This a blog of Cherian George, editor of the journal, Media Asia. The articles here focus on media freedom and related issues in Asia. The Resources page contains a list of links that researchers and students should find helpful. For information on how to contribute to the academic journal, Media Asia, please visit the journal’s site.
At a time of ISIS and Ebola, the government of Singapore has found an unlikely threat to national security – a documentary by independent filmmaker Tan Pin Pin that includes interviews with former communists. Its decision today to ban her film, To Singapore With Love, is not just disproportionate. It is also an insult to Singaporeans, who are in effect being told that they are not smart enough to engage critically with Tan’s film, no matter how biased it may be, and to weigh what her interviewees claim against what the official history states.
The government says that the film is unfair to the good work done by security agencies in combating communism. But, surely that battle was important precisely because our emerging system of democratic government was at stake. We would honour those who defended Singapore against communist overthrow by living up to their faith in the young nation’s capacity to deal with ideological differences through open competition – not by grasping at commie-style censorship. Unfortunately, that irony in its latest move appears to be lost on the government.