World Press Freedom Day and what do you think happens in Singapore?
Today is the World Press Freedom Day in Most countries. Well, not in countries like North Korea, Russia and Singapore. But anywhere else then it is the day where the world celebrate freedom of the press across the world.
Singapore did have its own way of giving its middle finger to anyone who believes in and advocates for freedom in the press, and that was to shut down the critical and most often anti governmental news website The Real Singapore, usually called TRS by Singaporeans.
Singaporeans LOVE 3 letter abbreviations more than anything else. LOVE THEM.
The Real Singapore were more popular than most governmental controlled newspapers and in the last days ended up with more monthly readers than for example The Straits Times, who is tightly controlled by the ruling party in Singapore, and is a paper who won’t be saying or writing about the supposed nepotism that happens in the public offices in Singapore, among other. The Real Singapore also gave a voice to the very small and oppressed opposition there is in the country, but will mostly be known for being instrumental in revelations of several newsworthy cases that would never have founds it way to the public, if official news media’s like The Straits Times or Channel News Asia should have reported on it.
That the government shut it down on the World Press Freedom Day is no coincidence, and is just a simple statement saying fuck off to the rest of the world and other critical online magazines that focus on giving Singaporeans an alternative source of local news. Generally making this a warning to other online papers who dare to challenge the position and disrupts the opinions that the Singaporeans government want to send to the general public.
While I didn’t agree with a number of TRS’s biased views myself, then it were also one of the few sites where the Singaporean pro LGBT voices could be heard by a larger group of Singaporeans. So shutting TRS down will unfortunately also hurt those who fight for love in the PinkDot.
Who will take over? Will two new heads spring out from where TRS left of? Will someone buy the remains of TRS and run it offshore?
I don’t believe that this is the end as Singapore needs an independent voice that is not run by the usual suspects.