One Nation Under Lee seizure to be raised at UN meeting

September 10, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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The seizure of the video One Nation Under Lee by the Government will be raised in Geneva this Friday, 12 Sep 08, during the 9th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Forum-Asia, a regional human rights group, will cite the case along with other human rights violations in the region when it is called to make representation before the UN Council. Apart from the matter of the video seizure, Forum-Asia will also bring up the prosecution of activists for taking part in peaceful protests in Singapore.

In May this year officials of the Media Development Authority gate-crashed a private screening of the video and demanded that the film be handed over (watch video of the incident here). They said that the video did not have a certificate of approval.

Despite the seizure, the video has since been uploaded on YouTube as well as Google. The YouTube account alone has received 27,300 views.

Below is Forum-Asia’s text on Singapore:

…although the [Singapore] government has announced its rules to allow outdoor demonstrations (restricted to the Speaker’s Corner), there have been events this year that nevertheless underline a restrictive environment in which human rights defenders are not able to enjoy the freedom of expression and opinion and the freedom to be informed.

In May 2008, a private film screening of One Nation Under Lee was interrupted by representatives from the Media Development Authority who demanded that organisers of the screening hand over the film.

They cited the Films Act which states that it is an offence to have in your possession or to exhibit or distribute any film without a valid certificate. This provision therefore makes almost all Singaporeans hosting private screenings of private events violators of the said Act.

The government has also charged more than 20 activists for taking part in various activities such as peaceful protests and distributing flyers.

Readers can follow the live webcast of events at the session at http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/index.asp.

One Nation Under Lee is also the subject at the Freedom Film Fest 2008 in Malaysia. It was screened in Penang last weekend and will be screened in Johor Baru this Saturday, 13 Sep, at 4:30 pm.

Malaysia’s premier showcase of human rights films will travel to Johor Bahru this weekend. It will be the closest location by which Singaporeans can watch One Nation Under Lee in a public space. Director Seelan Palay will be present at the post-screening Q&A session.

Venue: Tropical Inn
Address: 15 Jalan Gereja, Johor Bahru
Dates: 12 to 14 Sept 2008
Time: 11am till 10pm
Admission is FREE