told AFP the equipment and six existing tapes of “Singapore Rebel,” a documentary about Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, were handed over on Monday evening.

He was told to surrender the tapes, including two master copies, and the digital video camera after police questioned him a second time last week about the documentary.

“I have no idea when they will return or even if they will return at all,” See said. “They just said they need the camera and tapes to investigate my case which was violating the Films Act.”

Singapore’s Films Act bans political advertising using films or videos, as well as movies directed towards any political end such as promoting political parties.

A police spokesman told AFP the investigation was still ongoing.

See’s “Singapore Rebel” has been classified by local censors as having violated the act because of its political content, an accusation that the filmmaker rejects.

If convicted, See could be jailed for up to two years or fined up to 100,000 Singapore dollars (60,000 US).

He said the documentary was made to further his own understanding about the plight of opposition politicians in Singapore.

While banned at home, his documentary has been screened at two human rights festivals in the United States and New Zealand.

Affluent Singapore has often been criticised by human rights groups for maintaining strict political controls despite its rapid modernisation since becoming a republic 40 years ago this month.

Singapore has been ruled by the People’s Action Party of founding father Lee Kuan Yew since independence. His son Lee Hsien Loong promised to loosen political restrictions after taking over as prime minister a year ago from Goh Chok Tong.

Chee, the most vocal opposition politician in Singapore, is facing bankruptcy after the High Court ordered him to pay 500,000 Singapore dollars (300,000 US) for defaming Goh and the elder Lee.