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Legal quandaries in combating hate propaganda

This is the text of a talk at a conference, Freedom of Expression in a Digital Age, on 21 April 2015 in Delhi, organised...
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Knowledge work in an age of informational impunity

Academics, like journalists, cannot pretend that merely adding to knowledge, without a sense of moral purpose, is a responsible use of their time and...
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Online ethics: why regulators should keep out

Press history shows that social responsibility develops in an environment of freedom. The internet is such a big part of our lives that we...

Reporting diversity: media, social norms and public opinion

Of all the functions that journalists perform, few are as important as helping people make sense of diversity. The media have tremendous potential to...

How Singapore’s media restrictions hurt even the PAP

World Press Freedom Day is traditionally a time to remember journalists who have suffered or died in the line of duty. By that measure,...

Regulating hate speech: how not to do it

  Hate speech. You know it’s a perplexing problem when not even democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi can come up with a quotable...
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Media sustainability: Why J-schools must go upstream

Thoughts prepared for a session on Journalism Education in Myanmar, at the East-West Center International Media Conference in Yangon, 10 March 2014. More than...

What democratic elections require from media

Social media are a mixed blessing for election coverage. This is the text of a talk at the Bali Media Forum 2013, held at...
HKTV dubbing artists Anakin Wong and Raymond Ng were among the staffers at the vigil on Tuesday night.

A very Hong Kong reaction to an Asia-wide problem

Hong Kongers tune in to the scandal that is TV regulation.   PROTEST has become such a fixture of Hong Kong life that it...

Bhutanese press in soul-searching mood

Bhutan’s media are coming to grips with some home truths, but there may still be reason for cautious optimism. Weeks after their nation’s second...


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.

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  • Internet freedom in Singapore

    “The People’s Action Party (PAP) government does not filter or block as a means of restricting political expression, but it does make use of sedition, defamation, and contempt of court laws to manage dissent. Officials initiated legal action against at least three bloggers during the coverage period. Based on a history of punitive charges under broadly worded legislation, most established blogs and news websites exercise a level of self-censorship, which varies based on their appetite for risk.

    This self-censorship coexists with an unceasing flow of antigovernment comments online. The vigorous use of the internet by individuals and groups opposed to PAP dominance was cited as a key factor behind the ruling party’s setbacks in the 2011 general election. Ahead of the next election, expected in 2016, the government is exhibiting greater sensitivity towards online dissent. While its interventions are not severe enough to neutralize the internet’s importance as a space for alternative and more authentic voices, it may succeed in slowing down the growth of independent news sites and in discouraging more organized activism. 

    In particular, officials appear to be trying to forestall any emergence of professionally-run, independent online news organizations with substantial reach, as has happened across the border in Malaysia.”

    – From



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