SPH at it again

February 10, 2011
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

It seems that the Singapore Press Holdings cannot even censor intelligently. It carried a report about the raising of $20,000 for Dr Chee Soon Juan’s fine. It was effectively a re-write of an AFP report.

But whereas AFP quoted SDP’s comments on the matter as well as Human Rights Watch’s criticism of the PAP’s abuse of the law and the denial of basic political rights in Singapore, SPH had entirely blacked out this part of the news. Just what is the PAP afraid of?
 
The censorship is so crass and exposes yet again the SPH’s agenda against the SDP. This is not the first time that the media in Singapore have gone out of its way to censor news about the Singapore Democrats or slant them in a negative manner.

Below are the two reports. The first is AFP’s followed by SPH’s posted on Asiaone, its online portal. Incidentally, AFP’s report has been published by The Times, Malaysia Sun, and Bangkok Post

Singapore opposition leader escapes jail term
AFP

A vocal opposition leader in Singapore Thursday escaped a jail term after an online donation drive raised enough money to pay a fine instead.

Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), had faced a fine of Sg$20,000 ($16,000) after being convicted of “making an address in a public place without a licence” in 2006.

Chee, 48, would have been imprisoned for 20 weeks had he failed to pay the amount by Thursday, prompting his political party to organise an online fund-raising drive.

“We are glad to announce that we have reached the target of Sg$20,000 in contributions for Dr Chee Soon Juan’s fine,” said a post on the SDP’s website.

“More than just keeping Dr Chee out of jail, Singaporeans have rallied and sent a message that they will not sit idly by when the opposition is persecuted.”The SDP said many of the donors were “youths,” and added the success of the drive was unprecedented.

“This is a historical development in that it is the first time that Singaporeans have rallied together to show such encouraging support for an opposition cause,” it said.

“It is important that we continue to (use) cyberspace to increase political space in Singapore. This exercise has given civil society and the opposition a gauge on the power of the new media.”Chee was convicted on four counts of speaking in public without a permit after a trial lasting from 2007 to 2010. His final appeal against his conviction dismissed by a high court on January 17, 2011.

International rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) had on Wednesday slammed the sentence imposed on Chee, who has been jailed in the past for actions related to his struggle against the ruling People’s Action Party.

“The Singaporean government is once again abusing the justice system and trampling on basic rights to remove an opposition politician from the political playing field,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

“The government should end this persecution of Dr. Chee and show that free speech is not a dead letter in Singapore.”

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article

Chee Soon Juan escapes jail term
Asiaone

Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), escaped a jail term after an online donation drive raised enough money to pay a fine instead.

The 48-year-old Chee was facing a fine of S$20,000 after being convicted of “making an address in a public place without a licence” in 2006.

Had he failed to pay the amount by Thursday, he would have been imprisoned for 20 weeks.

“We are glad to announce that we have reached the target of S$20,000 in contributions for Dr Chee Soon Juan’s fine,” said a post on the SDP’s website.

Chee was convicted on four counts of speaking in public without a permit after a three-year trial which lasted from 2007 to 2010.

A high court dismissed his final appeal against his conviction on January 17 this year.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20110210-262836.html

NB. Channel News Asia’s version is even worse (click here).