Defamation lawsuits chill free speech

September 28, 2004
Singapore Democrats

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28 September 2004

Why can’t Singapore Residents and Foreign Visitors speak freely at the Hong Lim Speakers’ Corner? Afterall as long as speakers and audience aren’t inciting crimes of passion and otherwise,it should be just as free as Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner.

I lament the deafening silence because many years ago I heard Assemblyman Ong Eng Guan take on the golf-playing Lee Kuan Yew (as he then wasn’t the SM or MM).

In politics or public affairs, the defamation lawsuits should be restrained so that free speech may not be limited or be chilled off for fear of such legal action.

In USA, Canada or in UK you cannot really be made a defendant to defamation/libel action in political speech if no malicious and vindictive intention is established beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s in the nature of free speech, that such protection is required.

GERALD HENG
Boston/Framingham, MA
USA