Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

From The Financial Times (London), July 12, 1996:

Singapore cracks down on Internet

by James Kynge

Singapore yesterday announced new measures to regulate the kind of material its citizens may view on the Internet. It said the new rules were aimed at protecting the national interest and shielding children from objectionable material.

The Singapore Broadcasting Authority said the measures - to take effect next Monday - required Internet operators, from main providers to cybercafes, to register with the SBA, a government body.

In addition, any organisation injecting locally produced religious or political material on the Internet's World Wide Web pages will need an SBA registration.

Once registered, Internet providers will be responsible for policing pages to ensure that objectionable material does not appear. SBA officials said the definition of "objectionable" included content "which tends to bring the government into hatred or contempt, or which excites disaffection against the government".

If such material is spotted, operators may be asked to block access to the web site where it appears. Failure to comply with the new regulations could elicit a fine or the cancellation of an operating licence.

SBA officials said the new measures did not mean that criticism of the government was banned but added that people should be "responsible". They did not define what type of criticism was responsible and what was not.

Singapore is due to hold national elections on an unspecified date after mid-August this year. Mr Goh Chok Tong, the prime minister, has said that he wants the ruling People's Action Party to win with more than 60 per cent of the vote.

The city state has had a complicated relationship with the Internet.

On the one hand, it recognises the Internet as indispensable to its drive to become a regional hub for information technology.

On the other, it is concerned that the net may be a conduit for alien influences which may corrupt Singapore's value system of personal decorum and of respect for the family and state.

About 100,000 of Singapore's 3m people use the Internet.

Posted by Adam Starchild

The Offshore Entrepreneur at

Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft, Neko, 1996